Nation: The Missileer's Thesaurus

The nuclear race has spawned an arcane jargon of its own, one that proliferates as fast as the gadgetry that it describes. A thesaurus of key terms:

U.S. Defensive Systems

SPARTAN: the big-punch, long-range missile in the overall anti-missile defense system called Sentinel. Spartan would be installed at most of the ABM sites as the first line of defense, its mission being to intercept attacking RVs (reentry vehicles, or warheads) while they are still above the atmosphere, hundreds of miles from their targets. Spartan performs a regional, or "area-defense," role.

SPRINT: the short-range partner...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!