Nike Missile NY-15 Launch Area Underground Storage Magazine


During the late 1950s, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers was tasked with construction of the nation’s first anti-aircraft missile defense, the Army’s Nike System. The weapon itself, the Nike Ajax, was the first surface-to-air guided missile placed into service in the United States when it became operational in 1953. The missile was named after Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, and Ajax, a fleet-footed hero of the Trojan War, and was characterized as “a finned cylinder 12 inches in diameter and 20 feet long, fired by a booster rocket that could travel at supersonic speed for a range of approximately 25 miles.” The Launch Area included two underground storage magazines with elevators to lift the missiles onto launching racks, a fueling area, a missile assembly building, a generator building and various ancillary support and service buildings. Precast concrete planks now cover the remaining elevators and a concrete plug was recently installed over the hatchways to prevent access to the underground magazines.

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