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1960's Vintage U.s. Army Pershing Missile Desk Top Model For Sale

1960's Vintage U.s. Army Pershing Missile Desk Top Model

rare desktop plastic model from the dallas estate of a former aviation engineer. pershing missile. missile with stand is 13 inches tall. decal is worn on stand and u.s. army decal on one side of missile is worn. missile is free of cracks or chips. missile breaks down to two pieces. not sure who manufactured model. you will also receive a vintage pershing missile decal. a fine addition to your collection.5.00 shipping. paypal or contact for info. good luck. mike

Pershing was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missiles designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army's primary nuclear-capable theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test version in 1960 through final elimination in 1991. It was named after General John J. Pershing. The systems were managed by the U.S. Army Missile Command (MICOM) and deployed by the Field Artillery Branch.


In 1956, George Bunker, the president of the Martin Company, paid a courtesy call on Gen. John Medaris of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Medaris noted that it would be advantageous to the Army if there was a missile plant in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral. Martin began construction of their Sand Lake facility in Orlando, Florida, and this was opened in late 1957. Edward Uhl, the co-inventor of the bazooka, was the vice-president and general manager of the new factory.

The U.S. Army began studies in 1956 for a ballistic missile with a range of about 500–750 nautical miles (930–1,390km; 580–860mi). Later that year, Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson issued the Wilson Memorandum that removed from the U.S. Army all missiles with a range of 200 miles (320km) or more.[1] When this memorandum was rescinded by the D.O.D. in 1958, the ABMA began development of the class of ballistic missile. Initially called the "Redstone-S", where the S meant solid propellant, the name was changed to the Pershing missile.

Seven companies were selected to develop engineering proposals: Chrysler, the Lockheed Corporation, the Douglas Aircraft Company, the Convair Division of General Dynamics, the Firestone Corp., the Sperry-Rand Company, and the Martin Company.[2]

The Secretary of the Army, Wilber Brucker, the former governor of Michigan — was apparently under pressure from his home state to award the contract to a company in Michigan. Chrysler was the only contractor from Michigan, but Medaris persuaded Brucker to leave the decision entirely in the hands of the ABMA. After a selection process by General Medaris and Dr. Arthur Rudolph, the Martin Company (later Martin Marietta after a merger in 1961) was awarded a CPFF (cost-plus-fixed-fee) contract for research, development, and initial production of the Pershing system under the technical supervision and concept control of the government. Martin's quality control manager for the Pershing, Phil Crosby developed the concept of Zero Defects that enhanced the production and reliability of the system.

Pershing I

MGM-31 Pershing I
Pershing round 32 launched from Hueco Range, Texas by A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 44th Field Artillery, targeted for White Sands Missile Range on August 20, 1963 Type Surface-to-surface missile Placeoforigin United States Service history Inservice 1960–1986 Usedby

  • USA
  • United States Army 24 launchers
  • West Germany
  • German Air Force 16 launchers
Production history Designer The Martin Company Designed 1958–1960 Manufacturer The Martin Company Produced 1960–1969 Numberbuilt 754 missiles (including Pershing IA) Specifications Weight 4,655 kilograms (10,263lb) Length 10.5 metres (34.4ft) Diameter 1.02 metres (3.3ft) Blastyield
  • W50 nuclear warhead
  • 60 kilotons of TNT (0.25PJ)
  • 200 kilotons of TNT (0.84PJ)
  • 400 kilotons of TNT (1.7PJ)
  • First stage: Thiokol TX TX-174
  • 115 kN (25,900 lbf) 38.3 s
  • Second stage: Thiokol TX-175
  • 85 kN (19,100 lbf) 39 s

range 740 kilometres (460mi) Boost time 77.3 seconds Speed Mach 8 Guidance
system Eclipse-Pioneer ST-120 inertial guidance Steering
system Jet vanes, air vanes Accuracy 400 metres (1,310ft) circular error probable Launch
platform M474 transporter erector launcher


The first XM14 R&D Pershing I[note 1] test missile, was launched on February 25, 1960. The first two-stage launch from the tactical transporter erector launcher (TEL) was in January 1962. The first test flights used only the first stage, but by the end of 1962, full range two stage flights had been successful. For training there was an inert Pershing I missile designated XM19. In June 1963, the XM14 and XM19 Pershing missiles were redesignated as XMGM-31A and XMTM-31B, respectively. The production version of the tactical missile was subsequently designated as MGM-31A.

Gilson Butte in Utah, situated at


38°36′N 110°36′W / 38.600°N 110.600°W / 38.600; -110.600 was used a Pershing test site tested between 1964 and 1970.[3]


Pershing made its first public appearance at Fort Benning in May 1960 as part of a display for President Eisenhower.[4] Pershing later performed as part of the inaugural parade of President Kennedy in 1961. President Kennedy and other dignitaries visited White Sands Missile Range in 1963 to observe test firings of various weapons systems– Pershing was demonstrated, but not fired.[5]

The 2nd Missile Battalion, 44th Artillery was activated at Fort Sill as the first tactical Pershing unit. The 56th Field Artillery Group was activated in Heilbronn, West Germany to become the parent unit for three missile battalions. The 4th Missile Battalion, 41st Artillery was formed in 1963 and deployed to Schwäbisch Gmünd, West Germany. This was followed by the deployment of the 1st Battalion, 81st Field Artillery at Wiley Barracks in Neu-Ulm. In 1964, the Secretary of Defense assigned the Pershing weapon system to a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role after a DoD study showed that Pershing would be superior to tactical aircraft for the QRA mission. The German Air Force began training at Fort Sill. The 2nd Missile Battalion, 79th Artillery was formed for deployment to South Korea, but was deactivated before equipment was issued. In 1965, three U.S. Army battalions and two German Air Force wings were operational in Germany. The 579th Ordnance Company was later moved to Nelson Barracks in Neu-Ulm and tasked with maintenance and logistical general support for the Pershing artillery units.


The Pershing I missile was powered by two Thiokol solid-propellant engines. Since a solid-propellant engine cannot be turned off, selective range was achieved by thrust reversal and case venting. The rocket stages were attached with splice bands and explosive bolts. As directed by the onboard guidance computer, the bolts would explode and eject the splice band. Another squib would open the thrust reversal ports in the forward end of the stage and ignite the propellant in the forward end, causing the engine to reverse direction. During testing, it was found that the second stage would draft behind the warhead and cause it to drift off course, so an explosive charge was added to the side of the engine that would open the case and vent the propellant. The range could be graduated but the maximum was 740 kilometres (400nmi). The missile was steered by jet vanes in the rocket nozzles and air vanes on the engine case. Guidance was provided by an onboard analog guidance computer and an Eclipse-Pioneer ST-120 (Stable Table-120) inertial navigation system. The warhead could be conventional explosive or a W50 nuclear weapon with three yield options— the Y1 with 60 kiloton yield, Y2 with 200 kiloton yield and Y3 with 400 kiloton yield.

Ground equipment

The Pershing I firing platoon consisted of four M474 tracked-vehicles– by comparison, Redstone needed twenty vehicles. The transporter erector launcher (TEL) transported the two stages and the guidance section as an assembly and provided the launch platform after the warhead was mated. It utilized a removable erector launcher designed by Unidynamics and manufactured by FMC Corporation The warhead carrier transported the warhead and the azimuth laying set used to position the missile. The programmer test station (PTS) and power station (PS) were mounted on one carrier.

The PTS featured rapid missile checkout and countdowns, with complete computer control, and automatic self test and malfunction isolation. Additionally, the PTS would perform tests that simulated airborne missile operation, programed the trajectory of the missile, and controlled the firing sequence. Plug-in micromodules, increased maintainability and allowed the PTS operator to perform 80% of all repairs at the firing position. A turbine driven Power Station, mounted behind the PTS, provided the primary electrical and pneumatic power and conditioned air for the missile and ground support equipment at the firing position.

The AN/TRC-80 Radio Terminal Set was produced by Collins Radio Company specifically for the Pershing system. The "Track 80" used an inflatable dish antenna to provide line-of-sight or tropospheric-scatter voice and teleprinter communications between missile firing units and higher headquarters. The erector-launcher, PTS, PS and RTS could be removed from the carriers and air-transported in fourteen CH-47 Chinook loads.[6]


The missile had to be positioned or "laid in" on a pre-surveyed site with a system of two theodolites and a target card. Directional control was passed from one theodolite to the one next to the missile. The missile was then oriented to north by an operator using a horizontal laying theodolite aimed at a window in the guidance section of the missile. Using a control box, the ST-120 Inertial navigation system in the guidance section was rotated until it was aligned; at this point the missile "knew" which direction was north.

Satellite launcher

In 1961, Martin proposed a satellite launch system based on the Pershing. Named Pegasus, it would have had a lighter, simplified guidance section and a short third stage booster.[7] A 60-pound (27kg) payload could be boosted to a 210 miles (340km) circular orbit, or to an elliptical orbit with a 700 miles (1,130km) apogee. Pegasus would have used the Pershing erector-launcher and could be emplaced in any open area. Martin seems to have been targeting the nascent European space program, but this program was never developed.


In 1965, the Army contracted with the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of Johns Hopkins University to develop and implement a test and evaluation program.[8] APL provided technical support to the Pershing Operational Test Unit (POTU), identified problem areas and improved the performance and survivability of the Pershing systems.

Pershing IA

MGM-31A Pershing IA Type Surface-to-surface missile Placeoforigin United States Service history Inservice 1969–1991 Usedby

  • USA
  • United States Army 108 launchers
  • West Germany
  • German Air Force 72 launchers
Production history Designer The Martin Company Designed 1965–1969 Manufacturer The Martin Company Produced 1969 Numberbuilt 754 missiles (including Pershing I) Specifications Weight 4,655 kilograms (10,263lb) Length 10.5 metres (34.4ft) Diameter 1.02 metres (3.3ft) Blastyield
  • W50 nuclear warhead
  • 60 kilotons of TNT (0.25PJ)
    200 kilotons of TNT (0.84PJ)
    400 kilotons of TNT (1.7PJ)
  • First stage: Thiokol TX-174
  • 115 kN (25,900 lbf) 38.3 s
  • Second stage: Thiokol TX-175
  • 85 kN (19,100 lbf) 39 s

range 740 kilometres (460mi) Boost time 77.3 seconds Speed Mach 8 Guidance
system Eclipse-Pioneer ST-120 Inertial navigation system Steering
system Jet vanes, air vanes Accuracy 400 metres (1,310ft) circular error probable Launch
platform M790 erector launcher Transport M757 5-ton tractor


In 1964, a series of operational tests and follow-on tests were performed to determine the reliability of the Pershing I. The Secretary of Defense then requested that the Army define the modifications required to make Pershing suitable for the quick reaction alert (QRA) role. The Pershing IA development program was approved in 1965, and the original Pershing was renamed to Pershing I. Martin Marietta received the Pershing IA production contract in mid-1967. The 2nd Battalion, 44th Field Artillery received equipment at Fort Sill in 1969. Project SWAP replaced all of the Pershing equipment in Germany by mid-1970 and the first units quickly achieved QRA status.

Pershing IA was a quick reaction alert system and so had faster vehicles, launch times and newer electronics.[9] The total number of launchers was increased from eight to 36 per battalion. It was deployed from May 1969 and by 1970 almost all the Pershing I systems had been upgraded to Pershing IA under Project SWAP. Production of the Pershing IA missile ended in 1975 and reopened in 1977 to replace missiles expended in training.

Pershing IA was further improved in 1971 with the Pershing Missile and Power Station Development Program. The analog guidance computer and the control computer in the missile were replaced by a single digital guidance and control computer. The main distributor in the missile that routed power and signals was replaced with a new version. The missile used a rotary inverter to convert DC to AC— this was replaced by a solid-state static inverter. The power station was improved for accessibility and maintenance.[10] Further improvements in 1976 allowed the firing of a platoon's three missiles in quick succession and from any site without the need for surveying.[11] The Automatic Reference System (ARS) use an optical laser link and a north-seeking gyro with encode to eliminate the need for pre-selected and surveyed points. The Sequential Launch Adapter connected the PTS to three missiles, eliminating the need to cable and uncable each launcher.

A total of 754 Pershing I and Pershing IA missiles were built with 180 deployed in Europe.[12]


The battalions in Europe were reorganized under new tables of organization and equipment (TOE); an infantry battalion was authorized and formed to provide additional security for the system; and the 56th Artillery Group was reorganized and redesignated the 56th Field Artillery Brigade. Due to the nature of the weapon system, officer positions were increased by one grade: batteries were commanded by a major instead of a captain; battalions were commanded by a colonel; and the brigade was commanded by a brigadier general.[13]:2-4

Pershing la was deployed with three U.S. battalions in Europe and two German Air Force wings. Each battalion or wing had 36 mobile launchers. Due to legal issues of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany prohibiting (West) Germany to own (or directly control) nuclear weapons the direct command and control of the nuclear warheads remained in the hands of the U.S. army. During peacetime operations, a portion of the Pershing IA assets was deployed on the QRA mission. The remainder would be conducting field training or were maintained in kasernes awaiting alert. The system was designed to be highly mobile, permitting its dispersal to clandestine sites in times of alert or war and was deployed at distances greater than 100km behind the forward edge of battle area or political border. Owing to its mobility and setback, Pershing was considered one of the most survivable theater nuclear weapons ever deployed in Europe.

The primary mission in the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe scheduled plan took one of two forms: peacetime or an increased state of readiness called period of tension. Different levels or techniques of tasking were used for these mission forms. The peacetime quick reaction alert role required that for each battalion or wing, one firing battery or a portion thereof would be combat alert status (CAS) on a permanent hard site, covering assigned targets.

In peacetime the four batteries of each battalion rotated through four states or conditions of alert readiness, the highest being that of the CAS battery. The purpose of this rotation was to assume the CAS status, to share the burden of CAS responsibility, to provide time for field tactical training and equipment maintenance, and to give ample leave and pass time to personnel without adverse impact on operational requirements.

During periods of increased tension, the firing batteries of each battalion were deployed to previously unused field tactical sites. At these sites, they assumed responsibility for coverage of all assigned targets. During transition from the peacetime to full combat status, coverage was maintained on the highest priority targets that were assigned to the peacetime CAS batteries.

Once all firing batteries were at their field sites, the firing elements of the battalions were deployed by platoons, which were then separated from each other geographically to reduce vulnerability. The platoons then moved to new firing positions on a random schedule to increase survivability.

The deployment of Pershing missiles was a cause of significant [1] protests in Europe.

1960's Vintage U.s. Army Pershing Missile Desk Top Model

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