The Honest John was a long-range artillery rocket capable of carrying an atomic or high explosive warhead. It was a free-flight rocket as opposed to a guided missile.
The rocket was 27 feet long, 30 inches in diameter, weighed 5,800 pounds, used a solid propellant and had a range of 12 miles. It was first fired at White Sands in 1951. In the Spring of 1954 the Honest John was deployed as an interim system.
The Basic (M31) HONEST JOHN system was first deployed in 1954. It was replaced by the Improved (M50) HONEST JOHN in 1961 which reduced the system's weight, shortened its length, and increased its range.
Between 1960 and 1965, a total of 7,089 improved HONEST JOHN rockets, less warheads, were produced and delivered.
In July 1982, all HONEST JOHN rocket motors, launchers, and related ground equipment items were type classified obsolete.