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Missile Strike on Powers' U-2

Flying at about 68,000 feet, over Soviet territory, Francis Gary Powers thought he was invulnerable to any Soviet surface-to-air missile. To his surprise, he was wrong.

What type of missile fatally harmed the U-2 which Francis Gary Powers was flying on May 1, 1960?

It was an S-75 Dvina - a new type of Soviet surface-to-air (SAM) missile depicted in this photograph. NATO referred to the same missile as an SA-2 Guideline.

What are the specifics about the Dvina?

  • It is a two-stage ground-controlled anti-aircraft missile. It measures 10.6 meters (34 feet 9.3 inches) long. Its diameter is 0.7 meter (2 feet, 3.6 inches).
  • With a maximum speed of Mach 4, it is liquid-fueled and has a range of 15 miles (24 kilometers).
  • With a loaded weight of 2,300 kilograms (5,071 pounds), it has a 200 kilogram (441 pound) warhead.

The fact that it existed on May 1, 1960 shocked both Francis Gary Powers and the U.S. government.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 28, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016


Media Credits

Image, by an unnamed photographer, of an S-75 Dvina surface-to-air (SAM) missile - the type of missile which fatally injured Francis Gary Powers' U-2 which he was flying for the CIA on May 1, 1960 over Soviet territory - online via the Archives of the Central Intelligence Agency.

 

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