USS Desert Ship (LLS-1)

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USS Desert Ship (LLS-1)
Part of Naval Surface Warfare Center
White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
USS Desert Ship LLS-1.PNG
Type Aboveground facility
Site information
Open to
the public
No
Site history
Built 1957-1958
In use 1958-Present
Built by U.S. Navy
Garrison information
Garrison White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
Occupants Naval Surface Warfare Center

USS Desert Ship (LLS-1) is a concrete blockhouse providing assembly and launch facilities simulating shipboard conditions for Navy surface-to-air weapons testing[1] at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Weapons Division - White Sands.[2]

Origin[edit]

The beginning of construction of the Desert Ship coincided with the start of testing of the RIM-8 Talos missile. Although there was a mock christening upon completion of the building, the Desert Ship has never been commissioned and special permission from Congress was required to name the building "USS Desert Ship".[3] The designation "LLS" stands for "Land Locked Ship".

History[edit]

Talos missile launch at White Sands.

Desert Ship was originally used to test the Talos missile. Subsequent uses have included testing the Standard Missile,[4] Aegis Weapons System,[5] and, in mid-2008, the Standard Missile 6.[6]

The Desert Ship is one of two "Land-Locked Ships" operated by the U.S. Navy, the other being the USS Rancocas in New Jersey.[7]

Chronology[edit]

  • 13 April 1941 - Alamogordo Army Airfield established.[1]
  • December 1941 - Public land grazing leases were canceled on the newly formed Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range.[1]
  • 20 February 1945 - White Sands Proving Ground (WSPG) established as a missile test range.[1]
  • 26 September 1945 - A modified Navy Tiny Tim (rocket) configured as a booster for WAC Corporal became the first missile launched by the Army at WSPG.[1]
  • October 1945 - United States Army Air Corps Chief of Ordnance (OCO) invited the Navy to participate in the WSPG guided missile program.[1]
  • January 1946 - OCO offered Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) use of captured V-2 rockets for research; and NRL established the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel chaired by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Dr. James Van Allen.[1]
  • 17 May 1946 - WSPG Naval Ordnance Missile Test Facility established.[1]
  • July 1946 - Navy Bureau of Ordnance began construction of the WSPG Navy Cantonment Area.[1]
  • May 1947 - Navy began construction of the Launch Complex 35 (LC-35) blockhouse with two tiltable, 140-foot Aerobee launch towers.[1]
  • 24 November 1947 - Navy launched the first fully configured Aerobee sounding rocket, which carried cosmic-ray instruments to an altitude of 36.7 miles.[1]
  • 3 May 1949 - First launch of the Navy's Viking (rocket) reached an altitude of 50 miles.[1]
  • Late 1949 - After a V–2 was launched at sea from the deck of USS Midway, the Navy intentionally toppled and exploded a fully fueled V–2 on a segment of carrier flight deck (Operation Pushover) at WSPG.[1]
  • 21 November 1950 - Viking 5 set a single-stage altitude record of 107 miles.[1]
  • August 1951 - Viking set a single-stage altitude and speed record of 135 miles at 4,100 miles per hour.[1]
  • 1951 - Talos program testing moves to WSPG from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.[1]
  • August 1952 - First Talos missile launch at WSPG.[1]
  • May, 1953 - Base name formally changed from White Sands Proving Ground to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).[8]
  • June 1953 - Construction completed for USS Desert Ship blockhouse.[1]
  • May 1954 - Viking 11 set a single-stage altitude record of 158 miles.[1]
  • April 1957 - Aerobee-Hi set a single stage altitude record of 190 miles.[1]
  • 1957 - Completion of the Desert Ship deckhouse addition enabled missile assembly to be moved from headquarters to Desert Ship.[1]
  • September 1957 - The first land-based Talos Defense Unit (TDU) was completed just west of Desert Ship.[1]
  • December 1957 - The first launch of a TDU-directed Talos scored a direct hit on the target drone.[1]
  • March 1961 - First launch of the Typhon Combat System[1]
  • 1966 - Testing of RIM-2 Terrier and RIM-24 Tartar missiles was shifted to WSMR from China Lake.[8]
  • 1983 - Aegis fleet fire-control system completed development at WSMR and entered fleet service.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "A Brief History of White Sands Proving Ground 1941-1965". New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  2. ^ "White Sands". Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  3. ^ George Helfrich (August 2007). "The Navy Blasted Off At Launch Complex 35" (PDF). Hands Across History. White Sands Historical Foundation, White Sands Pioneer Group. pp. 4–7. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  4. ^ "The First Forty Years" (PDF). The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. 1983. p. 52. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Navy Test Confirms Missile Firing Capability of Aegis Open Architecture". Reuters. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2006-06-26. 
  6. ^ "US Navy Conducts First Test Of Raytheon Standard Missile 6". Farlex, Inc. 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  7. ^ Secret gadgets and strange gizmos Google Books Search Result
  8. ^ a b c "Chronology: Cowboys to V-2s to the Space Shuttle to lasers".