This book looks at the missiles given 'M for Missile' designations by the American military between the introduction of that designation in 1962 and 2011. This brings us up to the RIM-174, a ship-borne missile that entered service in 2011.
The introduction might suggest that this book is aimed at a very limited audience - people who find themselves with collections of American missiles (or pictures of missiles) and need to identify them. This was the task that faced the author in the 1990s when the National Air and Space Museum decided to use the current military system to catalogue their holdings. Good visual guides to the various missiles proved to be hard to find and the author began work on producing this book.
Most missiles get a single page, with one or more photos, some basic specifications (size, function weight, warhead, guidance, producer, users and status), and a paragraph or two of text. In a few cases not enough is known to justify a full page, and in one or two cases a single sentence suffices. A small number of missiles get a double page spread, sometimes because the missile appeared in several variants and sometimes to make space for more photos (as with the M-109 Tomahawk cruise missile).
This book serves two functions. It will, as intended, be very useful for anyone attempting to identify American missiles (a task I can imagine needing to attempt myself when trying to identify photos for the website). It also provides an interesting overview of the development of American missiles over the last half-century and the numerous dead-ends and failed projects that fell along the way.
Numerical List of Missiles
Missile Name List
Missiles held by the National Air and Space Musuem
Index of Designations, Names and Acronyms
Author: Brian D. Nicklas