Redstone ballistic missile

In 1950, Werner von Braun and his team of 130 engineers began work on improving the design of the A-4 missile. The Rocket Center settled in Fort Bliss at the Redstone Arsenal. In 1951, the U.S. Army command ordered a missile, suitable for use in military units. The missile was supposed to be mobile, carry a nuclear head unit and have a range of 200 miles. After two years of hard work, the missile was submitted for testing.

The first launch of the rocket, called "Redstone", was held on August 20, 1953 from the meaning Canaveral. After a series of launches, the missile was handed over for military testing. For this purpose, was formed a special military unit (40th Field Artillery Missile Group). In May 1958, it was decided to adopt the missile for the U.S. Army.

Missiles "Redstone" were installed on the launch pads in Germany in 1958. Reliability of the rocket is characterized by 35 successful launches of 38, carried out within five and a half years. This number includes three combat launches conducted by the troops. The high reliability of the rocket allowed it to be used as a launch vehicle in the early stages of space exploration. In the summer of 1958, two Redstone rockets dropped nuclear warheads that were detonated 80 km above the Pacific Ocean near Johnston Island.

The missile has now been decommissioned and is not in use.


Запуск Redstone

The rocket "Redstone" consists of :

  • of the main compartment, including the combat unit and control system;
  • an engine compartment consisting of a fuel tank, an oxidizer tank and a liquid rocket engine.

Header bay

The missile's head compartment, separated from the propulsion system, consists of two main parts: the combat unit and the control system.

Battle unit: The Redstone missile can use both conventional and nuclear warheads. The combat unit includes: a ring plug, hull cone stringers, a reverse nose cone, a nose cone ring attachment, manholes for access to the combat unit and the control system, as well as a manhole hinge and hoist hoist mounting location. The combat unit, together with the control system, is attached to the missile unit by means of a multiply pin joint. The separating ring on the compartment border has eight bolts. The head part is separated from the casing in flight after the engine has stopped working by the hydraulic separator. At an input in dense layers of atmosphere its flight is operated by the wedge-shaped, cross-shaped steering wheels placed on a back skirt of the case of a head part.

Control system:

The rocket uses a fully autonomous inertial control system. Once the missile is launched from a platform, it follows a predetermined trajectory to the target regardless of external influences. Target data are fed to the software device, which then provides the necessary information to the various elements of the system. The control system is equipped with air-suspended gyroscopes, which ensure constant orientation in the space of the instrument platform. The executive organs of the control system are gas-jet and aerodynamic rudders.

Redstone на старте

Engine bay

This bay makes up most of the missile. The compartment consists of an oxidizer tank, a fuel tank and a liquid rocket engine tank.

Tank section: It consists of an oxidizer tank and a fuel tank. The tank section is mounted so that the oxidizer tank is located directly above the engine. The tanks are cylindrical in shape. The fuel cell body, made of aluminium, consists of eight cylindrical shells from 610 to 1530 mm long, supported by bends and one stringer located at the longitudinal joint of the shell. Facing and cutting of edges of covers under welding is made with accuracy 0,37мм on the special machine tool. The fuel cell is divided into three sub-assemblies: the first consists of the upper bottom of the alcohol tank and two shells, the middle one consists of an intermediate bottom and four shells and the third one consists of the lower bottom of the liquid oxygen tank and two shells. The casings forming the sub-assemblies are welded to each other on an argon-arc welding machine operating at an average speed of 645 mm/min. Aluminum 4043 wire is used for welding. All welds are fluoroscoped. It takes 10-12 minutes to weld a shell ring seam, which is 5588 mm long, to prepare and check the weld takes about three hours. UV-irradiation is used to test the tightness of the fuel cell. To do this, a flourescent liquid is added to the water filling the tank of fuel or oxidation and the leak is detected by irradiation of the seams with an ultraviolet light. The final dimensions of the compartments are checked in an optical inspection chamber, where the straightness of the shells and the position of the mounting holes are checked. The tanks are then flushed with trichloroethylene and painted with white enamel on the outside. The compartments are bolted together and after all holes have been paper-stitched, the missile body goes to the factory where the equipment is installed.

Устройство двигателя


The Redstone missile uses a single-chamber liquid-propellant rocket engine, the Rockitdine A-7. This engine was developed by Rockitdyne of North American and has been in production since 1952. This engine runs on two-component fuel and develops a thrust of 34 tons. It consists of a combustion chamber, jet nozzle, turbo pump unit and gas generator. Ethyl alcohol is used as a fuel, and liquid oxygen is used as an oxidizer.

The combustion chamber is fixed and has a flame retarder for initial fuel ignition. At the end of the chamber there is a nozzle head. The temperature in the combustion chamber is 2670 degrees Celsius. The main amount of heat coming to the wall from hot gases is removed with fuel. The chamber for this purpose is carried out by a double wall, and the cooling component arrives in a nozzle collector from where the counter current is directed to nozzles, taking off necessary quantity of heat from an internal wall of the chamber.

Jet nozzle - is cooled with fuel. The diameter of the nozzle outlet cut is 840 mm. Around the nozzle there are four actuators for turning the graphite rudders, which are used to deflect the gas jet.

Turbo-pump unit - consists of an active turbine with a capacity of 780 hp, working on products of hydrogen peroxide decomposition, and two centrifugal pumps. The turbine and pumps are installed on a common shaft and mounted in a single housing: two flanged inlets for fuel components, two for high-pressure output of the same components, a hot gas inlet to the turbine blades and one flange to connect the exhaust gas pipeline. To supply the turbine there is a reserve of hydrogen peroxide, at decomposition of which sufficient heat is generated. The turbine informs the pumps of the required speed.

Gas generator - is lightweight and runs on concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide - the connection is unstable and easily decomposes in the presence of some substances (not reacting) on water vapor and oxygen gas. This mixture is called a vapour gas. Hydrogen peroxide and a pressure catalyst are fed into the gas generator, where a decomposition reaction takes place. The resulting combined cycle gas enters the turbine blades and spins them out. By giving them part of the energy, it is released to the outside. The exhaust is produced through a special nozzle and the exhaust fumes create a small additional draught.

Maintenance and prelaunch preparation of the rocket: A 350atm compressor is used to obtain the compressed air needed to prepare the rocket for launch. The compressor is mounted on a truck and is driven by a light, air-cooled engine. The compressor is designed to charge the air battery, from which clean and dry air flows through the gearboxes and valve box of the launch table into the balloons of the rocket. This air is used for pre-launch inspection of the rocket, for its pneumatic system and for inflation of tanks. A diesel generator providing 60 Hz alternating current is used as a ground source of power during the prelaunch and launch. The resulting electricity is used to power the air valve control system and to charge the on-board batteries. For the Redstone rocket system, units are used to produce liquid oxygen in the field. In 1954, the development of a plant with a daily capacity of 20-25 tons of liquid oxygen was started. This unit can operate at temperatures ranging from -32 to 52 degrees. The design capacity of the unit is 20 tons of pure (99.5%) liquid oxygen per day at normal atmospheric pressure. The resulting pure liquid oxygen is pumped out and discharged into reserve tanks or tank trucks with a capacity of 9 tons. The rocket is refueled directly from the tanker. For oxygen storage there is a 35 tonne vacuum insulated container.

Ракета Redstone

The missile is transported on nine carts. The largest lift trolley. It first installs the starting table. The fire calculation, using jacks, aligns the table horizontally with the necessary accuracy. At the same time, two separately transported sections are unloaded and docked and the control system software is set up. A square frame is attached to the bottom edge of the cross-shaped stabilizers of the projectile. After the missile is placed in the vertical position, electrical and pneumatic connections between the launch table and the projectile are closed. The missile is filled with alcohol, liquid oxygen and concentrated hydrogen peroxide. After refueling, the launch table is leveled. The upper ring of the launch table is rotated along the azimuth so that the stabilized platform of the control system is precisely oriented towards the target. The oxygen line is switched off 5 minutes before starting.

Missile launch: The missile is launched by the fire platoon commander, who closes the starting chain. The air from the balloons begins to flow into the missile's systems. The initial powder charge is ignited. The air goes into the oxidizer and fuel tanks, creating a boost pressure. The air displaces hydrogen peroxide from the tank in which it is stored. The peroxide enters the gas generator, where it decomposes. The gas vapour spins the turbine and the fuel is injected into the combustion chamber.


Length, m 19.3
Hull diameter, m 1.83
Length of the head compartment, m 8.84
Diameter of the head compartment, m. 1.77
Stair length, m 10.4
Engine length,m 1.78
Diameter of the engine, m 1.83
Starter weight,kg 24000
Mass of fuel, kg 18000
Mass of the engine, kg 660
Weight of combat unit, kg 1360
Weight of control devices, kg 80
Maximum range with light combat unit, km 800
Maximum range with heavy combat unit, km 320
Flight Speed,m/sec 2020
Engine running time,s 140
Fuel consumption,kg/c 136
Specific pulse, m/s 2360


ПЗРК Redeye

Man-portable air defence systems "Redeye" were actively used by Afghan mujahideen against Soviet aviation during the Afghan war. In the course of combat operations it was revealed that the capture of TGSN missiles of helicopters without EVUs is possible at a distance not exceeding 1.5 km, and with the device - only 1 km. The firing of thermal traps almost always took these missiles off course, and the installation on the helicopters stations of pulse IR interference LVV166 "Lipa" reduced the probability of hitting the FIM-43 SAM system to almost zero. It also turned out that both types of missile fuses were not reliable. Cases have been recorded in which the Redeye flew several centimetres away from the helicopter body without breaking, and in a direct hit it crashed on the armour or got stuck in the dural.

In just 1982-86, the Mujahideen using the Redeye man-portable air defence system shot down two Mi-24Ds and one Su-25. In one case, the missile hit the NAR UB 32-24 unit and detonated the rocket. The crew was killed. The second SAM hit the stern, causing a fire. Two more rockets struck the flames, hitting the helicopter at the root of the wing and the gearbox. The car lost control and crashed. And in this case, no one from the crew survived.

In some cases, the enemy managed to damage several Mi-24. Thus, June 23, 1984 Mi-24V k-on V.Smirnov was fired by twelve ZUR "Redeye". One rocket crashed and did not explode, another broke a hole in the EVU, the third exploded on the engine armored plate, without causing serious damage, the fuse of the fourth went off at the stern of the helicopter, causing a fuel leak and fire. Then dushmans fired seven more of these rockets, but the pilot shot off the thermo-trap, and all the ZUR went into the "milk"! The damaged Mi-24 reached his airfield and was soon returned to service. In March 1985, a single rocket hit the Mi-24, but the crew managed to cope with the situation and made a mild forced landing. In another case, two Redeyes hit the armored hood of the gearbox, bending and plunging it. Repair was limited to installing a new hood. In the end, the "warriors of Allah" themselves refused to use the FIM-43. Perhaps the only advantage of the missile was a sufficiently strong striking BC, provided by a powerful blast effect, supplemented by heavy fragments.

The effectiveness of man-portable air defense systems "Redeye" on the Mi-8 helicopters was higher, although experience of combat operations showed that even in this case the probability of hitting was 30% lower than that of "Arrow-2".


  1. Журнал "Ракетная техника", 1958г
  2. В. И. Феодосьев "Основы техники ракетного полета", 1979г

Other languages:


Control sys.:
800 km.