Italy's former SLBM project "Alfa"

The "Alfa" project for an indigenous Italian submarine- and ship-launched ballistic missile was begun in 1971. "Alfa" prime contractor was Aeritalia (now Alenia). SNIA-BPD Difesa e Spazio providing the engines, Selenia the ground range tracking, and Sistel the on-board electronics.Three Alfa test missiles with inert second stages were successfully launched in 1975-1976 from Salto di Quirra in Sardinia. The Alfa would have been capable of sending a one metric ton warhead to a range of 1000 km.

The first stage motor was fired eight times in static tests. Three Alfa missiles with a second stage dummy were launched between 1973 and 1974. Three Alfa missiles with inert second stages were launched in September and October 1975 as well April 1976 from Salto di Quirra in Sardinia. All flights were successful.

The Alfa is about 8.85 m long and has a diameter of 1.37 m. The takeoff weight is unknown (around 12 t). The first stage was 3.845 m long and used 6050 kg of solid fuel with a five-pointed star grain (HTPB with 12% aluminum, 15% binder and 73% ammonium perchlorate). The stage had four gimbaled nozzles made of carbon with a graphite throat. The burn time was 57 seconds, indicating a lift-off thrust of 232 kN (245 kN vac). About the upper stage combination with its empty mass of 950 kg nothing is known. However, it can be assumed that the motor is derived from the first stage with approximately 2.6 t of solid fuel. The thrust of a single vac-nozzle of about 62.3 kN would result in a burn time of 98 seconds.


The unknown second stage !