- Covering the Past, Present and Future of
II Fact Sheet
Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge
Classification: Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile
Length: 34 feet, 10 inches
Diameter: 3 feet, 4 inches
Finspan: 6 feet, 9 inches
Range: 1,100 miles
By the 1970's, the U.S. Army and contractor Martin Marietta were prepared to develop an improved version of the Pershing IA called the Pershing II.
Based upon the original Pershing missiles, the Pershing II contained technological and operational improvements which resulted in greater range and accuracy.
Accuracy was dramatically improved with the addition of a Goodyear radar area correlation guidance system. The device compared oncoming targets with images recorded in computer memory.
Since the Pershing II was more accurate than the Pershing I and
For this reason, the nuclear warhead capability of the Pershing II was
reduced to 50 kilotons compared to 400 kilotons for the Pershing I and
In addition, the Pershing II was equipped with an advanced, deadly ground-penetrating warhead which could cause considerable damage even to reinforced or underground structures.
Production of the Pershing II was stepped up in the mid to late 1970's in response to an increasing Soviet deployment of intermediate to long-range mobile land-based missiles.
The first Pershing II test launch occurred on July 22, 1982 from Cape
Canaveral Launch Complex 16. A total of 108 Pershing II missiles were
subsequently deployed in
Test launches for troop training at
Although the Pershing II represented the first operational IRBM for the U.S. Army since being stripped of the Jupiter missile by the "Wilson Memorandum" in 1956, this capability was to be short-lived.
In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbacev signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The treaty banned all land-based intermediate-range missiles, including the Pershing II.
Pershing II missiles would be dismantled and destroyed. Those rendered inert
and kept on display, including one at the Air Force Space and
The U.S. Army had again lost its IRBM capability, but by treaty rather than memorandum.
Copyright © 2012 Spaceline, Inc.