Thor Missile at RAF Cosford (Image: Peter Evans) When brought to readiness, they could be fired within 15 minutes and would climb at supersonic … A FORMER RAF officer has described how an accident with a nuclear missile could have devastated much of Lincoln-shire and contaminated hundreds of square miles with radioactive materials.

Thor, named after the Norse god of thunder, provided nuclear deterrence before intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) were ready. It was designed to deliver a payload 1,500 miles (2400 kilometers), a range that allowed a U.K.-based missile to hit Moscow. Douglas Aircraft was the prime aircraft contractor. On 17 August 1962, at an undisclosed RAF base somewhere in England, two retrorockets on a Thor missile suddenly fired while it was undergoing a routine check. At about 6:30 p.m., an airman conducting maintenance on a USAF Titan-II missile at Little … It was 65 feet long, 8 feet in diameter and weighed 105,000 pounds. Thor Missile Thor was the free world's first operational intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). After several failures, Thor made its first successful flight on Sept. 20, 1957.

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