U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project

This project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages are only occassionally updated and should be considered historical.

Spartan and Sprint Antiballistic Missiles



Technicians with McDonnell-Douglas examine a mock-up of a Spartan antiballistic missile





A Sprint missile being lowered into its underground silo prior to a test launch, March 1, 1967





A Sprint missile test launch at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, October 10, 1967


Thirty Spartan and approximately 60 nuclear-armed Sprint missiles were deployed as part of the

Safeguard ABM system

in North Dakota in 1975. Employing a low-kiloton yield warhead, the Sprint was designed to intercept incoming Soviet warheads inside the atmosphere as a last-ditch defense against weapons which were not destroyed by the longer range Spartan missile (armed with a 5 megaton warhead). The Spartan was 55 feet (16.8 meters), weighed 28,700 pounds (13,045 kilograms), and had a range of approximately 465 miles (748 kilometers). The Sprint was 27 feet (8.2 meters) long, weighed 7,500 pounds (3,409 kilograms), and had a range of 25 miles (40 kilometers). Both missiles utilized solid propellants.



Credit: U.S. Army