Atlas II Missile
    The Atlas ballistic missile began with the US Army Air Corps request for proposal in October 1945, which led to development in the 1950ís of the Atlas, Navaho, Snark, and Matador/Mace missiles. By January 10, 1946, Consolidated-Vulteeís engineers submitted their proposals for two 6,000-nautical mile missiles: one subsonic, winged, and jet powered; the other supersonic, ballistic, and rocket powered.   On April 19, Convair received a contract for $1,893,000 to include fabrication and testing of 10 MX-774 Hiroc missiles to verify Bossartís innovative concepts. Captive testing of the MX-774 research rockets began in San Diego in 1947. In June, Consolidated Vultee was notified that it had lost the cruise missile competition; Northrop and Martin received contracts for development of the subsonic jet-powered designs. Defense cutbacks forced the Air Force to terminate the contract in July 1947, only three months before the first scheduled flight.
     The outbreak of the Korean war and the beginning of the cold war loosened the federal purse strings. Convair received a new contract (MX-1593) in September 1951 to begin design of a ballistic missile incorporating the design features validated by the MX-774. In 1953 the now-Convair Division of General Dynamics presented a plan to the Air Force for an accelerated program.

A full go-ahead for the Atlas design was ordered in January 1955 as Weapon System WS107A-l. At Convair the project was known the Model 7.  In September 1955, faced with intelligence reports of Russian progress on their ICBM, the Atlas received the highest national development priority. The project became one of the largest and most complex production, testing, and construction programs ever undertaken. The first propulsion system and component tests were conducted in June 1956; the first captive and flight-test missiles were completed later the same year.
     The first Atlas A flight took place on June 11, 1957. The first operational missile was the the Atlas D.  Many were assigned to the Strategic Air Command to provide nuclear deterrence; other were used to launch Mercury manned spacecraft into orbit.  By 1964, SAC had replaced the Atlas with the Minuteman missile.  The Atlas were then used to launch satellites.  By use of Agena and Centaur upper stages, the Atlas became the medium-lift workhorse of American manned, planetary, and geosynchronous-orbit space programs.
     In one of the great ironies of modern times, in the late 1990's, the United states purchased from Russia new engines for the Atlas.  Two of them are used in place of the booster stage.  This newly-designed missile was designated the Atlas II.
Atlas II Missile
Standard Series.  1/144th scale.  2' diameter x 12" long.
  No. USM3D-ST.  Only $129.95
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