“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Nike “Ajax” Missile

Nike "Ajax" Missile Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 20, 2008
1. Nike "Ajax" Missile Marker
Inscription. Developed during the first decade of the Cold War to combat possible Soviet aircraft the Nike System was the world's first successful, widely-deployed, guided surface-to-air missile system. It was named "Nike" for the mythical Greek Goddess of Victory. Nike Ajax was a slender, two-stage guided missile powered by a liquid-fueled motor. The Ajax was blasted off of its launcher by means of a jettisonable solid rocket booster which fired for about 3 seconds, accelerating the missile with a power of 25 times the force of gravity.

The Nike Ajax, known as the "MIM-3A" Identification, was armed with three individual high-explosive, fragmentation type warheads located at the front, center and rear of the missile body. Although consideration was given to arming the Ajax with nuclear warheads, this project was cancelled in favor of developing a new type of missile. While the Ajax was being deployed across the nation, the new missile know as "Nike-B" and later as Nike "Hercules" had already begun to be developed.

The basic statistics of the Ajax Missile are as follows:

Length: 21 feet (body), 13 feet (booster), 33 feet (total)
Weight: 1,050 pounds (body), 1,200 pounds (booster), 2,260 pounds (total)
Speed: 2.3 Mach (1,900 mph)
Range: 26 miles
Payload: 300 pounds
Cost: $20,000 in 1958.
Erected by
Nike "Ajax" Missile and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 20, 2008
2. Nike "Ajax" Missile and Marker
Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum.
Location. 40° 25.862′ N, 76° 34.168′ W. Marker is in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, in Lebanon County. Marker is at the intersection of Fisher Avenue and Stahr Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Fisher Avenue. Click for map. Located on the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Facility. Marker is in this post office area: Annville PA 17003, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. F-102 Jet Fighter (within shouting distance of this marker); Fallen Warrior Memorial - 2nd BCT (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nike "Hercules" Missile (about 300 feet away); EC-130E "Commando Solo" (about 400 feet away); 40 & 8 Boxcar (about 400 feet away); EC-130E Commando Solo I (about 400 feet away); M60A3 MBT (approx. 0.2 miles away); UH-1 Iroquois (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fort Indiantown Gap.
Also see . . .  Overview of the Nike Missile System. Note that during the Cold War, Nike sites were placed around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. (Submitted on October 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. Air & SpaceMilitaryWar, Cold
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,617 times since then and 142 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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