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Test launch of an Alfa
|Type||Intermediate range ballistic missile|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Used by||Italian Navy|
|Weight||8,000 kilograms (18,000 lb)|
|Length||3.85 metres (12.6 ft)|
|Height||6.5 metres (21 ft)|
|Diameter||1.37 metres (54 in)|
|Warhead||Nuclear warhead (never deployed)|
|Engine||first stage, solid fuel rocket
250 kN (56,000 lbf) thrust
second stage, solid fuel rocket
|1,600 kilometres (990 mi) with 1 Mt warhead|
|Flight altitude||apogee 300 km (190 mi)|
|Boost time||first stage, 57 seconds
second stage, unknown
Alfa was the designation of an Italian solid propellant Intermediate-range ballistic missile program that started in 1971 under the control of the GRS (Gruppo di Realizzazione Speciale Interforze). Starting as a development effort for a study on efficient solid-propellant rockets, the Alfa rocket was planned as a two-stage rocket. Test launches with an upper stage mockup took place between 1973 and 1975, from Salto di Quirra.
The Alfa was 6.5 metres (21 ft) long and had a diameter of 1.37 metres (4 ft 6 in). The first stage of the Alfa was 3.85 metres (12.6 ft) long and contained 6 t of solid rocket fuel. It supplied a thrust of 232 kN for a duration of 57 seconds.
It was capable of carrying a warhead of 1 Mt and had a range of 1,600 kilometres (990 mi), which meant that it could reach all eastern countries and the western USSR if launched from frigates or destroyers in the Adriatic Sea. Around 40 missiles were produced before 1976.[dubious ] Italy has been active in the space sector since 1957, conducting launch and control operations from the Luigi Broglio Space Centre. The advanced Scout and Vega launchers currently used by the European Space Agency (ESA) derive their technological basis partially from Alfa studies.
- "Alfa". astronautix.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "Alfa". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
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