|Northorop SM-62 "Snark" - the
first cruise missile
| So many Snarks were
fired down the Atlantic Ocean Test Firing Range that the crews
referred to them as "Snark Infested Waters."
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.
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. It'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 group.
The first Snark operational unit was activated by the
Strategic Air Command in 1958 at Presque Isle AFB, Maine.