Northrop Aircraft Snark GLCM
Northrop Aircraft Snark GLCM Zoom

This is the Northrop Aircraft (now Northrop Grumman) Snark Ground-Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM). Development on the Snark started in 1946, with the construction and testing of a missile designated N-25. New range and payload requirements in 1951 caused Northrop to revisit the N-25 design. The new vehicle was christened the N-69. N-25s and N-69s were launched from Cape Canaveral starting in 1952, with testing on the production model (the SM-62) starting in 1956.

The Snark did not necessarily have to impact a target to terminate the flight: it came equipped with landing skids, allowing the same vehicle to be launched several times. At Cape Canaveral, many Snarks were landed on the Skid Strip after testing. Of course, many Snarks did not skid to a landing or impact their target: the Snark program encountered its share of problems, and amassed what many consider to be a less-than-enviable flight record. The number of Snarks crashing in the ocean led to warnings about "Snark infested waters". In a memorable incident in 1956, a Snark flew too far and refused its destruct command, and disappeared over Brazil (a Miami newspaper reported "They shot a Snark into the air, it fell to the earth they know not where."). The missing missile was found by a Brazilian farmer in 1983.

The Snark was deployed in 1959, with the activation of the Air Force's first missile wing: the 702nd Strategic Missile Wing based in Presque Isle, Maine. The first Snark went on alert at Presque Isle in March on 1960, and the 702nd was fully operational by February of 1961. One month later, President Kennedy declared the Snark to be "obsolete and of marginal military value." They were phased out immediately, and the 702nd was inactivated in June of that year.

Snark specifications and performance
Length 69 ft. Wingspan 42 ft.
Thrust Sustainer: 11,500 lbs.
Booster: 2 x 130,000 lbs.
Speed Mach .94
Ceiling 60,000+ ft. Range 6,300 miles
Warhead Nuclear (W-39 thermonuclear, 4 MT yield)

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