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Area Defense
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Spartan (Continued)

The time constraint was not as critical for long range area defense using Spartan intercepts compared to terminal defense using Sprint. Therefore, Spartan launchers were located only at the MSR complex while Sprint launchers were located at the MSR complex as well as at four geographically dispersed remote Sprint launch sites (RSL's).

Spartan launch, guidance, and warhead detonation were all controlled by the MSR. Targets were destroyed at a range up to several miles by either blast or X-rays produced by Spartan's nuclear warhead.

Spartan was a direct descendent of the earlier Nike Zeus ABM interceptor. Longer and larger in diameter than the Nike Zeus, Spartan incorporated a larger warhead and many other technological improvements to enhance its performance.


Parameter Spartan Nike Zeus
Official spec sheet (520 x 295 = 42k)

(909 x 516 = 107k) 003807
Not available
Launchers 30 (all at MSR site) Not deployed
Length 55 ft (16.8 m) 48 ft 4 in (14.73m)
Diameter 43 in (1.08 m) 36 in (.91 m)
Fin span 118 in (2.98 m) 96 in (2.44 m)
Weight 28,880 lb (13,100 kg) 22,800 lb (10,350 kg)
Steering Hydraulically actuated control surfaces; vectored reaction force (3rd stage) Hydraulically actuated control surfaces; vectored reaction force (3rd stage)
Propulsion Solid propellant, 3 stages Solid propellant, 3 stages
First stage Thiokol TX-500
2200 kN
Thiokol TX-135
450,000lb thrust
Second stage Thiokol TX-454 Thiokol TX-238
Third stage Thiokol TX-239 Thiokol TX-239
Max engagement altitude (ceiling) 348 mi (560 km) 174 mi (280 km)
Range 460 mi (740 km) 250 mi (400 km)
Speed > Mach 4 Mach 4
Guidance Ground based radio cmd Ground based radio cmd
Warhead W-71 nuclear 5 mt W-50 nuclear 400 kt
Primary contractor McDonnell-Douglas McDonnell-Douglas

Additional Information: