At the end of 2003, the Italian Navy retired the training cruiser Vittorio Veneto, ending the half-century career of the Terrier/Standard ER series of missiles. The history of these weapons carries some interesting lessons that remain relevant to current and future systems.
First, the origin of the missile was anything but straightforward. In 1950, the U.S. Navy was pursuing a long-range anti-aircraft missile, the ramjet Talos. By then it was clear that developers had to solve two quite different problems. They had to produce a workable ramjet and an airframe to match. They also had to learn how to control a supersonic missile. The control problem was quite difficult, and it had to be solved in parallel with the engine problem. Yet, without a ramjet, how could experimenters simulate the conditions the real missile would encounter? The solution was to use an existing type of motor, a solid-fuel rocket, to produce a control test vehicle. The test vehicle did not offer anything like ramjet range, but it did offer the necessary speed.