The successor to the first Nike missile, the Nike "Ajax", the "Hercules" was a much more capable missile in every way. Designated as MIM-14 it came in three different models A/B/C and over 25,000 missiles were made with the most being the MIM-14B model. It was designed to combat bomber or air supported missiles at altitudes up to 100,000 feet and could detect a missile traveling at Mach 3. The Hercules was also designed to carry a nuclear warhead designated "W-31" in three different yields: low (2-Kilotons); medium (20-Kilotons); and high (30-Kilotons). By comparison the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, near the end of World War II had a yield of about 12 Kilotons.
Throughout the Cold War the United States shifted its missile sites to combat the Soviet threats. From the homeland of the United States, Europe, and finally ending up in Southeast Asia the systems were deployed until 1974 when they were inactivated except for sites in Florida and Alaska for several more years. Today U.S. allies in Europe and Asia still use the missile for defense and are likely to remain in service well beyond the year 2000. The basic statistics of the Hercules Missile are as follows:
Length: 27 feet (body), 14 feet (boosters), 40 feet (total)
Weight: 5,250 pounds (body), 5,300 pounds (booster), 10,550 pounds (total)
Speed: 3.5 Mach (2,700 mph)
Payload: 1,000 pounds
Range: 90-100 miles
Cost: $55,000 in 1958