Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2004-2024 Andreas Parsch

Missile Scrapbook

This page is a listing, in roughly chronological order, of missiles, rockets and UAVs, which are mentioned in one or more of my sources, but which do not warrant a page of their own. Either because I couldn't find sufficient information, or because the projects were very short-lived. Industry proposals which were not accepted by the military are generally outside the scope of this page, but a few highly unconventional concepts are nevertheless included.

Unidentified Navy Projects

Source [5] presents a list of U.S. Navy guided missile and drone projects. Included are three projects, which are not mentioned in any other of my reference sources. Most likely they were only studies which were abandoned early.

The first two projects appear to be from the 1945/46 time period. Regal may be identical to a proposal from 1958 to launch modified SSM-N-9 Regulus II missiles from dorsal launchers on P6M Seamaster seaplanes.

Consolidated-Vultee Old Rippy

Source [5] describes Old Rippy as an automatic FM-homing, pulse-jet powered ship-to-ship missile. On the other hand, source [21] describes the project as an air-launched winged torpedo design from 1945, which would drop its airfoils to become a normal homing torpedo when entering the water (this concept is similar to the Kingfisher series of glide and powered torpedoes). One can therefore assume that Old Rippy was a pulse-jet powered anti-ship winged torpedo, whose mode(s) of launch had not been firmly decided before the program was terminated. Old Rippy might have had a designation in the SWOD series of weapons.

AMC MX-767 Banshee

Between 1946 and 1950, the U.S. Air Force's Air Material Command tried to develop an unmanned variant of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress as a long-range nuclear-armed guided missile. The project was officially designated MX-767 and code-named Banshee. Flight tests of some guidance equipment in manned B-29s were conducted, but otherwise almost no information on the project is readily available. It is unclear if the B-29 drone was to be expendable (i.e. dropped as a whole on the target), or if the atom bomb was to be released and the aircraft return home. Project Banshee was run with relatively low priority, and most likely did not result in any unmanned B-29 flights. The basic concept was briefly revived in project MX-1457 Brass Ring.

The only lasting result of Project Banshee was unrelated to aeronautical or weapons technology. When a B-29 crashed on a Banshee-related test flight in 1948, killing 9 crew out of 13, the widows of three killed civilian engineers sued the government because of (suspected) negligence. However, Project Banshee and therefore the accident report were highly classified at that time. It was ruled that the USAF did not have to disclose the report to laywers, thereby denying the plaintiffs the most important means to prove their case. This was apparently the first time that the military used "national security" requirements to effectively prevent legal action against itself, and has set a precedence for similar cases thereafter.

1946/47 USAAF Projects

In early 1946, the U.S. Army Air Force awarded a series of study contracts for guided missiles to various aircraft manufacturers. Some of these studies were continued into actual missile development programs, and are covered elsewhere on this web site: MX-770SSM-A-2 Navaho, MX-771SSM-A-1 Matador, MX-774RTV-A-2 Hiroc, MX-775SSM-A-3 Snark, MX-776ASM-A-2 Rascal, MX-799AAM-A-1 Firebird.

Several others were soon terminated before any full-scale flight test articles had been built, and possibly even before a specific design had been finalized. The following data is from source [3]:

MX-1457 Brass Ring

When the development of the first thermonuclear bombs ("H-bombs") was under way in 1950, the U.S Air Force tentatively decided to convert two of the forthcoming Boeing B-47B Stratojet bombers to unmanned MB-47 configuration under project MX-1457. The use of an expendable unmanned aircraft was a precaution, because it was feared that a bomber might not be able to safely escape the blast of its own thermonuclear weapon. In April 1951, MX-1457 was code named Brass Ring.

Because it was expected that the H-bomb would be extremely heavy, the plan called for multiple refuelings of the MB-47 on its way to the target. This would have necessitated an on-board crew, which was to bail out over friendly territory after the last refueling. In case an accurate auto-navigation system for the MB-47 could not be developed, manned DB-47A drone directors were to escort and guide the MB-47s close to the target. The method of final bomb delivery (conventional drop or diving the MB-47 on the target) had not been decided on.

However, after continuing research and development on thermonuclear weapons it turned out that they could be safely delivered "conventionally" by manned bombers of the time (e.g. B-36 and B-47), and Brass Ring was therefore cancelled in April 1953. No unmanned MB-47 was built.


The project number MX-1601 is related to the development of bomber-launched air-to-air missiles, but details are unclear. Source [10] links the MX-1601 designator to a supersonic air-to-air missile study by Cornell Labs, possibly a forerunner of the BDM effort begun in 1954. However, source [8] relates it to the North American Nasty bomber defense air-to-air rocket. It appears likely, that no specific missile design had been selected for MX-1601, before the project was cancelled. Bomber Defense Missile studies were later covered under the WS-126A and WS-132A labels.

Other USAAF/USAF "MX" Projects

Apart from those mentioned in the preceding sections and the main articles of the Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, there are a few additional projects in the MX series, which were allocated to rocket or guided missile programs:

Cornell BDM

Under the general moniker BDM (Bomber Defense Missile), the U.S. Air Force funded studies for bomber-launched air-to-air missiles in the 1950s. Beginning in 1954, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories began to work on BDM concepts and control system designs. Cornell actually designed a test vehicle, but no information about the extent of a flight test program (if any!) or the results of Cornell's program is available. At one time in the project, the Weapons Systems designator WS-126A was assigned, either to the Cornell missile or the BDM effort in general.

Photo: via Bob Manley
Cornell BDM

Air-Launched Rockets

A selection of unguided air-launched rockets, which were developed during the 1950s:

2.0 inch Aircraft Rocket, M48 and M49

In the 1950s, the Army developed a new 2.0 inch air-launched folding-fin rocket, designated 2.0 inch High-Explosive Aircraft Rocket M48. No detailed characteristics of the rocket are available, and it was presumably not procured in large numbers, if at all. The 2.0 inch Practice Aircraft Rocket M49 was a variant of the M48 with an inert warhead.

Convair Sky Scorcher

According to source [15], Convair proposed the Sky Scorcher high-yield nuclear air-to-air missile concept to the U.S. Air Force around 1956. The missile was to be carried by "enlarged F-106A" aircraft (modifications including new airfoil and electronics), and armed with a 2 MT thermonuclear warhead. A force of 80 such aircraft was to be able to deliver 14 two-megaton bursts against a Mach 2 bomber raid at a distance of 740 km (400 nm) from the defended area.

However, the USAF did not take up the Sky Scorcher idea. A big, expensive megaton class air-to-air warhead has several drawbacks, not the least of which is that you can't use it over friendly territory without inflicting severe damage in a large area on the ground.


Data for Sky Scorcher:

Length5.5 m (18 ft)
Diameter46 cm (18 in)
Weight1540 kg (3400 lb)
Speed> Mach 3(?)
Range> 230 km (125 nm)
WarheadThermonuclear (2 MT)

Northrop WS-121B Longbow

After termination of the GAM-67 Crossbow anti-radar missile in 1957, Weapons System WS-121B Longbow was defined as a supersonic follow-on program. No details whatsoever are available on how far Longbow progressed before its cancellation.

WS-132A / WS-132B

According to source [2], Weapons System designator WS-132A referred to a planned bomber-defense missile for WS-110A (the B-70 Valkyrie bomber). It was suspended in November 1956. Weapons System WS-132B was a bomber-launched decoy/electronic-warfare missile for the B-52, but no details whatsoever about its status before cancellation are available.

NOTS Diamondback

The Diamondback air-to-air missile was studied by the Naval Ordnance Test Station from 1955 to 1958. It was designed as an infrared and passive-radar guided missile powered by a storable liquid-fueled dual-thrust rocket motor. Armament options included a continuous-rod high-explosive or a low-yield (0.75 kT) nuclear warhead. Performance specifications called for a cruise speed of Mach 3 at up to 24400 m (80000 ft), and maximum range for tail attacks was to be about 25-32 km (15-20 miles). The Diamondback project was terminated before any missiles were built.

Drawing: C.M. Manson


Data for Diamondback:

Length3.76 m (12 ft 4 in)
Diameter30.5 cm (12 in)
Wingspan1.02 m (40 in)
Weight385 kg (850 lb)
SpeedMach 3
Range25-32 km (15-20 miles)
WarheadHigh-explosive or nuclear
PropulsionLiquid-fueled rocket

Naval Weapons Center RARE

RARE (Ram Air Rocket Engine) was one of the first U.S. Navy experiments with solid-fueled integral rocket/ramjet (SFIRR) propulsion. In this type of engine, the rocket booster's housing serves as a solid-fueled ramjet combustion chamber after the rocket fuel is depleted. The RARE vehicle was about 3 m (10 ft) long, had a diameter of 12.7 cm (5 in) and weighed 69 kg (153 lb). The RARE program, which reportedly included flight tests at Mach 2.3, was conducted between 1955 and 1960. Similar to the NWC's RARE was the Naval Missile Center's Crow program, which developed a slightly larger SFIRR vehicle.

Borg-Warner Owl

The Owl was a small sounding rocket of the Loki-Dart type, which was used by the U.S. Air Force. It carried a chaff load in the dart, which was released at apogee and then tracked by radar to determine wind speed and direction. The rocket was manufactured by the Borg-Warner Company. More than 90 Owls were launched from White Sands Missile Range between August 1958 and November 1960 to gather high-altitude wind data before flight tests of other missiles and rockets.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range


Data for Owl:

Length2.62 m (8 ft 7 in)
Diameter7.6 cm (3 in)
Altitude80 km (50 miles)

Bell/Bendix Penny 1C

Source [2] describes the Penny 1C as a liquid-fueled, low-cost air-launched high-altitude supersonic target drone. It was developed by Bell and Bendix for the U.S. Air Force in the 1958/59 time frame. It was equipped with aft wings, canards and a single vertical fin. No reference to this target is found in any other of my sources, and it is unclear if the design was actually built. However, the general characteristics are rather similar to the Beech Q-12/AQM-37 target, which was developed for a USAF/USN competition beginning in 1959. It's possible that the Penny 1C was an unsuccessful contender in that competition.


Data for Penny 1C:

Length6.10 m (20 ft)
Wingspan1.63 m (64 in)
Diameter32 cm (13 in)
Weight430 kg (950 lb)

Douglas Arbalist

This was an anti-armour rocket project (around 1960). It is not referenced in any of my sources, but Mr. Jacobus Coetzee provided the following information:

"Immediately after the cancellation of the D-40, Douglas offered the US Army an infantry anti-tank missile called the Arbalist. Arbalist was a hyper-velocity missile, this solution decided on to tackle the low muzzle-velocities generated by the then current crop of unguided anti-tank rockets by making it as fast as possible. Leaving its launch tube at 1550 m/s the missile needed no warhead except a kinetic tungsten-carbide penetrator. A very promising design the weapon did suffer some serious, and in the end determinative drawbacks. Two of the more terminal was that the high velocity would tend to magnify even the slightest irregularities in the trajectory, while the footprint of the missile at launch meant that it would be extremely dangerous to the crew serving it."

Bill Colburn, working for Thiokol during Arbalist development, adds:

"The Arbalist was about 4 inches in diameter. It was spin stabilized, launched from a tube with a styrofoam sabot. The spin rate was so high that motors sometimes were hoop-stressed beyond their yield and the paper-thin cases ruptured."

Chance-Vought Rattler (Firepower, Fire)

Source [2] describes the Rattler as a 3.6 m (12 ft) long surface-to-surface artillery missile with a range of 110 km (70 miles). The program name Firepower is also associated with the same project, and test firings of a liquid-propellant rocket are reported to have been occurred in January 1959. Rattler/Firepower was possibly a preliminary research effort related to the U.S. Army's Missile "A" and/or Missile "B" requirements of that time, which eventually led to Vought's MGM-52 Lance missile.

Under the name Fire, [2] also lists an Army/Navy liquid-fueled surface-to-surface missile of 3.6 m (12 ft) length (no additional information given). This is probably identical to the Rattler/Firepower project.

Terasca (Terrier-Asroc-Cajun)

From May to August 1959, the U.S. Navy launched a total of three Terasca sounding rockets on test missions. The Terasca was a three-stage solid-fueled vehicle, consisting of the booster of a Terrier missile, an ASROC motor, and a Cajun rocket. The second launch on 26 June was the only successful one, and reached an altitude of about 100 km (60 miles).


Data for Terasca:

Length11 m (36 ft)
Diameter1st stage: 46 cm (18 in)
2nd stage: 34 cm (13.4 in)
3rd stage: 16.5 cm (6.5 in)
Weight1400 kg (3000 lb)
Altitude100 km (60 miles)
Propulsion1st stage: ABL X-256 solid-fueled rocket; 258 kN (58000 lb) for 4.4 s
2nd stage: ASROC solid-fueled rocket
3rd stage: Thiokol Cajun solid-fueled rocket; 36 kN (8000 lb) for 3 s


According to source [6], Shavetail was a small unguided solid-propellant rocket, which was used to test rocket and missile technology. A total of 11 Shavetail rockets were fired from White Sands Missile Range in August and October 1959.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range Museum


Data for Shavetail:

Length2.7 m (9 ft)
Diameter15 cm (6 in)
Weight90 kg (200 lb)
Range10 km (6 miles)

Republic Hilo

Hilo is described by source [2] as a target drone powered by a Marquardt 14-inch ramjet. It was designed around 1959, and was to be launched from the ground by a Hawk rocket booster. No data is available how many (if any!) Hilo vehicles were actually built. Since other comprehensive sources about Republic aircraft fail to mention Hilo, it was probably either never built or the manufacturer is incorrectly identified in [2].

Drawing: David McKinney (source [2])


Data for Hilo:

Length6.55 m (21.5 ft)
Wingspan96.5 cm (38 in)
Diameter35.6 cm (14 in)
Weight353 kg (778 lb)

Aeronca P-106

The Aeronca P-106 was a supersonic target drone, prototypes of which were built in the 1959/60 time frame for the U.S. Army. It was ground launched from a mobile truck with the help of a rocket booster, and was powered by an Experimental Inc. ramjet engine. It is not clear if the designation P-106A refers to the same vehicle or if it is a modified variant (source [1] mentions a "ram rocket" engine for the P-106A). The P-106A was 5.2 m (17 ft) long and weighed 165 kg (365 lb).

Photo: via Ordway/Wakeford

A derivative of the P-106 was offered to the Air Force and Navy as the P-107. It was to have a 0.9 m (3 ft) longer nose.


Source [2] describes Ozarc as an air-launched high-altitude sounding rocket developed by the Air Force Cambridge Research Lab.

Space Data Viper-Falcon

On 13 August 1960, the U.S. Air Force launched two Viper-Falcon sounding rockets on the "TP Norma" and "TP Annie" aeronomy missions (no further details available). The vehicle's first stage was a Viper I motor, a derivative of the Deacon.


Data for Viper-Falcon:

Length3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
Diameter16.6 cm (6.5 in)
Altitude120 km (70 miles)
Propulsion1st stage: 5.6KS5400 Viper I solid-fueled rocket; 24 kN (5400 lb) for 5.6 s
2nd stage: Falcon solid-fueled rocket

Missile "A"

Missile "A" was the name of a U.S. Army requirement in the late 1950s to replace the MGR-3 Little John battlefield rocket. It was eventually combined with the Missile "B" requirement and led to the MGM-52 Lance missile. Between December 1960 and June 1961, 16 solid-fueled Missile "A" test vehicles were flown from White Sands Missile Range to test components of the planned missile.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range Museum
Missile "A" test vehicle


Data for Missile "A" test vehicle:

Length4.9 m (16 ft)
Diameter31.8 cm (12.5 in)
Weight402 kg (887 lb)


Source [2] mentions a U.S. Marine Corps missile project named Semper. It is said to have been in the R&D phase in the 1960/61 time frame. However, no other information whatsoever is available, and the reference might be bogus.

Aeronca Upstart

Source [2] describes this as a recoverable high-altitude target missile, which was successfully launched from White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in 1961. It was fired vertically from the ground and could reach an altitude of 30000 m (100000 ft). WSMR firing records confirm that at least 28 launches were conducted by the U.S. Army and Navy between 1961 and 1964 under the program names Upstart, Upstart Mod II, Upstart Mod III and Upstart IRM.

General Dynamics Orca / Nemesis Project

Around 1962, General Dynamics proposed the Orca concept (also known as Killer Whale) to the U.S. Air Force. Orca was to be an ocean-based long-range ballistic missile, which was based in submerged launch canisters anchored to the ocean floor. It was to be much harder to target than land-based ICBMs. The advantage of the Orca idea when compared to SLBMs (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles) is not clear, and the concept came to nothing.

Several years later, around 1970, the idea was revived by the USAF under the name of Project Nemesis. At that time, not only the ocean floor was considered as a basing option, but also multitudes of well-concealed, non-hardened silos hidden in other kinds of wasteland (e.g. desert of polar regions). As before, the idea was apparently quickly abandoned.

WS-223A Interceptor Missile

USAF Weapon Systems listings show the entry WS-223A as "Interceptor Missile System". No further information abour this missile is available.

WS-320A Theater Ballistic Missile

USAF Weapon Systems listings show the entry WS-320A as "Theater Ballistic Missile". No further information abour this missile is available.


The MMRBM (Mobile Medium Range Ballistic Missile), Weapons System WS-325A, was a U.S. Air Force program, which was started in the 1961/62 time frame. The missile was to be a solid-fueled two-stage vehicle with a high-precision astro-inertial navigation system. The whole MMRBM system was to be road-mobile, and ready for firing within 5 minutes. Source [2] quotes a missile weight of up to 5400 kg (12000 lb), a length of 7 m (23 ft) and a first stage diameter of 1.4 m (54 in). The MMRBM would have carried a small tactical nuclear warhead. The original range specification called for 320-3200 km (200-2000 miles) effective range, where the smaller ranges would be achieved by a thrust termination system on the missile. However, source [11] gives a range envelope of 925-5550 km (575-3450 miles), which might represent the final requirement. The MMRBM program was terminated in 1964, before the prime contractor had been selected.


In the early 1960s, ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) studied defense systems to destroy ballistic missile in their terminal flight phase under the ARPAT (ARPA Terminal) program. A development contract went to Raytheon, and flight tests related to ARPAT were conducted at White Sands Missile Range from 1962 to 1965.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range Museum
ARPAT test missile

The ARPAT design is described in [2] as a carrier missile, which could launch several small dart-shaped independent interceptors at an altitude between 6000 and 30000 m (20000 and 100000 ft). Each dart would have its own rocket booster and target seeker. Initial test vehicles were to be three-stage rockets made up of a Castor first stage, a TX-261 second stage and a 29 in. spherical third stage. If actual test vehicles of this configuration were flown is unknown.

Douglas DAC Roc

On 24 October and 10 December 1963, the U.S. Navy launched two small single-stage sounding rockets under the name DAC Roc (possibly "Douglas Aircraft Company Rocket"). Except for a possible diameter of 12.7 cm (5 in) and an apogee of about 50 km (30 miles), no details about this rocket are available.


The Squirt was a test vehicle used during development of the Sprint short-range anti-ballistic missile. The first stage consisted of an array of solid-fueled rockets, while the upper stage was a conical body similar to the Sprint. At least four, and possibly up to seven, Squirt rockets were launched from White Sands Missile Range in 1964 and 1965.

Photo: U.S. Army


During 1969, the U.S. Air Force's Janus project explored the possibility of a dual-purpose strategic missile, which could serve both as an offensive ICBM and a defensive ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile). The studies presumably came to the result that such a system is not feasable.

2.75 inch CS Rocket, XM80 and XM99

In 1966, the U.S. Army began a program to develop a warhead for the 2.75-inch FFAR (Folding-Fin Aircraft Rocket) to disperse CS gas, a tear gas for riot control. The rocket was designated 2.75-inch CS FFAR XM80. Its XM236 warhead contained 32 XM100 CS gas canisters around a central steel tube. The rocket's fuze triggered a charge in the tube, which broke up the warhead and dispersed the canisters. The XM80 could be fired from M159 and M200 helicopter-mounted rocket launchers.

The Army intended to quickly deliver the rocket to the troops, but it turned out that the XM80 couldn't be produced in the anticipated numbers. Therefore the design was reworked into the 2.75-inch CS FFAR XM99, the main difference being a new and simpler fuzing system. By 1970, it was planned to deliver around 10000 XM99 rounds to Vietnam until the end of 1971.


Source [6] has a photo of a missile, which was tested in the early 1970s by the U.S. Air Force as an air-launched standoff ground-attack missile under the SAGMI (Surface Attack Guided Missile) program. The first flight occurred in 1972. Layout and dimensions of the SAGMI vehicle are very similar to the Beech AQM-37A target, and it seems likely that SAGMI prototypes were based on the AQM-37 design.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range Museum


Data for SAGMI:

Length5.09 m (16.7 ft)
Wingspan1.00 m (3.3 ft)
Diameter35.6 cm (14 in)


The RBU-1/A PAVE ROCK was a 19-tube rocket launcher for use against aircraft shelters. It was a U.S. Air Force project, which was in the testing phase in the 1974/76 time frame. No details about the PAVE ROCK rockets are available, and the system apparently did not reach operational service.

Sandia Tater (Talos-Terrier-Recruit)

The Tater was a three-stage rocket, developed from existing solid-propellant rocket stages by the Sandia National Laboratories. It consisted of a Talos booster first stage, a Terrier booster second stage, and a Recruit third stage. Two Taters were launched by Sandia in 1973, and the USAF's SAMSO (Space and Missile Systems Organization) launched another six of these rockets between January and December 1975, probably for tests of reentry vehicle ablative shielding concepts.

Sandia Malemute

The Malemute was a small single-stage research rocket. Its primary use was as upper stage in Sandia's Terrier-Malemute rockets, and Sandia Labs launched only three single-stage Malemutes in 1976 and 1979. The only military launch of a Malemute rocket occurred on 30 June 1999, when a Malemute II was launched by the U.S. Navy as a radar tracking target as part of the "Slugger" ballistic missile defense test. The rocket achieved an altitude of about 120 km (70 miles) in this test.

Photo: Sandia National Laboratories
Malemute II


The Taurus-Orion was a NASA two-stage solid-propellant sounding rocket, which consisted of an MGR-1B Honest John motor (called Taurus by NASA) as first stage, and an M22E8 Hawk motor (called Orion by NASA) as second stage. NASA launched more than 60 Taurus-Orion rockets between 1977 and 2002, many of them for aurora research. The U.S. Air Force also used the rocket for five launches between November 1980 and June 1982.


Data for Taurus-Orion:

Length10.77 m ( ft)
Diameter1st stage: 57.8 cm (22.75 in)
2nd stage: 35.6 cm (14 in)
Finspan1st stage: 1.82 m (5 ft 11.5 in)
2nd stage: 1.38 m (3 ft 6.5 in)
Weight1900 kg (4200 lb)
Altitude> 200 km (125 miles)
Propulsion1st stage: Taurus solid-fueled rocket; 455 kN (102000 lb) for 3.5 s
2nd stage: Orion solid-fueled rocket


The LRDMM (Long-Range Dual-Mode Missile) was a U.S. Navy project, which was begun around 1978. It called for a hypersonic (Mach 5) ship-launched missile, which could be used against aircraft, anti-ship missiles and ground (land and sea) targets. Maximum range was to be about 740 km (400 nm). The LRDMM missile would have been a derivative of the ASALM (Advanced Strategic Air-Launched Missile), but the LRDMM program never really left the study phase, and was soon cancelled.

Vought Long Bow (Longbow)

In 1978, SAMSO and DARPA began to sponsor a study for a new medium- to long-range ballistic missile under the name Longbow (or Long Bow). According to source [16], the concept evolved into a ballistic/cruise missile combination. Long Bow was to be launched vertically from Minuteman silos, transition to a cruise configuration for the way to the target, optionally loiter in the target area, and finally fly a ballistic path toward impact. A wingspan of 27 m (88 ft) is quoted. Vought received a contract to study this vehicle in 1983, but the concept obviously did not result in any flight test hardware.

USAF/Navy Common Missile

Under the generic label Common Missile, the U.S. Air Force and Navy studied a concept for a common ICBM, which could be launched both from SSBN launch tubes and from land-based canisters. The notional specifications as defined in 1978 called for a 4-stage solid-propellant missile, which can deliver up to 6 Mk.21 reentry vehicles. The study didn't result in an actual development effort.

Unidentified USAF Rocket

The White Sands Missile Range Museum had a photo of a strange-looking U.S. Air Force rocket on its website (source [6]). The website, now defunct, listed the rocket as unidentified.

Photo: White Sands Missile Range Museum
Unidentified USAF Rocket

It's possible, that the rocket was a surface-launched target used in tests of the FLAGE missile. This is based on the similarity to an air-launched FLAGE target.


The ADKEM (Advanced Kinetic Energy Missile) was a U.S. Army program for an anti-armour missile around 1990. Rockwell was possibly the prime contractor. It is not clear, how ADKEM was related to the MGM-166 LOSAT KEM (Line-of-Sight Anti-Tank Kinetic Energy Missile) program, which also had its origins in the 1988/90 time frame.


The LRCSW (Long-Range Conventional Standoff Weapon) program was a Navy-led joint Navy/Air Force program around 1990, which was to develop a successor to the BGM-109 Tomahawk. It was apparently cancelled before any contractor or design had been selected. According to source [13], the acronyms LRCMM (Long-Range Conventional Cruise Missile) and ASLCM (Advanced Sea-Launched Cruise Missile) referred to the same weapon.


SENIOR BLUE is reported in [4] as an air-to-air anti-radiation missile (similar in concept to the Brazo demonstrator of the 1970s), which was allegedly tested in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. No hard evidence is available, but it is possible that SENIOR BLUE was meant to counter high-value aerial assets like AWACS type aircraft.


In the early 1990s, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) initiated the RAPTOR (Responsive Aircraft Program for Theater Operations) ballistic missile defense program. The idea was to use a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV to detect launches of theater ballistic missiles (TBMs), and then shoot down the TBMs in the boost phase. Scaled Composites built a UAV for the program, which could cruise at 450 km/h (280 mph) and 20000 m (65000 ft) for 50 hours.

Photo: Scaled Composites

In addition to the search and tracking sensors, the UAV was designed to carry two small hypervelocity guided missiles named Talon (Theater Application - Launch On Notice). The Talon was to have a maximum range of 145-200 km (90-125 miles) at a speed of Mach 9. It would be guided towards the target by the RAPTOR UAV and use its own seeker for terminal homing. The missile was to be a "hit-to-kill" vehicle without an explosive warhead. Despite these performance figures, the Talon was to weigh no more than 18 kg (40 lb). In the end, no actual Talon missiles were built and flown before the RAPTOR/Talon program was terminated in late 1993.

In addition to the Scaled Composites UAV, one other UAV was flown in connection with the RAPTOR program. This was the AeroVironment Pathfinder UAV, a solar-powered modification of the company's HALSOL UAV. It was to evaluate the possibility of a HALE with potentially infinite endurance. After a short flight-test program in 1993/1994 and the end of the RAPTOR program, the Pathfinder, together with the Scaled Composites UAV, were turned over to NASA for their ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft & Sensor Technology) program.

Photo: NASA/Nick Galante

McDonnell Douglas DRM

The USAF's DRM (Dual Range Missile), begun by the Air Force Research Laboratory in 1992, was a broadly-defined program to study and develop new technologies for future air-to-air missiles. Research fields included propulsion, guidance & control, terminal seekers, fuzing and warhead kill mechanisms. The ultimate goal was a single missile, which would be effetive at both short and medium (beyond visual range) distances. In June 1997, McDonnell Douglas received a 5-year contract under the ASMT (Air Superiority Missile Technology) program to develop and test a flight control system for a prototype DRM.

Image: via

The baseline DRM design was a missile with a seeker, which could engage targets at extremely high off-boresight angles. The idea was that a fighter could attack enemy aircraft flying behind itself by firing a DRM "over the shoulder". For the missile's required super-manoeuverability, its tail fins were supported by several small side thrusters (using bleed exhaust from the main propulsion system), which would be used for extreme flight manoeuvers.

Essentially no news about DRM or ASMT has come forward since the announcement of the McDD contract, and the program was either conducted in complete secrecy or - more likely - quietly terminated without having produced an actual flight test article.


HAVE FLAG was a USAF tactical missile program, which appeared under PE (Program Element) identifier 0208042F in FY94 and FY95 budget documents listing classified DOD RDT&E (Research, Development, Test & Evaluation) programs. The program remains highly classified to this day, and therefore no reliable information about the nature of the missile has come forward. Quoted possibilities include:

FATE / "X-39"

The FATE (Future Aircraft Technology Enhancements) program was begun by the AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) in spring 1997 as part of a Fixed Wing Vehicle (FWV) program to advance the state-of-the-art in all aspects of fighter aircraft technology. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin received FATE I Phase 1 study contracts to "define a set of aircraft technologies that must be flight test validated in a new air vehicle to meet FWV Phase I program goals for a fighter attack class of aircraft, including both inhabited and uninhabited aircraft". These studies began in June 1997, were completed by October, and covered airframe design, flight control, propulsion, structures, LO (low observables) and other aspects. Lockheed Martin presented several baseline designs for FATE flight test vehicles in its final report.

Drawing: Lockheed Martin
FATE (proposed UAV design by Lockheed Martin)

The original FATE plan included a FATE I Phase 2, in which preliminary designs for a flight test vehicle and a demonstration program were to be defined. This was to be followed by FATE II, where an actual flight test vehicle was to be built and flown. However, by the end of the FATE I Phase 1 studies, the AFRL had already decided to terminate FATE and continue directly with a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) ATD (Advanced Technology Demonstration), which eventually led to the X-45 program.

Note: The X-plane designation X-39 is frequently associated with the FATE program. But although this designation was indeed informally reserved for FATE in April 1997, it was never officially requested, let alone allocated and used for FATE. By the time it was clear that the X-39 reservation would never be taken up, the X-series allocations had already continued into the 40s. Therefore the design number 39 in the X-series remained unassigned.

Boeing Fasthawk / ARRMD

In March 1997, Boeing received an ATD (Advanced Technology Demonstration) contract from the U.S. Navy for the Fasthawk LCMS (Low-Cost Missile System) hypersonic cruise missile demonstrator. The Fasthawk design was a fin-less cylindrical ramjet-powered missile, which was controlled by a so-called "bending body" airframe. The full rear fuselage section, which contained the ramjet combustion chamber, could swivel to provide thrust-vectoring.

Drawing: U.S. Navy

Performance goals for the Fasthawk missile included a speed of Mach 4 to 6 at 21000 m (70000 ft) altitude, and a range of 1300 km (700 nm) with a 320 kg (700 lb) warhead. It was to be launched by aircraft as well as vertically from VLS (Vertical Launch System) cells on ships. In the long term, it was planned to supplement and eventually replace the RGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile. The Fasthawk design had a diameter of 53 cm (21 in) and was either 4.26 m (168 in) or 6.50 m (256 in) long (air- and surface-launched versions, respectively).

The Fasthawk LCMS program was terminated in 1999, and no actual Fasthawk missile has been completed and flown. Funding was cancelled because of cost growth and the start of other, then more promising, hypersonic missile projects like DARPA's ARRMD (Advanced Rapid Response Missile Demonstrator). In August 1998, Boeing had received the prime contract to study two different Mach 6+ ARRMD designs, a wide, flat "waverider" shape and a more conventional cylinderical shape. However, no actual flight test vehicles were ordered after the studies had been completed, and the ARRMD program was terminated in 2001. The two concepts have since re-emerged under different programs, the DARPA/ONR HyFly (cylindrical shape) and the AFRL X-51 (waverider).

Boeing/Bristol Excalibur TBMTT

In March 2001, the U.S. Army awarded Boeing and Bristol Aerospace (of Canada) a contract to provide the Excalibur small ballistic target rocket for the Army's TBMTT (Tactical Ballistic Missile Training Target) requirement. The Excalibur TBMTT consists of a solid-propellant booster and an unpowered dart, which carries a Boeing RF SAS (Radio Frequency Signature Augmentation System) to simulate various ballistic missile threats. The TBMTT is used in live-fire training of MIM-104 Patriot missile units.


JSSCM (Joint Supersonic Cruise Missile) and SHOC (Stand-Off High-Speed Option for Counterproliferation) were two stillborn ACTD (Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration) programs for hypersonic missiles in the early 2000s. JSSCM was proposed by the DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) in April 2002. The goal was to develop a missile with a range of up to 1100 km (600 nm) at Mach 3.5 to 4.5, an accuracy of 3 m (10 ft) CEP, an all-up weight for air-launch of not more than 900 kg (2000 lb), and a concrete-penetrating warhead. However, firm support from the Pentagon did not come forward, and JSSCM was replaced by SHOC in 2003. The UK Ministry of Defence was a partner in the new program, but SHOC's development goals were essentialy the same as for JSSCM. In the end, funding for SHOC didn't come forward either, and so that program never got beyond the concept stage.

120 mm Guided Projectile XM1111 MRM

In 2002, the U.S. Army began the XM1111 MRM (Mid-Range Munition) program to develop a 120 mm, precision-guided beyond line-of-sight cannon-launched anti-armor projectile. Two variants were envisioned, the MRM-KE (Kinetic Energy) with a penetrator warhead, and the MRM-CE (Chemical Energy) with a HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead. The expected range of an XM1111 round was at least 12 km (7.5 miles).

Prime contractor for MRM-KE was Alliant Techsystems (ATK). The projectile had a semi-active laser seeker, and also a MMW (Millimeter Wave) seeker for autonomous homing. The warhead consisted of a penetrating rod, and the projectile was equipped with a rocket motor to accelerate it to a Mach 4+ impact velocity. MRM-KE was stabilized by flip-out fins, and had embedded impulse thrusters for steering. The design was successfully validated by flight tests in 2005/06.

Image: Alliant Techsystems

MRM-CE was developed by Raytheon. Like the KE variant, it had a semi-active laser seeker, but for autonomous operation, it had a dual-mode MMW/IIR (Millimater Wave / Imaging Infrared) seeker. MRM-CE prototypes were test-fired in the 2006/07 time frame. In 2009, the whole XM1111 MRM program was terminated.

Naval Research Lab BITE-Wing

BITE-Wing (BITE = Biplane Insectoid Travel Engine) was a design for a micro air vehicle, which was developed and tested by the Naval Research Lab in the early to mid-2000s. The vehicle used flapping wings and no fixed lifting surfaces. To quote NRL's explanation from source [22]:

"Two pairs of biplane-configured, reversing-camber flapping wings are driven in opposition by beams that resemble a pair of tongs. During their flapping cycle the wing pairs clap against each other, then are separated, producing rearward directed positive pressure pulses and forward directed negative pressure pulses that increase thrust. This technique has been observed in insect flight. The vehicle uses the same structure for flight, hover, hop takeoffs, and ground locomotion by "inchworming." Because the two beams are of equal mass and move in opposition, the BITE-Wing is dynamically balanced in flight."

Photos: NRL

The researchers claim that flapping wings have aerodynamic advantages over conventional fixed wings and propellers for aircraft below 10 cm (4 in) in size. The BITE-Wing experimental vehicles shown are about 40-50 cm (16-20 in) long and weigh 20-30 grams (0.7-1 oz).

Naval Research Lab SIERRA

SIERRA (Systems Integration Evaluation Remote Research Aircraft) is a small UAV, designed in the mid-2000's by the Naval Research Lab, and built and flown by NASA Ames Research Center. It was originally designed to carry experimental UAV payloads up to 45 kg (100 lb) for testing, evaluation, and demonstration. The airframe could be configured as a pusher (as shown) or tractor configuration. NASA is primarily using it for remote sensing and atmospheric sampling mission over inaccessible areas.

Photo: Dan Dawson


Data for SIERRA:

Length3.6 m (11.8 ft)
Wingspan6.1 m (20 ft)
Height1.4 m (4.6 ft)
Weightmax: 202 kg (445 lb)
Speed148 km/h (92 mph)
Ceiling3660 m (12000 ft)
Range965 km (600 miles)
Endurance10 h

Naval Research Lab Sail-a-Plane

In the 2005/2006 time frame, the NRL studied a conceptual UAV, which it called Sail-a-plane. This unique design could both fly as an airplane for high-speed mobility, and sail as a sailboat for long endurance. It had twin fuselages and long straight wings. In flight, it was powered by rechargable batteries. On the sea surface, the fuselages acted as catamaran boat hulls, and the wings were folded up to act as pivotable sails. While at sea, photovoltaic cells on some surfaces would be used to generate power for its onboard systems, and recharge the batteries for the next flight.

Image: NRL
Sail-a-Plane (notional concept image)

Envisioned use cases included maritime surveillance, and oceanographic or meteorological research. The hybrid concept meant that a Sail-a-plane vehicle could remain on station for much longer than a pure UAV, but also be more versatile than a conventional floating buoy, being able to quickly relocate to new areas of interest. It is unclear, what the final status of the project was, and if any prototypes were built.

Raytheon AERAM

AERAM (Army Extended Range Attack Missile) was a U.S. Army project for a long-range (> 100 km) surface-to-air missile against subsonic threats like cruise missiles and UAVs. The program started in 2003, and planned to supplement SLAMRAAM (Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), using the same launch platforms and infrastructure. AERAM was to be powered by a turbojet or turbofan engine, possibly with an afterburner for supersonic dash speeds. To also achieve efficient low subsonic (Mach 0.3) cruise in a loitering mode, a variable-geometry wing was envisioned. For components like warhead and seeker, existing components were to be used.

Image: Raytheon
AERAM (design concept)

AERAM was an S&T (Science & Technology) program, and the original schedule called for a start of the system design and development phase around 2009. However, the program was terminated, probably in the 2008/2009 time frame.

Lockheed Martin HCSW

HCSW (Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon) was a U.S. Air Force program for a hypersonic long-range air-launched stand-off weapon. It was to be used by B-52 bombers against fixed and mobile ground targets. Lockheed Martin had received the prime contract in 2018, but the program was cancelled in early 2020, before any flight tests could be conducted. The USAF had decided to concentrate its hypersonic development efforts on the AGM-183 ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon), which had a mission profile somewhat similar to HCSW, but was smaller and lighter so that it could potentially also be used by the F-15.

In 2019, the MDS designation AGM-182A Hacksaw was requested for HCSW, even though missile design number 182 had already been allocated as YLGM-182A. It appears that the request for AGM-182 was not formally approved.

DZYNE Technologies ULTRA

ULTRA (Unmanned Long-endurance Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft) is a UAV conceived by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and built by DZYNE Technologies. It is a commercial high-performance motor glider, converted to an unmanned long-endurance ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform. The program started around 2019. ULTRA has an endurance of more than 80 hours with a payload of 180 kg (400 lb). By using commercial off-the-shelf components wherever possible, ULTRA is intended as a low-cost alternative to existing long-endurance UAVs.

Photo: USAF

In May 2024, a single ULTRA UAV was deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.


HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) was a DARPA program to demonstrate proof-of-concept vehicles for air-breathing hypersonic air-launched cruise missiles. Key areas were airframe design for efficient hypersonic flight, scramjet propulsion, thermal stress management, and affordability of manufacture. The program began at some time before 2020, when two contractor teams were selected - Raytheon (airframe) with Northrop Grumman (scramjet), and Lockheed Martin (airframe) with Aerojet Rocketdyne (scramjet).

Images: DARPA
HAWC (Notional artist's renderings)

The flight test program of HAWC consisted of four launches, two each for both designs. The Raytheon missile was successfully test flown in September 2021 and July 2022, while Lockheed Martin's missile flew in April 2022 and January 2023. All flights were considered successful, and the missiles achieved Mach 5+ speeds, altitudes above 18200 m (60000 ft), and ranges of more than 550 km (300 nm).

DARPA plans to continue the research with a program called MOHAWC (More Opportunities with HAWC). Technology developed for HAWC will also be used in the U.S. Air Force's HACM (Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile) program, for which Raytheon was selected as prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman providing the scramjet.

Main Sources

[1] Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960
[2] Norman J. Bowman: "The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles", Perastadion Press, 1963
[3] Jacob Neufeld: "Ballistic Missiles in the United States Air Force, 1945-1960", Office of Air Force History, 1990
[4] James P. Stevenson: "The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy's A-12 Stealth Bomber Program", Naval Institute Press, 2001
[6] White Sands Missile Range Museum Website
[7] (Note: Web page no longer available!)
[8] Jay Miller: "B-58 Hustler", Aerofax, 1997
[9] Marcelle S. Knaack: "Post World War II Bombers", Office of Air Force History, 1988
[10] MX Project List, compiled by George Cully
[11] Bill Gunston: "Rockets and Missiles", Salamander Books Ltd, 1979
[12] Website
[14] Maj. David E. Snodgrass: Attacking the Theater Mobile Ballistic Missile Threat, Maxwell AFB Air University, June 1993
[15] Chunk Hansen: "Swords of Armageddon", Chukelea Publications, 1995
[16] Kenneth P.Werrell: "The Evolution of the Cruise Missile", Air University Press, 1985
[17] P.J. Waltrup "History of U.S. Navy ramjet, scramjet, and mixed-cycle propulsion development", AIAA, 1996
[18] R.T. Pretty, D.H.R. Archer (eds.): "Jane's Weapon Systems 1970/71", Jane's, 1970
[19] Jonathan McDowell: GCAT: Launch Vehicles
[20] C.M. Hanson: "Characteristics of Strategic, Tactical and Research Missiles", Convair San Diego, 1954/58
[21] Clifford C. Furnas: Research and Development in the Armed Forces, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 20 Dec 1957
[22] NRL UAV Fact Sheets (from 2008 Internet Archive)
[24] DARPA Website
[25] The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick: Air Force Wants To Use External Pylons To Arm The B-1B Bomber With 31 Hypersonic Missiles
[26] Wikipedia
[27] Army Field Manual FM 3-2 "Tactical Employment of Riot Control", Department of the Army, April 1970
[28] Sherman L. Davis: Riot Control Weapons for the Vietnam War, June 1970
[29] AFRL: Unmanned Long-endurance Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (ULTRA)
[30] Department of the Army: "Technical Manual TM9-1950, Rockets", February 1958

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 10 June 2024