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RIM-2 Terrier
RIM-2 Terrier on board USS Boston (CAG-1), in 1966 (NH 98295).jpg
RIM-2 Terrier on board USS Boston
Type Medium Range Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States Navy, and others.
Production history
Manufacturer Convair - Pomona, California Division
Weight 3,000 lb (1,400 kg)
missile: 1,180 lb (540 kg),
booster: 1,820 lb (830 kg)
Length 27 ft (8.2 m)
Diameter 13.5 in (34 cm)

Warhead 218 lb (99 kg) controlled-fragmentation or 1kT W45 nuclear warhead

Engine solid fuel rocket
Propellant solid rocket fuel
17.3 nmi (32.0 km)
Flight ceiling 80,000 ft (24,000 m)
Speed Mach 3.0
Semi-active radar homing
Surface ship

The Convair RIM-2 Terrier was a two-stage medium-range naval surface-to-air missile (SAM), and was among the earliest surface-to-air missiles to equip United States Navy ships. It underwent significant upgrades while in service, starting with a beam-riding system with 10-nautical-mile (19 km) range at a speed of Mach 1.8, and ending as a semi-active radar homing system with a range of 40 nmi (74 km) at speeds as high as Mach 3. It was replaced in service by the RIM-67 Standard ER (SM-1ER).

Terrier has also been used as a sounding rocket.


The Terrier was a development of the Bumblebee Project, the United States Navy's effort to develop a surface-to-air missile to provide a middle layer of defense against air attack (between carrier fighters and antiaircraft guns). It was test launched from USS Mississippi on January 28, 1953, and first deployed operationally on the Boston-class cruisers, Boston and Canberra in the mid-1950s, with Canberra being the first to achieve operational status June 15, 1956. Its US Navy designation was SAM-N-7 until 1963 when it was re-designated RIM-2.

For a brief time during the mid-1950s the United States Marine Corps (USMC) had two Terrier battalions equipped with specially modified twin sea launchers for land use that fired the SAM-N-7. The Terrier was the first surface-to-air missile operational with the USMC. The launchers were reloaded by a special vehicle that carried two Terrier reloads.[1]

Initially, the Terrier used radar beam-riding guidance, forward aerodynamic controls, and a conventional warhead. It had a top speed of only Mach 1.8, a range of only 10 nmi (19 km), and was only useful against subsonic targets. Originally, the Terrier had a launch thrust of 23 kN (5,200 lbf), and weight of 1,392 kg (3,069 lb). Its original dimensions were a diameter of 340 mm (13 in), a length of 8.08 m (26.5 ft), and a fin span of 1.59 m (5.2 ft). Cost per missile in 1957 was an estimated $60,000.[2]

Before it was even in widespread service it was seeing major improvements. The RIM-2C, named the Terrier BT-3 (Beam-riding, Tail control, series 3) was introduced in 1958. The forward control fins were replaced with fixed strakes, and the tail became the control surface. The BT-3 also had a new motor, and featured extended range, Mach 3 speed, and better maneuverability. The RIM-2D Terrier BT-3A(N) entered service in 1962 with a W30 1kt nuclear warhead,[3] but all other variants used a 218 lb (99 kg) controlled-fragmentation warhead.

The RIM-2E introduced semi-active radar homing, for greater effectiveness against low-flying targets. The final version, the RIM-2F, used a new motor which doubled effective range to 40 nmi (74 km).

The Terrier was the primary missile system of most US Navy cruisers and guided missile frigates built during the 1960s. It could be installed on much smaller ships than the much larger and longer-ranged RIM-8 Talos. A Terrier installation typically consisted of the Mk 10 twin-arm launcher with a 40-round rear-loading magazine, but some ships had extended magazines with 60 or 80 rounds, and the installation in Boston and Canberra used a bottom-loading magazine of 72 rounds.

The French Navy's Masurca missile was developed with some technology provided by the USN from Terrier.

The Terrier was replaced by the extended range RIM-67 Standard missile. The RIM-67 offered the range of the much larger RIM-8 Talos in a missile the size of the Terrier.

Combat service

On April 19, 1972, a Terrier missile fired by USS Sterett shot down a North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-17F in the Battle of Dong Hoi.[4]

Research use

Terrier has also been used, typically as a first stage in a sounding rocket, for conducting high-altitude research. The Terrier can be equipped with various upper stages, like the Asp, the TE-416 Tomahawk (not to be confused with the similarly named BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile), the Orion, or any of a variety of purpose-built second stages such as Oriole or Malemute. The booster also served as the basis for the MIM-3 Nike Ajax booster, which was slightly larger but otherwise similar, which has also seen widespread use in sounding rockets.

Terrier versions

Designation Early designation Guidance Control surfaces Notes
RIM-2A SAM-N-7 BW-0 Beam-riding Wing control Subsonic targets only
RIM-2B SAM-N-7 BW-1 Beam-riding Wing control Subsonic targets only
RIM-2C SAM-N-7 BT-3 Beam-riding Tail control In service 1958, supersonic targets
RIM-2D SAM-N-7 BT-3A Beam-riding Tail control Doubled range
RIM-2D SAM-N-7 BT-3A(N) Beam-riding Tail control W45 nuclear 1kT yield
RIM-2E SAM-N-7 HT-3 Semi-active radar homing Tail control Introduced semi-active homing
RIM-2F Semi-active radar homing Tail control New rocket motor


 Marina Militare
 Royal Netherlands Navy
 United States Navy

and more


See also


  1. Rockets & Missiles by Bill Gunston, p. 201, Crescent Books 1979, ISBN 0-517-26870-1
  2. "Shell Cost Soars" Popular Mechanics, July 1957, p. 115.
  3. Polmar, Norman (1983). "Tactical Nuclear Weapons". United States Naval Institute. p. 125. 
  4. Tempest, Mark. "US Navy vs. Cruise Missiles? - the Battle off Dong Hoi". Retrieved 29 February 2016. 

External links

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