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US Guided Missiles

US Guided Missiles - The Definitive Reference Guide Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review January 2013 Title US Guided Missiles - The Definitive Reference Guide
Author Bill Yenne Publisher Crecy
Published 2012 ISBN 9780859791625
Format 424 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $34.95


Billed as the "Definitive Reference Guide", US Guided Missiles by Bill Yenne recaps over 175 domestically designed and foreign-sourced missiles in US service.

Arranged chronologically, Crecy's comprehensive cast includes stalwarts like Sidewinder, Sparrow, and Atlas.  Classics like Snark, Regulus, Nike, Bomarc and Hawk take bows.  Unknowns like Cardinal, Seekbat and Tern fail casting calls.  And hopefuls like Coyote, Skeeter and Broadsword make debuts.

And truth-in-advertising certainly applies.  Yenn rather expansively defines "missiles".  ICBMs, AAMs, UCAVs, etc.  Jets, rockets and props. If it flew sans pilot – and it bore American markings – it's probably here.  Did you know that in October 1959, a Martin Bold Orion missile, air-launched from B-47, "destroyed the American Explorer 6 spacecraft, becoming the first American weapon known to have downed a satellite"?  Fascinating!

Sections sport historical overviews of various lengths – as well as data-block summaries listing:

  • manufacturer
  • height
  • diameter
  • weight
  • range
  • speed
  • guidance system
  • propulsion system
  • warhead
  • first test and
  • first deployment

Crackerjack prize, for me, was the book's addenda and appendices.  And inclusion of anti-missile designs – notably Martin Marietta's SPRINT interceptor – proved especially interesting.

Gremlins sometimes skulk this sumptuous study.  Despite noting Redstone and Atlas missiles in early US manned space flights, author Yenne fails to reference the Gemini program's Titan II boosters.  No kilometers appear for "range" in the MGM-31 Pershing data-box.  And I missed mention of Lockheed's Mach 3+ D-21 reconnaissance drone.

But I quibble. Hundreds of photos spice Yenne's systematically scrutinized subject.  And sidebars, charts, and biographies further flavor text.

I loved US Guided Missiles.  Crecy's convenient compendium deserves a special spot in every aviation enthusiast's library.

Robustly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!