Welcome to the SCALE Nike Ajax (MIM-3) Gallery on TRF.
This gallery showcases the Nike Ajax (MIM-3) and those rockets derived from it. Particularly appropriate in this thread are the following:
Estes: Nike Ajax: #1279
Roachwerks: Nike Ajax (13mm):
Roachwerks: Nike Ajax (18mm):
The Launch Pad: Nike Ajax MIM-3A: K060
as well as any upscales, downscales, clones, kitbashes or other derivative works. Even Goonies qualify!
The first successful Nike test was during November 1951, intercepting a drone B-17 Flying Fortress. The first type, Nike Ajax (MIM-3), were deployed starting in 1953. The Army initially ordered 1,000 missiles and 60 sets of equipment. They were placed to protect strategic and tactical sites within the US. As a last-line of defense from air attack, they were positioned to protect cities as well as military installations. The missile was deployed first at Fort Meade, Maryland during December, 1953. A further 240 launch sites were built up to 1962. They replaced 896 radar-guided anti-aircraft guns, operated by the National Guard or Army to protect certain key sites. This left a handful of 75 mm Skysweeper emplacements as the only anti-aircraft artillery remaining in use by the US. By 1957 the Regular Army AAA units had been replaced by missile battalions. During 1958 the Army National Guard began to replace their guns and adopt the Ajax system.
Each launch site had three parts, separated by at least 1,000 yards (914 m). One part (designated C) of about six acres (24,000 mē) contained the IFC (Integrated Fire Control) radar systems to detect incoming targets (acquisition and target tracking) and direct the missiles (missile tracking), along with the computer systems to plot and direct the intercept. The second part (designated L), around forty acres (160,000 mē), held 1-3 underground missile magazines each serving a group of four launch assemblies and included a safety zone. The site had a crew of 109 officers and men who ran the site continuously. One launcher would be on 15 minutes alert, two on 30 minutes and one on two hour alert. The third part was the administrative area (designated A), which was usually co-located with the IFC and contained the battery headquarters, barracks, mess, recreation hall, and motor pool. The actual configuration of the Nike sites differed depending on geography. Whenever possible the sites were placed on existing military bases or National Guard armories; otherwise land had to be purchased.
The Nike batteries were organized in Defense Areas and placed around population centers and strategic locations such as long-range bomber bases, nuclear plants, and (later) ICBM sites. The Nike sites in a Defense Area formed a circle around these cities and bases. There was no fixed number of Nike batteries in a Defense Area and the actual number of batteries varied from a low of two in the Barksdale AFB Defense Area to a high of 22 in the Chicago Defense Area. In the Continental United States the sites were numbered from 01 to 99 starting at the north and increasing clockwise. The numbers had no relation to actual compass headings, but generally Nike sites numbered 01 to 25 were to the northeast and east, those numbered 26 to 50 were to the southeast and south, those numbered 51 to 75 were to the southwest and west, and those numbered 76 to 99 were to the northwest and north. The Defense Areas in the Continental United States were identified by a one- or two-letter code which were related to the city name. Thus those Nike sites starting with C were in the Chicago Defense Area, those starting with HM were in the Homestead AFB/Miami Defense Area, those starting with NY were in the New York Defense Area, and so forth. As an example Nike Site SF-88L refers to the launcher area of the battery located in the northwestern part of the San Francisco Defense Area.
During the early-to-mid 1960s the Nike Ajax batteries were upgraded to the Hercules system. The new missiles had greater range and destructive power, so about half as many batteries provided the same defensive capability. Regular Army batteries were either upgraded to the Hercules system or decommissioned. Army National Guard units continued to use the Ajax system until 1964, when they too upgraded to Hercules. Eventually, the Regular Army units were replaced by the National Guard as a cost-saving measure, since the Guard units could return to their homes when off duty.