United States Matador/Mace

Possessed By:United States
Alternate Name:TM-61, TM-76, TM-61B, TM-61C, TM-61A, TM-76A, TM-76B, MGM-13C
Class:Subsonic
Basing:Ground-Launched
Length:12.1 m (Matador), 14.26 m (Mace)
Diameter:1.2 m
Launch Weight:5,240 kg (Matador), 8,500 kg (Mace)
Payload:Single warhead, 1,360 kg
Warhead:1 MT nuclear
Propulsion:Turbojet
Range:1,000 km (Matador), 2,000 km (Mace)
Status:Terminated
In Service:1954-1969

The Matador (TM-61A) is an intermediate-range, ground-launched, nuclear cruise missile developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The missile entered into service in 1954 after about 46 prototypes were tested. The Matador had guidance problems due to its flight range exceeding the guidance radar range. As a result, a ground operator had to track and guide the missile toward its destination. After a series of guidance improvements, the missile had changed radically beyond its original capabilities. The upgraded missile was named the Mace (TM-76A).

Matador shown on trailer, South Korea.

Both missiles look like fighter aircraft of the era, similar to the F-86 Sabre. The design was also likely influenced by German V-1 missiles captured during World War II. Both missiles have swept-back wings with a cylindrical fuselage and a high “T” tail plane.

The Matador has a length of 12.1 m, a diameter of 1.2 m, and a launch weight of 5,240 kg. The Mace is slightly longer at 14.26 m, and heavier at 8,500 kg. Both weapons carry the large W-28 1.0 MT nuclear warhead. The Matador was originally guided by a ground operator, but was later upgraded with a system called Shanicle which used a hyperbolic grid to enhance the guidance. Later, a radar map-matching system was added, and it was this variant of the Matador that was renamed the Mace. The Matador had a range of 1,000 km, and the Mace had a maximum range of 2,000 km.

Mace (TM-76) of the 71st Tactical Missile Squadron – Bitburg AB, West Germany

The Matador was deployed in West Germany in 1955 and later in South Korea in 1959. The Mace was deployed in 1959. By 1962, the Matador was removed from service. There were just under 200 Mace missiles deployed in Europe until they were replaced by the Pershing missiles in 1969. 1

  1. Lennox, Duncan. “MGM-13 Matador/Mace (TM-61/TM-76)” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems. October 13, 2011. (accessed March 1, 2013).
Back to Top