“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Las Cruces in Dona Ana County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Nike Hercules Missile

Nike Hercules Missile Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 5, 2010
1. Nike Hercules Missile Marker
Inscription.  Anti-aircraft missiles like this Nike Hercules once stood guard around many major U.S. cities and facilities during the Cold War. They were capable of knocking down high-flying, fast-moving bombers with high-explosive warheads or, equipped with a nuclear warhead, destroying a whole formation of attacking enemy airplanes with one missile.

The Nike Hercules is typical of weapon systems tested at White Sands Missile Range from many launch complexes stretching east from here. It was America's second generation air defense missile system and was preceded in testing at White Sands by the Nike Ajax.

Testing at White Sands for the Nike Hercules bean in 1955 and concluded in 1967 with a total of more than 650 missiles fired.

Not only was Nike Hercules capable of destroying enemy airplanes, it shot down a Corporal ballistic missile in 1960. Ironically, Nike Hercules missiles themselves were later used as targets for the Nike Zeus system which was specifically designed to destroy incoming Soviet missiles.

Most U.S. Hercules batteries in the continental United States were deactivated by 1975. However, some of our allies
Nike Hercules Missile Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 5, 2010
2. Nike Hercules Missile Marker
fielded the system through the early 21st century.

The Nike Hercules stands 41 feet tall and is 31.9 inches in diameter. At liftoff it weighed 10,700 pounds and used solid propellant in the booster and missile to reach speeds in excess of 2,500 miles per hour. It had an operating range of more than 75 miles and a maximum altitude of almost 30 miles.

For more information about the variety of weapons and commercial testing done at White Sands Missile Range, visit their Museum and Missile Park. They are visible in the headquarters area below and are accessible five miles east of here from U.S. Highway 70.
Location. 32° 25.533′ N, 106° 33.767′ W. Marker is near Las Cruces, New Mexico, in Dona Ana County. Marker is on U.S. 70 at milepost 178, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Las Cruces NM 88011, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. San Augustín Pass (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of San Agustín Springs (approx. 1.3 miles away); White Sands Missile Range (approx. 5.7 miles away); Pat Garrett Murder Site (approx. 10.3 miles away); Heroes of Bataan (approx. 12.6 miles away); America's First Battle of World War II: The Philippines
Nike Hercules Missile image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 5, 2010
3. Nike Hercules Missile
(approx. 12.6 miles away); Disappearance of Albert J. Fountain and his son Henry (approx. 12.6 miles away); The Historic Green Bridge (approx. 12.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Las Cruces.
Categories. Air & SpaceWar, Cold
More. Search the internet for Nike Hercules Missile.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 22, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,191 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 22, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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