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Pershing Rockets for Europe

" T h e ina ail Deterrent" was the title r c gave to

an article in 1NTERAVIA 3j1961 dealing with
the trend in Ainerican strategy towards creating
a complete arsenal of guided nuclear missiles.
i'rom the two-stage Persllit~grockets, with a rangs
of a few hurldred miles, to the smallest one-m:iii
iiifantry weapons equipped with atomic \\asheads. Now that developnlent of the Persllii~:~i h
i~carly corr~pleted, and units of both the U.S.
Arnly in Gerniany and the West German Land
Forces are to be arnlcd with this missile. n.c
should like to give our readers a more esact
picture of the most modern tactical medium-range
rocket at present available to the West.
Among the most inlportant tasks of the
Pershing is to attack enemy long-range weapons
and concentrations behind the battle area and.
nit11 a range of over 300 miles, the Pei~s/7iirCq
F,ict comma~ldsan area of nearly 300,000 sq.ni.
Since th.e rocket can be put into action in ally
desired position within a nlatter of minutes, a few
Pt,i.sl~ingunits can deal quickly, effectively, and
decisively with critical battle situations. In its
ii~::in features ---robust construction, a high
degree of ~ilobility, and co~nplete air-transi~i7rtability-the Perslliizg compares very favour~:.ly with its predecessor, the Reu'slorze. The cornipiete weapon system, including all ground
support equipment, can operate on any terrain
n::d. to a large extent, avoid detection by the
When. in 1956, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
~!e:ided that a new, mobile arniy rocket in the

300-inile c l a ~ sn ~ ~ i he
j t dc\ eloped. their speciticariori cailcii Ear a surface-to-surface tactical
n~issilc\\it11 c!~ar.:;ctci.istic.s hitherto unknown in
a11 :lr~?i:~
rocket. , ~ i c ! ~ c\tei~si\e !iiii~i:tt~~rizatio~~
oi' the g!!id;~iic< >!. -T>::;I. ssii~iztiorlro a fs\v minutes
of the tiii:e i-c.y!!i:-eii to pi.cpure the I-ocltet for
I I ~ i ! 1 1 i t 1 in pre-flight checkout, and
so oil. I r i 1'15a. tlit iSrlando Division of the Martin Corn;?'~n>i i i Florida was given the developinsilt ccntrnct and. b> February 1960, barely two
years later. the first Pei,.rhitlg trial projectile was
fired at Cape Canaveral. As early as Septeniber,
1960. the Ordnance Guided Missile School, at
Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville (Alabama), inaugui.nted a course in operating the Pershirrg.

As stressed at the outset, the main objects in

the creation of the Pershirzg were a complete
weapon systelll with a high degree of mobility
and very brief total reaction time. The Perslzii~g'.~
great mobility is achieved by use of a new specially developed wheeled vehicle, known as a
transporter-erector-launcher (TEL). This is so
dcsigned that the rocket can be quickly erected,
aligned with the target, and fired. This mobile
TEL, and all the rest of the ground support
equipment, can be nioullted on tracked vehicles
suitable for cross-country operation. The Pei.shitlg
convoy can travel about anywhere in the battle
area, making it very difficult for the enemy to
detect the launch position; on the other hand, it
call go into firing position within a few rninut
and send the rocket on its way, before enen

The P e r s l ~ i ~ i~.ocket,w~th
mast ~3luggeiiin. stailcis j~oised
on i t s la~ulchinp riiig, 4 detailed descripiioii of' the crection and la~mchinp procedure
\\ill be fouiid 011 t h e ibilo\\.ii~g

supported on the transporter chassis. The launching platform is mounted at the rear of the transporter and is pivoted so that it can be rotated t o
the ground, where it is supported by levelliilg
jacks. During transport, the missile is carried in
a horizontal position on the erector, which is also
pivoted at the rear of the transporter. At the
firing site, after the launch pad is rotated to the
ground and levelled, the erector rises to the
vertical position, placing the missile on the
launcher. The erector then returns to the horizontal position, leaving the nlissile resting in a
vertical position on the azimuth ring of the
launcher. Under command of the fire control
~lnit, the azimuth position of the missile is
accurately adjusted before firing.
Co~itrolcables, air ducts, and high pressure
air lines necessary to precondition, checkout, and
fire the missile are mounted in a cable mast. The
lower end of the cable mast is mounted in a

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C - L . : v C ' L ~ i i ; ~ \ enr~~i~i l~ i range.


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chance to csi,i5iibi~jrs ~ L ~ ~ L : I,.J I I ..
Tliai~ks ti. ~.-.l:iti\<l! ii!?.;!!, ~:~.ni.iisions(the
3-I-ft long P L ~ r , ? i i i i . ~isr soi11i. 11,iif I:!? 1ic.ngrh of the
Retl.sro~cc).heiL! haniili11g of I!:< ~rcchsrhas been
considerp,hl>-sir:ii?lifii.d, Duril;g I:-.. \.\l~ol:operative r2hase. the rocker seiii:ii~~~
L..ti:? I-nlieei

The rocket ready for the road o n the XM-474 transporter.

TEL vehicle. The same vehicle can be used to

transport it by helicopter, air freighter, or seagoing vessel.
The transporter-erector-lau~iclier. built by the
Thonipson Aircraft Products Corporation. a
Dix ision of Thonipson Rarn~-\~~.ooldridgc
Inc. of
CI-\cl:ili;i. Ohio. includes a dunl-track erector

Normally, the P r r s h i ~ i g is n o t
transported with its warhead
attached. T h e warhead itself is in
the container in the left foreground, and \\ill be transported
o n a separate tracked vehicle, together with its associated test

rn t r a n s ~ t ,the ~iiflatablep a r a b o l ~ c
antennd a n d the f o l d ~ n gtelescop~c
dntenila supports are sto\ved In
the top of the radio unlt.

bracket attached to the launcher aziniuth ring,

and the upper end is engaged with electrical and
air connections in the missile. During the firing
procedure: just prior to ignition, the upper end
of the cable mast is autotnatically ejected from
cngagement with the missile. While the upper end
of the niast is ejected from the missile sufficiently
far to provide clearance for firing, a brake in the
bracket at the lower. end quickly stops movement
of the mast and holds it in a near vertical position.
Since the mast is prevented from falling to the
ground. it is not damaged and may be used
repeatedly as a permanent part of the TEL. The
cable mast is so constructed that the exhaust
gases do not destroy either the cable o r the mast.
For movement both across country and o n
noruiial roads the Pershing rocket, resting on its
TEL, is carried o n a tracked vehicle, designated
XM-474, built by the Food Machinery and
Chemical Corp. This vehicle is a developn~entof
the MI 13 arnloured personnel carrier, undertaken on behalf of the U.S. Army Ordnance Tank
Autoniotive Command. It features a low silhouette and, with a gross weight cf about 5 toris,
has a speed of u p to 40 n1.p.h. on flat roads.
The rocket is provided with a n inertial guidance
system, comprising a gyro-stabilized platform
and integrating accelerometers. The main contractor for this guidance system is the EclipsePioneer Division of the Bendix Corporation at
Teterboro, N.J., which also furnishes certain
field checkout and production test equipment.
With a view to illaximuin precision, the gyros of
the stabilization platfor111 are sealed in miniature metal cylinders, friction being reduced to
almost zero. These cylinders in their turn "float"
inside an outer cylinder. Microscopic air jets in
the outer cylinder "float" the gyros on a n aircushion, in order to eliminate all direct contact
between gyro and container.

The Pe~,shitlghas been developed almost entirely by American industry, that is without direct
assistance from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency,
which did no more than retain certain rights of
supervision and advisory functions. This conception is new, but the successful launchings of complete rockets with ignition of both stages (one
trial launch from Cape Canaveral on April 21st,
1961, travelled over 250 miles) leave no doubt
that this approach to the problem is the right

It is not yet certain when the Per.siiit~~r

i r I! - operational in Europe. Tn any event, the Feiicr,.
German Government has ordered a large nurnbi.:
of these rockets in place of the original Martin
Mncrs, and Germany will shortly make avaiiahlr
DM 480 million for Pershing.~,about the sanir
amount as was originally appropriated for the
purchase of iMnce rockets. Martin has nileanwhile
gone ahead with the development of Pe~.shit~x
and, early this year, received an additional S76
inillio~lorder from the U.S. Ar~ny.

T h e Pershing as a Satellite Booster

!:I< left: Sectio~laldrawing of the military P~rshirig

~ - , x h ? i :1 - Nuclear warhead; 2 - Colltrol and guidance
, ~ ? r n :3 - Sccond-stage rocket engine: 4 -Aerodynamic
L;i,,iri,l iurfaces: - Separation elemetlt between first and
,:co.-J stages: 6 - Jet controls: 7 rocket
8 - Aerodynamic control surfaces: 9 - Jet con-, ,.., 3 ! \ .


L .

rile right: Sectional drawing of the PE/'.~/li,lg

~ n i . ~ > ~ t Ic r-: Third-stage rocket engine; 2 - Payload:
C'onlrol and guidallcc system;
- Sccolld-stage
~ - i i i h s rcnyine; 5 - Instrumentation; 6 - Liquid nitrogen
;,ill;, tank: 8 - control jets: - First-stagc
rncA,: s i i ~ i n e .


The whole fire colitrol and test checkout equip,1:ei?t for use in the field is mounted on a separate
Y'\.I-174 chassis. This equipment includes the
portable remote fire control box, by illeans of
\\!~ichthe officer comlnanding the Per.sking cono> can release the rocket fro111 a position of
The same chassis carries a small power
>i!pj\l!. unit, which feeds the various electrical
systelns and provides test compressed air.
Tlir power supply unit also feeds the lnobile
!rLiiiiaequipment, which is used for communi~ : i t i i . ! l with surrounding co~nmandcentres. The
I2iii-shaped antenna is inflatable and, when
::i!l~itsd,has a diameter of about 8 ft. The radio
is also installed on an XM-474. The
.-~i~l:arwarhead of the Peushing, together with its
,. ,,;out
test installations, is mounted on a
-.;3,:r.nre tracked vehicle of the same type, so that
:'I? P,,r.shikg convoy is made up of four vehicles
Ti:?nose cone of the Pershing rocket has an
...-:n:,lble heat-dissipating protective layer, which
and cheaply applied and which
to protect the nuclear warhead against
.-,2c..i~e heat effects during re-entry into the
i: '1 atmosphere.

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Economy. reliability, and immediate availathus also saving weight. The nose casings surbility are undoubtedly qualities which could make
rounding the third-stage engine and the payload
a satellite carrier rocket look attractive for
could also be jettisoned after leaving the atruoEuropean countries, too. If, moreover, the carrier
sphere. The entire third stage rests on a turntable
rocket could be launched from practically any
for torque stabilization. The guidance and control
desired meadow, this would take care of another
systems could also be accommodated in the third
problern, which has played a major part in disstage (see diagram). F o r launching. the TELs
cussions concerning the basis of a European
already developed for the military Pershing would
space programme.
be made use of, and these could also be mounted
Martin is now offering a carrier vehicle, dein seagoing vessels.
veloped from the first and second stages of the
According to information furnished by Martin,
military Pershing rocket, which fillfils the aboveten men are enough to bring the carrier rocket to
mentioned conditions, and could be available in
the launch point, set it up, and prepare it for
the space of about a year. According to calfiring. This carrier rocket could also be used for
culations made by Martin's engineers, a threevertical climbs as a space probe, in which case
stage satellite carrier rocket. bascd oil the
it would be possible to add a fourth solid-proPerskitrg, would be able to put a payload of 60 lb
pellant rocket stage. In this way, a payload of
into circular orbit at a n altitude of 210 ~niles.or
60 lb could be carried to an orbital height of over
into elliptical orbit with an apogee of about 700
875 miles, or a payload of 120 lb to about 300
miles. F o r the guidance and radio-tracking of the
miles. As Martin points out, the third and foul.th
carrier rocket during climb, as \\-ell as for orbital
stage engine could be developed from solidtracking, methods similar to those ~~cioyrred
in the
propellant engines which are already available.
case of the American T.iiir~rr~ii.t/and Scolit
boosters could be used. Lf:hen thc first stage
vertical climb has been coillpletc~l u i ~ d the
remainder of the vehicle directed into 1' suitable
orbital path, the second stag,: ~ ~ o i i i chei ignited.
After second-stage burnout. the;.? is ail ui1powered phase of over four iiiiii~itzs. ;i:!~i then
the third stage ignites. Durinp tl~es?i o ~ i rin~inutes.
the remaining sections would h:~\-eto be ilrought
into an exactly horizotltal position. in o:.drr i!~eil
to be accelerated by the third st,ipe ii110 tlic
required trajectory spced.
The first two stages of the illiiitnr) P,~,~.~/~iti.y
would require o~llyinsipnificaiit ~1tc'r:itioils. and
moreover a simple and. therefoi.~.1ighrc.rgi~idancc
system would be sufficient to achiclr the desired
result, thus bringing about a iii:irkeii rcdiiction in
the total weight of the rocket. Thc firsr-stage
rocket engine could he til~adesubstniltially lighter
by the elimination ofcertain longitudinal stiffeners
and by reconstriictinp the casing round the enginc
jets. The bay on the sccond stage. ~ h i c hhouses
the inertial guidance system, and the special thrust
reversal device (an ejector port at the front of the
second-stage engine) would be eliminated in the
satellite carrier rocket. Moreover, the aerodynamic control surfaces of the first stage and the jet
control s u r f ~ c e sof the military second-stage engine could be replaced by peroxide jet nozzles,

In its satellite-carrying \esaion, the PersJzillg rocket

would be transported and
prepared for flight o n the
Fame TEL vehicle as the
military rocket.