The first live interception test of the Nike Zeus weapon system was successfully accomplished on December 21, when a Zeus fired from White Sands Missile Range intercepted a Nike Hercules anti-aircraft missile travelling at approximately 3,000 m.p.h. The Zeus carried a spotting charge in lieu of a nuclear warhead. These pictures may suggest that the miss-distance was considerable (a rough guess is 300ft), but the US Army describe it as "well within the lethal radius of the warhead planned for operational use." The Hercules was fired first; it climbed to a "high altitude" (probably some 150,000ft) in the northern part of the range and was then set plunging down like a re-entry vehicle towards the range's south-eastern extremity.

Flight International 04.01.1962 / 40 Years Ago

Source: Flight International