Jaguar (American rocket)


ARDC Jaguar.jpg
Jaguar in front of B-57 launch aircraft
Has useSounding rocket
Country of originUnited States
Height8.029 m (26 ft 4.1 in)
Diameter0.53 m (21 in)
Mass730 kg (1,600 lb)
Payload to 800 km (500 mi)
Mass16 kg (35 lb)
Launch history
Launch sitesWhite Sands
Total launches2
First flight1960
Last flight1961
First stage – Recruit cluster
Diameter0.53 m (21 in)
Powered by3 x XM19
Maximum thrust156 kN (35,000 lbf) each
Burn time1.5 s
Second stage – Recruit
Diameter23 cm (9 in)
Powered by1 x XM19
Maximum thrust156 kN (35,000 lbf)
Burn time1.5 s
Third stage – Baby Sergeant
Diameter16 cm (6.4 in)
Powered by1 x 5.4KS1975
Maximum thrust8.8 kN (2,000 lbf)
Burn time5.4 s

Jaguar was a three-stage sounding rocket developed by the United States Air Force in the early 1960s. Designed for air launch to allow soundings from remote areas without infrastructure, it was only launched twice before the project was abandoned.

Design and development

Jaguar was an air-launched sounding rocket developed by the Air Research and Development Command of the U.S. Air Force, intended for use for high-altitude scientific research into the aurora borealis and radiation trapped in the Van Allen Belts.[1] Derived from a design used by the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory,[1] it was a three-stage vehicle, with a first stage of three clustered Recruit rockets, a single Recruit as a second stage,[2] and a third stage with a Baby Sergeant rocket.[1] It was to be launched using a Martin B-57 Canberra medium bomber that was modified to carry the rocket on a side-mounted pylon; this allowed for the rocket to be launched from any location capable of operating a jet aircraft, without the need for installing launch infrastructure in remote areas.[3] To launch, the Canberra would pull into a near-vertical climb, akin to that used for toss bombing, and release the rocket;[1] Jaguar was expected to be capable of launching a 16-kilogram (35 lb) payload to an apogee of 800 kilometres (500 mi).[2] An upgraded version using the improved "Yardbird" model of the Recruit was proposed.[4]

Operational history

Following six dummy launch tests starting in January 1958,[1] Jaguar was launched twice; taking place at the White Sands Missile Range under the command of the Air Force Special Weapons Center,[4] the first launch was conducted in late 1960, and the second in early 1961. Following the two launches, the program was abandoned.[1]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f Shortal 1978, p. 484.
  2. ^ a b Parsch 2004
  3. ^ Jacobs and Whitney 1962, p. 86.
  4. ^ a b Ordway and Wakeford 1960, p. ND13.


  • Jacobs, Horace; Eunice Engelke Whitney (1962). Missile and Space Projects Guide 1962. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 978-1-4899-6967-5.
  • Ordway, Frederick Ira; Ronald C. Wakeford (1960). International Missile and Spacecraft Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill. ASIN B000MAEGVC.
  • Parsch, Andreas (13 July 2004). "USAF ARDC Jaguar". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  • Shortal, Joseph Adams (1978). A New Dimension: Wallops Island Flight Test Range – The First Fifteen Years. Washington, D.C.: NASA Science and Technical Information Office. ASIN B004VJHCKC.