Nike Hercules




 
--
 
August 29th, 2006  
TheChief05
 
 

Topic: Nike Hercules


Several individuals have mentioned that they worked or have experience with the Nike Hercules Missile program. I was day dreaming at the desk and thought wow. I spent 20 years providing maintenance services to the "Herc", and before the PATRIOT, the Herc was the premier ADA weapons system in the free world. Yes, in the free world, -my first maintenance experience was with a battery of Dutch operated Hercules. For those younger guys and gals, it was a 2 stage missile that flew at supersonic speed, had separate acquisition and tracking radars and essentially operated very much like the current PATRIOT system. (one major different, Hercules had a high yield warhead variant, mushroom cloud - like) PATRIOT is solely a conventional type warhead.
Little know fact, PATRIOT is actually an acronym, and stands for Phased Array Tracking to Intercept Of Target. It is fielded to 10 different foreign countries and of course, the US.


Appreciate your listening to me,

The Chief 05
August 29th, 2006  
Maytime
 
 
Chief,
Welcome aboard! Never knew the Hercs were nuclear. During the Cold War, Alaska (my home) had a ton of Herc sites, one in particular is near and dear to me. It overlooks Anchorage, and it's long since abandoned (but not forgotton by Mother Army). It is always fun to hike up the mountain and explore the ruins, bunkers and such, but the buildings are all infested with asbestos dust particles.

Last thing I heard they were going to convert it into a museum, a tribute to everyone who worked in the Nike program. Some units from Ft. Richardson (ABN types) go up there for battle drills from time to time, as you can find freshly laid piles of brass from M16s and other weapons. Lots of expelled flares too.
August 30th, 2006  
TheChief05
 
 
There were actually three (3) different nuclear yields. All based on the Mark 31 warhead that was also used in the Honest John Rocket. Yes, I meant rocket. The HJ was fired similarly to artillery, point and shoot. The HJ was truck mounted and when fired, without the removal of two quick release pins, made a real mess of the truck.
The "high yield" Hercules was available to the majority of our NATO allies, under a dual control scenario, with US personnel guarding the "special" Warhead Sections (WHS), during normal readiness.
If the truth be told -I learned my A-bomb skills on Hercs, all across the German Westfallen plain.
There is a National Park north of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransico, CA; believe it is Fort Baker, which is a Nike Hercules site that has been refurnished. The web site is on my computer at work. If desired I can add it to the forum
If I could figure a way to attach a photo I would attempt it.

The Chief 05
--
August 30th, 2006  
5.56X45mm
 
 
There is an old Nike Herc site in Miami. Out on Krome Ave. and is between SW 88 St and SW 8 St. The place is in ruins. Benn tagged up by the wanna be thugs leaving around their signs and a bunch of other folks. Been used as a paintball field and is just a dump. What a shame. I'd wish it was still in it's pristine condition.

I still find the thought amazing that that place held nuclear weapons. Right here in Miami.
August 30th, 2006  
sunb!
 
 
We have a few of the Nike sites around in my district of Norway too, but it's been a long time ago they were phased out for newer technology. Some of the equipment can be seen at the Aviation Museum, quite impressive piece of military equipment that is...
August 30th, 2006  
TheChief05
 
 
In the normal battery configuration, there were thirty Nike Hercules missiles in three different launcher locations, each battery location was support by a separate sensor area (this consist of the acquisition and tracking radars plus the Command and Control).
The three launcher locations, all within about a 1 kilometer area, each had an individual missile barn, holding ten missiles, with usually three missiles on the launcher rails that extended from the barn. One barn/launcher location had all conventional warheaded missiles, and in the other two barn locations, internal to the barn were two (2) each nuclear equipped missiles.
Those two missiles each (4 per battery) stay in the barn always, unless they were disassembled from the missiles and moved to the "warhead assembly building", for maintenance. The yield configuration of the "high order" missiles was decided at the (Commander in Chief, European Command) CINCEUCOM level, or probably the NORAD level, stateside. Actually, I am theorizing the US configurations based on the European and Korean experiences. You all know that Department of the Army operates on standards that are duplicated across the force. Several of you are correct, at one time Nike Hercules sites were distributed all over this nation. A great site that can answer a number of your questions is at www.nikeordnance.com

I appreciate your listening to me as I reminiscing about the 80s.

The Chief 05
September 1st, 2006  
Missileer
 
 
Actually, Chief, I was taken back to the 60's when I served almost three years on Herc bases, one was LA-55 near Point Vicente, California. That one was, I think Btry D, 3rd msl bn, 47th Artillery, later Air Defense Artillery. When we turned that one over to the NG, I was sent to Btry A, 1st msl bn, 56th Artillery, which moved to Fort Bliss as Headquarters. I think that site was LA-94 at Newhall, Calif up in the mountains. It was still going strong when I left the service in `65.

I was in IFC all of my tour as Acquisition Radar operator as well as the Computer. I locked onto and queried aircraft with the IFF system. After an aircraft was considered hostile, the TTR locked on with a smaller, more powerful signal. Then when the pits had a bird on the launch rails and reported to the BCO, the MTR locked onto the missile and sent and received flight instructions via the computer.

In 1963, we had a few high yield warheads installed on some of the missiles. One way to tell one of those was the nose probe which was a barometric arming device with a shield over it which was removed during launch preparations. As they say, I can't confirm that any nukes were ever on a Nike site. Different Arm Plugs were installed depending on the mission.

Few people know that a Herc knocked down another missile at White Sands, I believe it was a Corporal.

This is a good site for info and history. http://ed-thelen.org/
September 1st, 2006  
Maytime
 
 
Why would a Nike even need nuke capability? Would those Russian planes (Badgers, I think they were), fly in a formation tight enough for a nuke to be effective? I guess the flash alone would incapacitate the pilots, then the heat from the blast take them down, not to mention the EMP blast, but I'm not privvy to the high-altitude effects of nukes, other than the EMP.

Am I stuck on stoopid here?
September 1st, 2006  
Missileer
 
 
I think the long range Tu-95 Bear by Tupolev was the aircraft that everyone expected the Soviets to use to cross over the Polar route in huge numbers.

"The Tu-95 BEAR was perhaps the most successful bomber produced by the Soviet aviation, enjoying long service in a variety of roles and configurations. It was the only bomber deployed by any country to use turbo-prop engines, which provided extraordinarily long endurance at speeds only slightly less than comparable turbojet-powered heavy bombers."

The Hercules was designed to carry a heavier nuclear warhead because the fragmentation warhead did not have the kill radius that a nuke has. So 40 Kt was supposed to air burst and damage a larger amount of bombers and render their payload harmless by igniting the HE portion of their warheads. Bigger job, bigger tool.
September 2nd, 2006  
Maytime
 
 
Roger that, the Bear sounds right. I knew it started with a B.
 


Similar Topics
Canadian Defence Minister's $8B "wish list"
Britain Probes Cause of Hercules Crash in Iraq (Reuters)
Nike Magia advertisement