The MGM-29 Sergeant, also known as the M-15, was a battlefield short-range, road mobile, solid propellant ballistic missile. It is designed under requirements for a system that was mobile, air transportable and could be fired by a six-man crew in only a few minutes. Its nearest equivalent would be the Soviet FROG-7B rocket. The primary contractor in its development was the Sperry Rand Company.
The Sergeant missile was a tactical asset designed to deploy low yield nuclear warheads against Soviet targets. The Sergeant missile was built to allow the use of nuclear warheads against battlefield targets should a Soviet-European war escalate. The yield on the system is sufficient for moderate counter-value usage against civilian population centers; however, the range is too low to enable effective launch against strategic targets. It is far more practical for use against military bases, airfields and concentrated military units. It was likely accurate enough to be deployed against such targets equipped with a HE warhead as well, although it likely needed a nuclear yield warhead to be truly effective. It was mobile and air-transportable, allowing the system to be moved rapidly into position.
The Sergeant had a minimum range of 40 km (25 miles) and a maximum range of 135 km (84 miles). It fired a single separating warhead designed specifically for the missile, the W-52 60 kT yield warhead. It could also be equipped with a 500 kg HE warhead. The system used a purely inertial guidance system which provided an unknown level of accuracy, though it was likely in the area of 100-200 m CEP. It had a length of 10.51 m, a width of 0.79 m, and a launch weight of 4,580 kg. It was a single-stage solid propellant design which achieved a burn-out speed of Mach 3.5.
The MGM-29 Sergeant began development in 1953 with the request of the US Army for a mobile nuclear capable surface-to-surface missile. In 1955, it was shown to be feasible to equip a nuclear warhead on the Sergeant missile, with the actual design of the warhead starting in 1957. The warhead completed development in 1961 and the Sergeant missile entered operational service in 1962. It was phased out of service between 1972 and 1977, in favor of the MGM-52 Lance missile. 1
Updated October 23, 2012
- Lennox, Duncan. “MGM-29 Sergeant (M-15).” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Obsolete systems). October 13, 2011. (accessed October 13, 2012). ↩