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Subject: List of missiles
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LIM-49A Spartan

Type Anti-ballistic missile
Service history
In service 1975
Production history
Manufacturer Western Electric & McDonnell Douglas
Weight 29,000 lb (13,100 kg)
Length 55 ft 2 in (16.8 m)
Diameter 3 ft 7 in (1.08 m)

Warhead W71 nuclear; 5 Mt

Engine 1st Stage: Thiokol TX-500 (2200 kN);
2nd Stage: Thiokol TX-454;
3rd Stage: Thiokol TX-239
Wingspan 9 ft 9.6 in (2.98 m)
460 mi (740 km)
Flight altitude 350 mi (560 km)
Speed >Mach 4
Radio command

The LIM-49A Spartan was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile, whose warheads were developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was a three-stage, solid-fuel surface-to-air missile that carried a W71 thermonuclear warhead with a lethal radius of up to 30 miles (50 kilometers) to intercept incoming warheads at high altitude above the atmosphere.[1] The missile was launched from an underground silo, and radio command guided. The warhead was designed to destroy incoming nuclear weapons by x-ray flux rather than by blast. This very kill mechanism was, however, a major cause contributing to the phase-out of nuclear-warheads in antiaircraft and anti-ballistic missile rockets - a high-altitude nuclear explosion produced a strong electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would destroy unshielded electronic devices, especially those working on the solid state component base, like transistors, integrated circuits etc. The higher the integration and smaller the parts, the more damage EMP-induced currents would cause to circuitry, causing damage to computers, data and communication networks, power-generating plants and grids, air traffic control systems, etc.

The Spartan missile was in operational service for only a few months, from October 1975 to early 1976. A combination of high costs and the SALT I treaties made the missiles unpopular politically.


  • A Spartan missile is on display at the Air Defense Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo gallery

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


External links

  • Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
  • a further development of the Nike Zeus B missile
  • index of pictures
  • Mickelsen Safeguard Complex
  • W71 nuclear warhead for the Spartan
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