Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005 Andreas Parsch

Bendix Loki

In 1946 the U.S. Army began studies for a cheap unguided anti-aircraft rocket as an interim replacement for conventional anti-aircraft artillery, before the more advanced guided missiles were ready for service. In November 1948, Bendix was awarded a contract to develop the Loki anti-aircraft rocket. Bendix designed Loki with a single rocket booster, which propelled a narrow dart-shaped warhead to high speed. After rocket burnout, the booster separated from the dart because of aerodynamic drag difference, and the dart continued to coast toward its target, where it was detonated by a time-delayed impact fuze. The Loki was to be employed as a barrage rocket, i.e. fired in large numbers in very quick succession against incoming aircraft. Bendix originally began to develop a liquid-fueled booster, but because of anticipated difficulties, a parallel development effort for a solid-propellant motor was started at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in March 1951. In February 1952, it was finally decided to discontinue the liquid-fueled booster option.

Drawing/Photo: U.S. Army
LokiLoki (booster)

The first flight of a solid-rocket Loki occurred in June 1951, and during the following four-year test program, several thousand Lokis were fired. The result of these tests was that the Loki was unsuitable as an air-defense weapon. Dispersion of the spin-stabilized rockets was far too large, mainly because the launch of the first rocket in a salvo would distort the aim of the next ones. Furthermore, the far more capable SAM-A-7/MIM-3 Nike Ajax guided anti-aircraft missile had become operational in 1954, making the Loki an obsolete weapon. Therefore, the Loki anti-aircraft rocket was cancelled in September 1955. At that time, Loki had been officially designated as 76mm HEAA (High-Explosive Anti-Aircraft) Rocket T220.

However, this cancellation was not the end for the Loki rockets. The U.S. Navy and Air Force used the Loki as the first of a long line of very successful "boosted dart"-type meteorological sounding rockets. The initial examples were the USAF's XRM-82 and the Navy's Loki-Wasp rockets.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Loki:

Length2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)
DiameterBooster: 76 mm (3 in); dart: 35 mm (1.38 in)
Weight11 kg (24 lb)
Speed6275 km/h (3900 mph)
Ceiling32 km (20 miles)
PropulsionJPL solid-fueled rocket; kN 14.9 kN (3340 lb) for 0.8 s

Main Sources

[1] Redstone Arsenal Historical Information Website
[2] Norman J. Bowman: "The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles", Perastadion Press, 1963
[3] Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 3 March 2005