TypeReconnaissance missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States Army
Production history
DesignerLockheed Missiles and Space Company

PropellantSolid fuel

Ping-Pong was a battlefield reconnaissance rocket developed by Lockheed-California – later the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company – for use by the United States Army. Intended to give battlefield commanders the ability to gain photographic data on enemy locations, it reached the flight-test stage before being cancelled.

Development history

In 1964, the United States Army called for proposals for a rocket that could be launched by Army units towards the suspected location of enemy units, with a camera carried on board the rocket taking pictures of the target area, before a second retrorocket motor, located in the nose of the rocket, fired to return it to its point of launch for analysis of its reconnaissance pictures.[1] Proposals were received from Lockheed-California, Goodyear Aerospace, the Chrysler Corporation Missile Division, and Beech Aircraft; the Lockheed proposal, named "Ping-Pong", was funded for development.[2]

Ping-Pong was conventional in appearance, launched from a tube 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter.[3] A cruciform fin arrangement provided stabilization; the fins were mounted on a sliding assembly, allowing them to shift to the opposite end of the rocket's body when the retrorocket was fired to reverse the rocket's direction for the return flight.[1]

Flight testing of Ping-Pong took place at Rosamond Dry Lake in California during the second half of 1964.[1] The tests were considered to be successful,[4] with the rocket being reported as "the free world's only round-trip ballistic missile";[5] however, follow-up studies did not result in further development.[3]



  1. ^ a b c Missiles and Rockets, Volume 15 (1964), p. 240.
  2. ^ Aviation Week & Space Technology, Volume 80 (1964), p. 23.
  3. ^ a b Parsch 2003
  4. ^ Army Research and Development, 1965, p. 32.
  5. ^ Machine Design, Volume 36 (1964), p. 12.


  • Parsch, Andreas (23 October 2003). "Lockheed Ping-Pong". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles – Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-12-16.