Air Force Bases

Program Development - Initiation

On 16 June 1945, following the verbal presentation of feasibility study results in May, the Ordnance Department-with agreement of the Air Corps-assumed full sponsorship of Project NIKE and charged the WECo and BTL, as principle subcontractor, with full responsibility for its execution. By September 1945, sufficient progress had been made in the preliminary study phase to warrant the initiation of a project for the development of an antiaircraft guided missile for ground to air firing.

The initial development plan, as approved by the Ordnance Technical Committee on 13 September 1945, was based on tentative military characteristics recommended by the Antiaircraft Artillery Board. These characteristics described a self-propelled guided missile, complete with a suitable fire control system and launching equipment, for use against high-speed aerial targets. Since the state of development at that time did not permit establishment of detailed characteristics, the Antiaircraft Artillery Board indicated that the tentative requirements should be considered as "desirable but not restrictive." Accordingly, the tentative characteristics were accepted as a guide in the initial development project and were subject to revision as the design developed.

Based on the foregoing action, the WECo contract (W-30-069-ORD-3182) was supplemented on 21 September 1945 to increase the scope of work. Including a fixed fee of 5%, this contract supplement amounted to $4,895,450. It covered the research, design, development and engineering work required to produce a suitable guided missile, together with the necessary accessories and related launching equipment, to attack high- speed (up to 600 mph), high altitude (60,000 feet) aircraft.