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Posted 7/8/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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Northrop SM-62 Snark
This declassified 1955 drawing shows the Snark’s internal arrangement. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The Snark, originally designated as the B-62, was an interim-type, air-breathing intercontinental weapon produced during the period when intercontinental ballistic missiles were still being perfected. It carried a nuclear warhead and was launched from a mobile platform by two booster rocket engines. These propelled the Snark to flying speed in four seconds, at which time they were jettisoned and the missile continued in flight, powered by its internal jet engine. The missile and its ground support equipment could be lifted by an aircraft, such as the C-124, and could be set up and ready for launch soon after arrival at a site.

The Snark's flight path was controlled by internal celestial guidance. When the missile arrived over its target, the nose section containing the warhead separated from the fuselage and fell in a trajectory onto the target. The rest of the Snark, now useless, was destroyed on impact with the ground.

The first Snark operational unit was activated by the Strategic Air Command in 1958 at Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine. With the availability of large numbers of ballistic missiles in the early 1960s, the Snark became obsolete and was removed from service. No Snark was ever used in actual combat.

The museum has a Northrop SM-62 Snark on display in the Cold War Gallery.

Type Number built/
B-62 ? Became SM-62 (Strategic Missile)

Armament: Nuclear Warhead
Engines: Pratt & Whitney J57 jet engine of 10,500 lbs. thrust and two Aerojet-General solid-propellant booster rockets of over 130,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: 650 mph / 565 knots
Range: 6,325 statute miles / 5,497 nautical miles
Service ceiling: 50,250 ft.
Span: 42 ft. 3 in.
Length: 67 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 48,147 lbs. without boosters

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