RIM-24 Tartar

The General Dynamics RIM-24 Tartar was a medium-range naval surface-to-air missile (SAM), and was among the earliest surface-to-air missiles to equip United States Navy ships. The Tartar was the third of the so-called "3 T's", the three primary SAMs the Navy fielded in the 1960s and 1970s, the others being the RIM-2 Terrier and RIM-8 Talos.

RIM-24 Tartar
RIM-24 on USS Berkeley in 1970
TypeMedium range surface-to-air missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1962
Used byUnited States Navy, and Others
Production history
ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics (Convair)
Mass1,310 lb (590 kg)
Length180 in (460 cm)
Diameter13.5 in (34 cm)
Warhead130 lb (59 kg) continuous-rod

EngineDual thrust, Solid-fuel rocket
PropellantSolid Rocket Fuel
8.7 nmi (16.1 km; 10.0 mi) (RIM-24A)
16 nmi (30 km; 18 mi) (RIM-24B)
17.5 nmi (32.4 km; 20.1 mi) (RIM-24C)
Flight ceiling50,000 ft (15 km) (RIM-24A)
65,000 ft (20 km) (RIM-24B)
SpeedMach 1.8
Surface ship


The Tartar was born of a need for a more lightweight system for smaller ships, and something that could engage targets at very close range. Essentially, the Tartar was simply a RIM-2C Terrier without the secondary booster. The Tartar was never given a SAM-N-x designation, and was simply referred to as Missile Mk 15 until the unified Army-Navy designation system was introduced in 1963.

The Tartar was used on a number of ships, of a variety of sizes. Initially the Mk 11 twin-arm launcher was used, later ships used the Mk 13 and Mk 22 single-arm launchers. Early versions proved to be unreliable. The Improved Tartar retrofit program upgraded the earlier missiles to the much improved RIM-24C standard. Further development was canceled and a new missile, the RIM-66 Standard, was designed to replace it. Even after the upgrade to a new missile, ships were still said to be Tartar ships because they carried the Tartar Guided Missile Fire Control System.

A dedicated anti-ship version for the Federal German Navy carrying a Bullpup warhead was abandoned when Germany purchased MM38 Exocet instead.


  • RIM-24A: Original missile
  • RIM-24B: Improved Tartar
  • RIM-24C: Improved Tartar Retrofit (ITR) aka. Tartar Reliability Improvement Program (TRIP)

Ships carrying Tartar fire control systems


Past Operators

 United States
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