Air Force Bases

Nike - Organization of the Research and Development Program

The NIKE R&D Program, as organized by BTL, was based on the integration of skills of various industrial organizations. The Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC), which had already been active in the guided missile field during the war under sponsorship,of the National Defense Research Council, accepted the major subcontract for the required aerodynamic studies, for the engineering and fabrication of the missiles with the associated booster and launcher devices, and for conducting the proving ground firing tests. In turn, DAC called upon the Aerojet Engineering corporation for the liquid-fuel rocket motor and solid-fuel booster rockets. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology consented to act as consultant on propulsion system matters for both DAC and Aerojet. The assistance of numerous other companies and agencies was enlisted to develop specialized instruments needed in the process of testing the components and the ballistic performance of the system.

In addition to the overall management of the project, BTL reserved, as its own technical domain, the design and construction of the radars and computer, and the development of the guidance and missile control system, as well as the missile borne responder and command receiver system. BTL further undertook the determination of the best warhead configuration in close cooperation with the Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) at Aberdeen Proving Ground. With the fill approval of the Chief of Ordnance, BTL also retained the initiative in and responsibility for all major technical decisions. Emphasizing the desirability of such system coordination, the Chief of Ordnance established resident offices at the contractors locations.

Pursuant to existing policy relating to the development of guided missile systema, Army Ordnance retained the responsibility for development of those items falling in fields femiliar to Ordnance and other technical services. However, requirements for the various components were determined by the prlme contractor in the exercise of his overall responsibility for the system.

Accordingly, the responsibility for development of the high explosive fragmentation warhead was assigned to Picatinny Arsenal, with Frankford Arsenal and the Diamond Ordnance Fuse Laboratory recelvlng assignments on safety and arming mechanisms. Some of this work was contracted by Plcatinny and Frankford Arsenals.

Parts of the M5 JATO were developed by the Allagany Ballistics Laboratory under contract to the Bureau of Ordnance of the Navy. Among these were the metal case, nozzle, grain, igniter, and internal parts. Other parts, including the fins, thrust structure, launching lugs, nozzle shroud, and fin mounting fittings, were developed by the BTL-DAC team.

The Corps of Engineers performed or contracted for the design of equipment for underground launchers and fixed sites, including elevators and associated mechanisms. The corps of Engineers designed the engine generators and frequency converters, performed the product improvement effort on compressors, and developed air conditioning units and blast deflectors.

The Signal Corps was the responsible agency for development of the missile batteries and battery chargers, and also provided system communications equipment.

Redstone Arsenal was responsible for the design of missile shipping and storage containers. This work was contracted separately.