Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Wizard
 
Copyright © 2003 Andreas Parsch

University of Michigan Wizard

On 4 March 1946, the U.S. Army Air Force formally established its first anti-ballistic missile (ABM) projects. Study contracts were let to General Electric for the MX-795 Thumper and to the University of Michigan for the MX-794 Wizard. Thumper was to be a short-range "hit-to-kill" missile, while Wizard was to be a longer-range nuclear-armed missile to intercept ballistic missiles at range of about 1600 km (1000 miles).

In hindsight, both projects were way beyond then state-of-the-art technology, and the Thumper studies apparently didn't result in any actual hardware effort. Wizard was longer-lived, and was reportedly cancelled and reinstated by the USAF several times in the 1950s. It was eventually identified as System 222A. The development seems to have centered on system components, like tracking and guidance radars and electronics. Companies involved included Convair/RCA, Lockheed and Raytheon. Details on the planned missile are not available, but a USAF conceptual drawing shows a two-stage rocket-propelled vehicle.

Image: USAF
Wizard (concept drawing)


In the mid-1950s, the U.S. Army initiated its own anti-missile project (Nike Zeus), but it was decided that funding two separate ABM efforts was unnecessary. After some discussion, the Air Force's Wizard was terminated in 1958 in favour of the Army's Nike Zeus. However, radar technology developed for Wizard would be integrated into the Nike Zeus program. The latter eventually evolved into the operational LIM-49 Spartan missile.

Specifications

No specifications for the planned Wizard missile are available.

Main Sources

[1] Bill Gunston: "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rockets and Missiles", Salamander Books Ltd, 1979
[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


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Last Updated: 3 July 2003