New Book Focuses on Birth of Soviet Union's Air and Missile Defense Systems Written 21 September 2015

CONTACT: John Blacksten


New Book Focuses on Birth of Soviet Union's Air and Missile Defense Systems
Details Technical and Policy Considerations that Drove Development of Systems

September 21, 2015 – Reston, Va. – “Intercept 1961: The Birth of Soviet Missile Defense,” written by Mike Gruntman, an AIAA Associate Fellow, and professor of astronautics at the University of Southern California (USC), highlights the birth and evolution of air and missile defense systems in the former Soviet Union, the defense doctrines that spurred their development and deployment, and the key role that missile policy played in the Cold War era. (Published by AIAA, 2015; 309 pages, hardback, ISBN-978-1-62410-349-0; $39.95 list price)

“Intercept 1961” details the steps that the Soviet Union took during the Cold War to build highly sophisticated air and missile defense systems to protect the nation from attack by U.S. missile forces. In particular the book focuses on an event on March 4, 1961, when a Soviet guided missile destroyed an intermediate range ballistic missile as part of a test of their nascent antiballistic missile defense system. The event was the first time that the Soviet Union achieved success in its antiballistic missile systems development, and by destroying an intermediate range missile the Soviet’s displayed greater missile defense ability than the U.S. forces that had only destroyed short-range missiles up to that point in time. Gruntman explains how the evolution of air and missile defense systems led to the development of systems that monitor space objects in orbit, as well as ballistic missile warning systems and antisatellite weapons. The book also examines the struggle of defense policymakers to balance offensive and defensive missile capabilities.

Gruntman is the founder of the space engineering program at USC. As a child, he grew up on the Tyuratam (Baikonur) missile range in the former Soviet Union (now in Kazakhstan). He is the author of over 280 publications, including the book “Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry” (AIAA, 2004).

To obtain a review copy of “Intercept 1961: The Birth of Soviet Missile Defense” please contact David Arthur at Orders may be placed online:; by mail: AIAA Publications Customer Service, P.O. Box 960, Herndon, VA 20172-0960; by phone: 703.661.1595 or (toll-free, U.S. only) 800.682.2422; or by fax: 703.661.1501.


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