Encyclopedia Astronautica

Terrier Malemute
Standard US Navy solid propellant two-stage extended-range surface-to-air missile. Developed in the 1950's, in service until replaced by the Standard ER in the 1980's. Modified Terrier missiles were used as sounding rockets, sometimes supplemented with upper stages.

The US Navy began the Bumblebee program in 1946 to develop the Talos ramjet-powered surface-to-air missile with deployment in 1949. Mastering ramjet technology turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. On the other hand, a two-stage solid propellant rocket used to test the guidance system performed very well in tests in 1948. So the decision was taken to develop the test vehicle into the Terrier, a shorter range surface-to-air missile that could be deployed in the short term while Talos matured. First flight of the Terrier was in 1951, and the missile was deployed on Navy surface ships in 1956. Terrier remained deployed with the fleet as part of the Terrier-Tartar-Talos SAM triad until replaced by Standard ER missiles in the 1980's. Versions of the Terrier were:

  • RIM-2A Terrier BW-0 (Beam-riding, Wing-controlled, series 0)
  • RIM-2B Terrier BW-1 a simplified BW-0 with higher reliability
  • RIM-2C Terrier BT-3 (Beam-riding, Tail-controlled, series 3), with wings replaced by fixed strakes, and control surfaces on the tail, which improved agility. The missile also had an improved autopilot and a improved rocket motors providing higher speed and range. First tested in 1954, the BT-3 was operational in 1956.
  • RIM-2D Terrier BT-3A, with further propulsion improvements which doubled the range to about 37 km (20 nm). An anti-ship mode was added.
  • RIM-2D Terrier BT-3A(N), a BT-3A with a 1 kT W-45 nuclear warhead.
  • RIM-2E Terrier HT-3 (Homing Terrier), with C-band semi-active radar homing replacing the beam-riding guidance. This gave the missile capability against low-altitude targets. The Tartar short-range SAM missile was a essentially a Terrier without a booster stage, deployed in 1962.
  • RIM-2F Terrier HTR-3 (Homing Terrier, Retrofit), with a new sustainer motor, power supply, and solid state electronics. This gave the system a range of 75 km (40 nm) with improved ECCM, multiple-target capability, and improved anti-ship performance. RIM-2E missiles were brought up to RIM-2F standard
  • TMT (Terrier Missile Target) configuration, surplus Terrier missiles converted to sea-skimming or ballistic targets.

Failures: 15. Success Rate: 90.38%. First Fail Date: 1959-05-01. Last Fail Date: 2004-11-24. Launch data is: continuing in 1959 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 0.062 million. Standard warhead: 110 kg (240 lb). Maximum range: 37 km (22 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 1. Standard warhead: W45. Warhead yield: 1.00 KT. Boost Propulsion: Solid rocket. Maximum speed: 3,270 kph (2,030 mph). Initial Operational Capability: 1956. Total Number Built: 3000. Floor: 15 m (49 ft). Surveillance Radar: SPQ-5/C.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

General Dynamics (Convair) SAM-N-7-RIM-2 Terrier

The Terrier was the U.S. Navy's first operational shipborne medium-range surface-to-air missile. It was one result of the Bumblebee program, whose ultimate goal was the development of the SAM-N-6 Talos long-range surface-to-air missile. During devolpment of Talos, a Supersonic Test Vehicle (STV, CTV-N-8) was built to evaluate the guidance system at supersonic speeds. Because the results were promising, and the development of the complicated Talos would take many more years, it was decided to develop the STV into a tactical missile, the Terrier. The flight tests of the Terrier began in 1951, when the designation SAM-N-7 was also assigned. It took a few years to get the bugs out of the system, and the Terrier was not operational until 1956.

Production started with the SAM-N-7, but after a few rounds switched to the slightly reengineered SAM-N-7a Terrier 1a, soon to be known as Terrier BW-0 (Beam-riding, Wing-controlled, series 0). It employed a beam-riding guidance system, and used wings for flight control. It was powered by an Allegany Ballistics solid-fuel booster and an MW Kellogg solid-fuel sustainer motor. Terrier 1b was to be a version with repackaged electronics (designed by APL-Philco), but this was not produced. Another electronics redesign effort (initiated by BuOrd, designed by Motorola) resulted in the SAM-N-7c Terrier 1c version. This variant, later known as Terrier BW-1, had essentially the same characteristics as the BW-0, but was easier to produce and had higher reliability. The BW-0-1 versions were effective only against subsonic targets at altitudes up to 12 km (40000 ft).

The usage of suffix letters for the basic SAM-N-7 designation to distinguish between Terrier variants was short-lived, and was discontinued during the production of the BW-1. The Terrier was henceforth simply known as SAM-N-7 (and even that was rarely used), and the variants were designated by the suffixes BW-0, BW-1 (and others, which see below).

The next version of the Terrier was the BT-3 (Beam-riding, Tail-controlled, series 3; series 2 was reserved for a motor improvement, which was not built). This missile had a new airframe, where the wings were replaced by fixed strakes, and the control surfaces were moved to the tail. The tail-control significantly enhanced the missile's agility. The BT-3 also had an improved autopilot and a new propulsion system (with a new sustainer, and an additional auxiliary solid-fuel power system) for higher speed and range. The first successful test was accomplished in 1954, and the BT-3 was operational in 1956. The improvements made the BT-3 effective against supersonic targets.

An improved version, called Terrier BT-3A, had a longer-burning charge for the auxiliary power system, and an end-burning sustainer, which doubled the missile range to about 37 km (20 nm). The BT-3A was also the first Terrier which could be used effectively in a surface-to-surface (anti-ship) mode. The BT-3A(N) was a nuclear armed BT-3A (the only nuclear Terrier version), which had a 1 kT W-45-0 warhead.

The next development step was to change the beam-riding guidance to semi-active radar homing. The Terrier HT-3 used many components of the RIM-24 Tartar missile, which was itself essentially a short-range Terrier without booster. In 1957, the radar homing system for Terrier was tested with a converted wing-controlled missile, designated XHW-1. The production HT-3 used a C-band radar seeker. The SARH guidance greatly increased the effectiveness of the missile against low-flying targets.

In 1963, all variants of Terrier were redesignated in the RIM-2 series, as follows:

Old Designation New Designation
SAM-N-7 BT-3A--3A(N) RIM-2D

As can be seen from this table, the old SAM-N-7 series designations did not use any suffix letters to designate variants.

The last Terrier variant was the RIM-2F, an improved RIM-2E. It had a new sustainer motor and power supply, which again doubled the missile's range, to about 75 km (40 nm). The RIM-2F was also known as HTR-3 (Homing Terrier, Retrofit). Additional improvements included solid-state electronics, improved ECCM, multiple-target ability, and improved anti-ship capability. Many RIM-2E missiles were brought up to RIM-2F standard.

Prodcution of the RIM-2 Terrier ended in 1966, after approximately 8000 missiles had been built. The RIM-2F was gradually replaced by the RIM-67 Standard ER missile, and the last Terriers were retired at the end of the 1980's. Currently Raytheon is converting old Terrier rounds to TMT (Terrier Missile Target) configuration, which can be used as sea-skimming or ballistic targets. The targets are upgraded with Standard missile components, and are possibly designated RQM-67A.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for RIM-2B-D-F:

Length (incl. booster) 8.25 m (27 ft 1 in) 8.0 m (26 ft 4 in)
Wingspan 1.20 m (47.3 in) 0.61 m (24 in)
Finspan 1.03 m (40.5 in) 1.07 m (42.3 in)
Diameter 0.34 m (13.5 in)
Weight (w-o booster) 480 kg (1060 lb); booster: 584 kg (1290 lb) 535 kg (1180 lb); booster: 825 kg (1820 lb)
Speed Mach 1.8 Mach 3.0
Ceiling 12200 m (40000 ft) 24400 m (80000 ft)
Range 19 km (10 nm) RIM-2D: 37 km (20 nm); RIM-2F: 75 km (40 nm)
Propulsion Solid-fueled rocket booster
Solid-fueled rocket sustainer
Warhead 100 kg (218 lb) controlled-fragmentation warhead; RIM-2D (BT-3A(N)): W-45-0 nuclear warhead (1 kT)
Main Sources

[1] Norman Friedman: "US Naval Weapons", Conway Maritime Press, 1983
[2] Bill Gunston: "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rockets and Missiles", Salamander Books Ltd, 1979
[3] James N. Gibson: "Nuclear Weapons of the United States", Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1996

AKA: RIM-2; Terrier.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 1,392 kg (3,068 lb).
Payload: 110 kg (240 lb).
Height: 8.08 m (26.50 ft).
Diameter: 0.34 m (1.11 ft).
Span: 1.59 m (5.21 ft).
Thrust: 22.50 kN (5,058 lbf).
Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).
First Launch: 1952.11.07.
Last Launch: 2000.06.08.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Terrier Standard US Navy surface-to-air missile developed during the 1950's. Modified single stage Navy Terrier missiles were used as sounding rockets, sometimes supplemented with upper stages. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Emme, Eugene M, Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space 1915-1960, NASA, 1961. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • Barking Sands Military missile test and sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1962 to present. Sandia National Laboratories operates the Kauai Test Facility for the Department of Energy and, through inter-Service Support Agreements provides the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility with rocket launch services for target systems and upper atmosphere measurements. PMRF/KTF is recognized in the INF Treaty as an authorized site from which launches of the STARS missile can be conducted. The site was recently involved in anti-ballistic missile tests. Known to have been used for 2320 launches from 1962 to 2007, reaching up to 1000 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages

Terrier Chronology

1952 November 7 - . 17:34 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • Booster Test 5 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1958 December 5 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • First Terrier sounding flight. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Modified Navy Terrier rocket with camera launched to an altitude of 86 miles from Wallops Island, providing a 1,000-mile composite photograph of a frontal cloud formation..

1965 December 1 - . 01:28 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • DAT-371 Intercept - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi).

1991 March 5 - . 19:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier. LV Configuration: Terrier NASA 12.44WT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

2000 June 8 - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • PACBLITZ 00 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

2000 June 8 - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • PACBLITZ 00 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

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