USS Little Rock CLG 4 / CG 4

Page last updated: 12 February 2018

Major System Components

Talos SAM-N-8 and RIM-8 Missiles
Talos Guided Missile Launching System GMLS Mk7
Guidance Radars AN/SPW-2 and AN/SPG-49

The Talos Missile

Quick Drop-Down Links....
Talos History
Talos Specifications
Talos Dimensions
Operational Data
Talos Dimension Drawing
Other Navy "SAM" Missiles
Structural Test Firing
Dr. Wilbur H. Goss
Talos Videos
Talos "Sightings" Today Talos Missile
You Tube Links
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Talos Photos
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A Brief History....


Below are some events and projects associated with "APL"
which led up to the deployment of the TALOS missile....



APL begins operations to address the critical challenge of defending Navy ships from enemy air attacks.
APL develops proximity fuze.


APL's "Bumblebee"program demonstrates first successful ramjet flight and first acceleration of a ramjet to supersonic speed in free flight. (See Note below.)
APL begins a high-altitude research program using captured German V2 rockets.
APL demonstrates roll stabilization at supersonic speeds with STV-2 launch at a Navy test site.


To answer the Navy's urgent need for a tactical missile while ramjet research continued, APL's STV-3 is rapidly converted to a Terrier missile.


APL uses wind tunnel testing and early computers for simulated missile flight trajectories. APL achieves a success rate of 99.4% for flight tests. Terrier missile is put into production.


First successful flight of a ramjet guided missile and first target kill lead to prototype design of the Talos missile.
First successful Talos flight test with a simulated nuclear warhead.
APL develops a homing guidance system for Terrier. First successful test of a tail-controlled missile



Development of Tartar, a semi-active homing missile for small ships begins at APL.
Talos missile begins production (at Bendix).
APL leads a consortium of academic and industrial organizations developing and producing 3T missiles; lays foundation for Standard Missile program.
Terrier is operational aboard the USS Boston, the world's first guided missile ship.
The Navy assigns APL a major role in Polaris missile system evaluation.
Talos becomes operational aboard the USS Galveston; remains in fleet until 1980.
Tartar missile is operational aboard the USS Charles Adams.
Redesigned Terrier and Tartar become Standard Missiles used in the Aegis weapon system.


The Talos was the primary effort behind the Bumblebee project, but was not the first missile the program developed; the RIM-2 Terrier was the first to enter service. The Talos was originally designated SAM-N-6, and was redesignated RIM-8 in 1963. The airframe structure was manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis; final assembly was by Bendix Missile Systems in Mishawaka, Indiana



The Talos guided missile, made under a $27,000,000 contract for the Navy by the missile section of the Bendix Aviation Corporation at Mishawaka, Indiana, rang up the curtain on what was a revolutionary era of naval strategy and tactics.

The deadly Talos, named after a Greek demigod who guarded Crete, formed the major armament of the cruiser U.S.S. GALVESTON (commissioned May 28, 1958 at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard) the first of a fleet of Talos missile cruisers, which will included the first nuclear-powered cruiser Long Beach.

Talos, a supersonic surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile was designed to provide the Navy with a system of long-range, high firepower defense against air attack - and many "firsts" resulted from its program of development. Its development began with the "Bumblebee" program under the direction of the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.

The program resulted in an advanced version of the first ram-jet engine; new records in the size and performance of solid-fuel booster rockets; first flights of fully controlled missiles powered by ram-jet engines; first missile to employ a dual-guidance system - with precise accuracy at short and long ranges; and pioneering steps in the introduction of warheads with atomic capabilities.

The 40,000 horsepower rampet engine of Talos permited it to maintain a level flight altitude ceiling higher than that reached by any bomber.


The Talos missile, successfully tested more than a hundred times, was approximately 20 feet long and 30 inches in diameter, and weighed 3000 pounds. The missile was accelerated to a speed faster than a bullet by a solid-fuel rocket booster about 10 feet long. The booster was jettisoned when the Talos reached its cruising speed. At that time the main ramjet engine took over for the duration of the flight.

The Talos ram-jet developed thrust the way a turbojet does. However, unlike a turbojet, it did not require a complex and expensive turbine/compressor for injecting large quantities of air required for the combustion of the Talos fuel - kerosene. The ramjet used the motion of the missile to compress air that entered at the front. Actually, compared to the "diet" of a rocket motor, the 40,000 "horses" in the Talos were "light eaters" - but with the same "kick." Talos needed only one-sixth to one-eighth of the fuel load that a rocket would need to develop the same thrust - or power - for the same length of time.

Also the ramjet engine of the Talos had thrust and speed control through regulation of the rate of fuel injection - similar to the way a carburetor controls the flow of gasoline in your car.

This versatility and reliability of the Talos engine was one of the "breakthrough" achievements in guided-missile technology.


The versatile Talos also was long on "brains" - the missile being guided to its target by an electro-mechanical brain. A proximity fuze detonated the warhead when Talos was within the "kill" range of the target.

Two "brain systems" gave the Talos its capability of high firepower and high accuracy at long range. The first one guided the missile from the launcher to the target area. It is a beam-type of guidance received directly from the launching point, where information on the presence of a hostile target or targets is available from such units as search and tracking radars.

The second or "homing" brain sensed the target, and control of the missile was automatically transferred from the beam brain to the homing brain. These nervous systems contained the latest application to missile design utilizing etched-circuit wiring and modular packaging.

Production of components of the system was based on a semi-automation technique, reducing construction costs. Ease of testing and servicing also was designed into the production process and the missile itself.

Some specifics...

The Navy's SAM-N-6b Talos missile (later designated RIM-8) was a long-range surface-to-air missile, and was one of the earliest surface-to-air missiles to equip U.S. Navy ships. Talos employed radar beam riding technology for guidance to the vicinity of its target, and then semi-active radar homing for the terminal guidance phase.

Talos was a development of the Navy's "Bumblebee Project" begun in 1944 under the auspices of the Applied Physics Lab (APL) of the John Hopkins University. The project's intent was to produce a ram-jet powered anti-aircraft guided missile. The Bumblebee Project also produced the Navy's Terrier (SAM-N-7 / RIM-2) and Tartar (Mk15 / RIM-24) Missiles.

On July 10, 1951, the first Talos missile was test fired at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico. The first full Talos prototype (designated XSAM-N-6) flew in October 1952 at WSMR, followed by the first successful target intercept later that year. Talos became fully operational aboard the U.S.S. Galveston CLG-3 in 1959, with Bendix Corporation as the prime contractor for production.

This photo shows an early
Talos missile homing on to,
and about to destroy a B-17
drone aircraft at the Navy's
facility in White Sands, NM.

Yalos intercept of B-17

Early Talos missiles used a solid-fuel rocket booster weighing over 4000 lbs, with an approximate three second burn time, to get the missile from launcher to operational speed. A Bendix ramjet then provided sustained flight. Later boosters had a somewhat extended burn time (5 sec) and propelled the missile to over 1300 mph before the missile and booster separated.

The SAM-N-6b missile was initially equipped with a conventional high explosive (HE) warhead, and later changed over to a more lethal "continuous rod" design. The launching ship's guidance beam enabled the Talos to be guided so as to attack enemy aircraft from above. (An unpleasant surprise to pilots trained to expect SAMs from below.) Four small antennas located every 90 degrees around the nose of the missile acted as receivers for the Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH) system. Talos missiles without these antennas were nuclear armed missiles equipped with a type W-30 nuclear warhead (2 - 5 kT yield) which, for obvious reasons, did not need a terminal phase homing. These were designated as SAM-N-6bW.

In 1961 the SAM-N-6b1 and SAM-N-6bW1 (nuclear warhead) variants of Talos became operational. These had almost double the effective range of the SAM-N-6b and SAM-N-6bW. In addition, a new continuous-rod warhead with higher lethality was added.

In that every Talos ship had to carry some nuclear missiles, (although they would probably never be used) it was determined that having separate conventional and nuclear armed missiles was impractical. In 1962 a new SAM-N-6c1 "Unified Talos" was introduced. This model provided for interchangeable warheads, a higher operational ceiling, and a new continuous-wave (CW) radar seeker for improved effectiveness against low-flying targets in the terminal homing phase. Some SAM-N-6b1 missiles were retrofitted with the new CW seeker, and redesignated as SAM-N-6b1(CW).

In 1963 all versions of Talos were redesignated as RIM-8 series.
The designations were applied as follows:

Old Designation New Designation
SAM-N-6b1 RIM-8C
SAM-N-6c1 RIM-8E
SAM-N-6b1(CW) RIM-8F

In 1966 the Talos RIM-8G with improved beam-riding guidance became operational.

RGM-8H Talos anti-radiation (HARM) missiles were designed for use against shore-based radar stations. These Talos could be fitted with seekers programmed for various radar frequencies. Flight tests were first performed in 1965. Soon after the RGM-8H was operational, it was used in combat against Vietnamese SAM radars in Vietnam by USS Chicago, USS Oklahoma City, and USS Long Beach. Wikipedia's page on the Oklahoma City states that in "1971 the Oklahoma City fired the first successful combat surface-to-surface missile shot in US Navy history, using the new Talos RIM-8H anti-radiation missile to destroy a North Vietnamese mobile air control radar van". (Various sources say that the event occurred in February.)

The last operational version of Talos was RIM-8J which entered service in 1968 with improved SARH guidance.

The Talos system was initially installed in three converted Cleveland Class light cruisers (USS Galveston CLG-3, USS Little Rock CLG 4, and USS Oklahoma City CLG-5), then in three converted Baltimore Class heavy cruisers (USS Albany CG-10, USS Chicago CG-11, and USS Columbus CG-12) as well as the nuclear-powered cruiser USS Long Beach CGN-9.

Talos missiles were stored, loaded, and launched from specifically designed guided missile launching systems (GMLS's) aboard ship. GMLS Mk 7 was used aboard USS Galveston, Little Rock, and Oklahoma City. The GMLS Mk 12 was used aboard USS Albany, Chicago, Columbus, and Long Beach. In both systems the missiles were launched from a twin-arm launcher, which was fed from behind.

The first ever "kill" of a hostile aircraft by a missile fired from a ship occurred on May 23, 1968. On that date a Talos fired from the USS Long Beach shot down a Vietnamese MiG at a range of about 65 miles. A second MiG was reportedly destroyed as it exploded among its debris. In September of that year Long Beach shot down another MiG at a range of 61 miles. On May 9, 1972 another MiG was credited to USS Chicago when her forward Talos battery scored a long-range MiG kill. In total, four MiG kills in South-East Asia can be credited to Talos missiles.

Phase-out of the Talos missile began in 1974. The Talos missile system on Long Beach was removed in 1978 and replaced by two 4-cell Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers.

On 6 November 1979 the USS Oklahoma City fired the last Talos missile launched from a ship, and when the USS Albany, the last operational ship was retired in August 1980, the Talos phase-out was complete. (Note: USS Long Beach remained active but, as mentioned above, her Talos system had been  replaced with Harpoon launchers

A planned replacement for Talos, the SAM-N-8 / RIM-50 Typhon, was also canceled. Eventually General Dynamics' RIM-67 Standard ER missile supplied the long-range air defense missile needed by the Navy. The remaining Talos missiles were converted to MQM-8G

The Navy's Vandal program used the remaining obsolete Talos missiles to provide a Mach 2 supersonic target capable of flying at altitudes ranging from near sea level up to 70,000 feet. These targets were first developed at WSMR and launched from Sulf Site in the 90 mile area and from Pony Site just west of Lake Lucero. Vandals were also launched from Wallops Island, VA and from Barking Sands, Kauai, HI. At WSMR, Vandals were engaged by Standard Missile, RAM, and by the High Energy Laser. Vandal supersonic targets and successfully used to simulate anti-ship missile threats.
Talos Missile - General Specifications
New Designation Warhead Range Initial Guidance Terminal Guidance
SAM-N-6b RIM-8A HE (High Explosive) 50 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
SAM-N-6bW RIM-8B Nuclear 50 nm Beam Riding None
SAM-N-6b1 RIM-8C HE Continuous Rod 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
SAM-N-6bW1 RIM-8D Nuclear 100 nm Beam Riding None
(Note 4)
RIM-8C HE Continuous Rod 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
(Note 2)
(Note 1)
RIM-8E (*)
Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
(Note 2)
"Unified Talos"
RIM-8F (*) Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
(Note 2)
"Unified Talos" RIM-8G (*) Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
(Note 2)
"Unified Talos" RGM-8H
(Notes 5, 6) (*)
Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Active Anti-Radar
"Unified Talos" RIM-8J (*) Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Passive Homing
(Note 2)
Interchangeable 100 nm Beam Riding Semi-Acrive

Notes for above chart....
Note 1. Referred to as "Unified Talos" because of interchangeable Warheads.
Note 2. Significantly improved Homing System.
Note 3. "SAM" designation was discontinued in 1963.
Note 4. Some SAM-N-6b1 missiles were modified to have an improved Homing System.
These were designated SAM-N-6b1(CW).
Note 5. "RIM" = Rocket / Interception / Ground Launched
"RGM" = Rocket / Surface Attack / Ground Launched, Mobile
Note 6. "H" = Designed to home on enemy radar istallations
Note 7. Also known as the "UNIFIED TALOS"

Talos Missile and Booster Dimensions
Missile Length: 21 ft.
Booster Length: 11 ft.
Wingspan: 110 in.
Fin Span(Booster): 81 in.
Missile Diameter: 28 in.
BoosterDiameter: 30 in.
Missile Weight: 3400 lb.
Booster Weight: 4400 lb

Talos Missile and Booster Operational Data
Speed: Mach 2.5
Altitude Ceiling: 80,000 ft.
Range RIM-8A, 8B 50 nm
Range RIM-8C thru -8J 100 nm
Missile Propulsion: Ramjet (JP-5 Liquid Fuel)
Booster Propulsion (3 sec.): Solid-fuel rocket
Warheads: High Explosive (HE),
Continuous-rod, or Nuclear

Talos Missile Dimensions Drawing
Talos Dim. Dwg.

Talos Compared to Other U.S. Navy SAM's
Navy Missiles

TALOS on board the USS Little Rock

Test Firing a "Slug"
Photo of Test No. 3
Report of

/s/ R. H. LYDDANE Technical Director


Six TALOS Mk 11 Mod 2 boosters with concrete slugs were fired aboard the USS Little Rock CLG 4 to investigate the adequacy of the protection for the TALOS launching system personnel against blast effects and to determine the effects of the booster blast on the ship's structure. The test vehicles were fired at various angles such that the exhaust stream was directed at areas where damage, flame, or toxic gas leakage had occurred during the structural firing tests aboard the USS GALVESTON (CLG-3). These tests were also utilized to evaluate the design changes in the ship's structural components that were necessitated by the results of the GALVESTON tests. Measurements were made of pressures in the exhaust stream, structural strains, toxic gas concentrations, noise levels, flame penetrations at door seals and temperature changes inside the ship. High-speed motion pictures were taken on all tests.

The results indicated gas and flame leakage around the blast doors, toxic gas leakage into the ventilation systems, and minor structural damage to equipment mounted on the sides of the missile house and the main deck. A detailed description of all data obtained and ship damage incurred is included in this report.


This is the final report on the TALOS Structural Firing Tests Aboard the USS Little Rock CLG 4 conducted under BUWEPS Task Assignment No. 512-535/55008/69-064 Amendments No. 1 and 2 of 17 June 1959 and 10 August 1960, respectively. These tests were performed as part of the BUWEPS Ship Qualification Tests for the USS LITTLE ROCK,CLG 4 conducted by the Applied Physics Laboratory of the John Hopkins University (APL/JHU) for the Bureau of Naval Weapons and in accordance with Test 8 of the test program, reference (a). These tests were conducted to determine the effects of the TALOS booster blast on the ship's structure, and to establish the adequacy of protection for the TALOS launching system personnel against blast effects.

This report was reviewed by the following members of the Weapons Development and Evaluation Laboratory:

J. J. WALSH, Head, Physical Projects Section
D. C. ROSS, Head, Experimental Branch
H. R. PRYOR, Head, Development Division
D. W. STONER, Deputy Director
M. W. WHITAKER, Captain, USN, Director


Before assigning personnel to operational areas in the proximity of the TALOS launcher, it was necessary to determine whether the structures provide adequate protection from the booster blast. In order to deter- mine the effects of the booster blast on the ship's structure, Launcher Test Vehicles (LTV), each composed of a Mk 11 Mod 2 booster with a concrete slug, were fired at various angles such that the exhaust stream was directed at areas where damage, flame or toxic gas leakage had occurred during the structural firing tests aboard the USS GALVESTON (CLG-3). These tests also served to evaluate the design changes in the ship's structural components that were dictated by the results of the blast tests conducted aboard the GALVESTON. Tests were also conducted to determine the adequacy of the door seals, ports, and equipment exposed to the direct booster blast. Detailed test objectives are given in the test plan, reference (a), and repeated in Appendix A.

The tests also determined the effects of the booster blast on an instrumented simulated emergency igniter injector unit for the TALOS launching system. The results of the igniter injector unit tests were reported in reference (b).

On board the USS Little Rock CLG 4 were instrumentation teams for measuring toxic gas concentrations, noise pressure levels, structural strains, pressures in the exhaust stream, structural accelerations and temperature changes inside ship compartments, for providing high-speed photographic coverage, and for observing the extent of flame entrance at door seals. The instrumentation was moved for each test in order to make all measurements in the same configuration with respect to the impingement areas. The detailed test results are grouped according to type of measurement, rather than by test. This arrangement avoids repeated references to the type of measurement considered.

An assist ship, USS SHAKORI (ATF-162), was in close company and furnished over--all high-speed photographic coverage of the booster exhaust stream.


The instrumentation was installed and operated by Naval Weapons Laboratory personnel with the assistance of members of the ship's company assigned to the various groups. The equipment used to record pressure, strain and temperature was installed in a 28' x 8' instrumentation trailer located on the starboard side of the 02 level at approximately Frame 95. Signal cables were connected between the instrumentation trailer and the transducers, which were located throughout the after part of the ship at the areas under test. For each test a TALOS Mk 11 Mod 2 booster with a concrete slug was launched from either the "A" rail or the "B" rail of the Mk 7 Mod 0 Guided Missile Launcher.

The launcher angles, impingement areas, and the sequence in which the tests were conducted are:


(1) The tests were conducted as part of the BUWEPS Ship Qualification Tests for guided missile ships
and were fired in the Virginia Capes Operational Area.

(2) Missile Launcher Rail "A" is the starboard launcher rail, and Rail "B" is the port launcher rail.


Impingement Area
144o 44'
14o Missile House
Observation Port
156o 05'
12o 30'
Slanting bulkhead
two feet aft
of Door (D-1-119-2)
207o 59'
10o 52'
Main Deck Frame 121 Starboard side
220o 58'
10o Starboard Blast Door

39o 43o Deck aft of launcher
145o 75o Deck forward of launcher

Click HERE to read the original report.

Talos Slug Test

The above photo of a STRUCTURAL FIRING TEST most likely shows Test #3 (see above) which was conducted on 29 Aug 1960. The photo dramatically shows a "slug" being launched from the "A" (starboard) missile launcher rail. For this test the launcher was trained at 207o 59' (relative), at an elevation of 10o 52'. This test, one of six, was conducted to check for blast damage and/or gas leakage in the vicinity of Main Deck Frame 121 on the starboard side of the ship. (Click photo to enlarge it.)

Note the large white Instrumentation Trailer located on the starboard side of the 02 level.

The close-up photo of the booster/slug combination shown at the top of this article shows there were no control surfaces (fins) on the slug, however there were stabilizing fins on the booster. No guidance or control of the slug was provided. Once the booster's propellant was exhausted (about 3 seconds) the booster/slug combination continued on it's trajectory until it fell into the sea.

Test No.

Rail Loaded
(Note 2)
144o 44"
14o Missile House Observation Port
8-29-60 B
156o 12o 30'
Slanting bulkhead 2 ft. aft of door
8-29-60 A
207o 59'
10o 52'
Main Deck Frame 121 Starboard Side
8-30-60 B
220o 58'
10o Starboard Blast Door
8-30-60 A
39o 49o Deck aft of launcher
8-30-60 A
145o 75o Deck forward of launcher


Talos being hi-lined to LITTLE ROCK

As TALOS missiles on board LITTLE ROCK were expended (typically for testing purposes),
it was necessary to replenish the inventory with new missiles to maintain a full complement
of useable weapons. This periodic replenishment was done either by transfering replacement
TALOS missiles from a U.S. Navy Ammunition Ship at sea as shown above, or by
returning to a U.S. Naval Weapons Station to receive replacement missiles.

The above photo is from the 1964 Cruise Book

The Man who made the Bumblebee Program fly...

Wilbur H. Goss




Dr. Wilbur H. Goss, Supervisor of the APL Talos Division, was largely responsible for turning the ramjet from a theory in physics into an operating propulsion unit for supersonic missiles.

Dr. Goss' great talent as a creative, yet highly practical physicist, is matched by his ability as a leader. The enthusiasm and vigor with which he attacks each problem is an inspiration to his associates. His ability to assign, evaluate and coordinate their work made possible the historic first flight of a ramjet and has guided its improvement to the extent it has become one of the most important scientific developments of the post war period, as demonstrated In Bumblebee's Talos guided missile.

Dr. Goss was born in Tacomca, Washington, on June 16, 1911. He received his bachelor of science degree (magna cum laude) from the College of Puget Sound in 1932 and his doctor of philosophy degree in physics from the University of Washington, in 1939, while on a teaching fellowship there. He was Assistant Professor of Physics at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, 1940-1942. He was also a visiting lecturer at the University of British Columbia in 1940 and the summer of 1941.

He joined the staff of the Applied Physics Laboratory in 1942 at the height of the proximity fuze development program. Initially he worked on quality control fuze problems and later headed the fuze research group which at that time was focusing its attention on the adaptation of the fuze for use in guns of the American and British armies, and the British Navy. Eventually the earlier fuzes were modified for American naval anti-aircraft use.

He likewise had an important part in the development of a torpedo exploder. This project was jointly assigned to APL and a group at the University of Washington, Seattle.

When, at the request of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance late in 1944, the Laboratory turned its attention to the development of guided missiles, Dr. Goss took a leading part in the critical guided missile analysis which led to the inception of the Bumblebee program and to the recognition of the ramjet as the most promising propulsive system of supersonic missiles. Under his leadership of an empirical flight test program of ramjet models, a successful performance was achieved in less than six months after the project was started.

He was co-designer with Dr. David H. Sloan, then a member of the APL staff, of the ramjet model which first demonstrated in free flight, at Island Beach, New Jersey in October, 1945, a thrust greater than its aerodynamic drag.

By subsequent designs of means of fuel and air flow controls, he made possible the development of the first simple model into present types which have a much higher degree of thrust control and furnish the propulsive unit of the Talos missile.

Rear Admiral F. I. Entwistle, when Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and Director of its Research and Development Division, in the course of a speech in New York, referred to Dr. Goss as "..the father of the, ramjet."

Dr. Goss was awarded the Presidential Certificate of Merit for his work during World War II.

Talos "Sightings"

Places that we've discovered with Talos missile displays

"First" Public Talos Missile Sighting (?)
Milwaukee, WI

South Bend International Airport
South Bend, IN
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands, NM

Dam Neck Fleet Training Center
Dam Neck, VA

New Jersey Naval Museum
Hackensack, NJ

Military Honor Park
South Bend, IN

National Air & Space Museum
Dulles, VA

Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Mount Pleasant, SC

Buffalo & Erie Co. Naval Park
Buffalo, NY

Missiles & More Museum
Topsail Island, NC

Mare Island Naval Shipyard
Vallejo, CA

U.S.Naval Warfare Center
Point Mugu, CA

Wallops Island
Wallops Island, VA


"First" Public Talos Sighting (?)
Milwaukee, WI

Talos on a Trailer, Milwaukee, WI

A young man admires a TALOS
mounted on a trailer

Here is a photo of an early version of the Talos missile mounted on
a flatbed  trailer,  o
n a residential street in Milwaukee, WI !

Photo text reads:

"Residents in the 7100 block of W. Moltke St. rubbed their eyes in amazement Tuesday morning when they found a 28 foot high Talos missile sitting in front of the Joseph Mayer home at 7120 W. Moltke St.  The adults may have been amazed, but the youngsters were fascinated, and many came over from neighboring streets, like Michael Schaffer, 13, of 3034 N. 77th Street.  The ram jet driven, electronic guided surface to air missile is used on destroyers.  It was driven to Milwaukee on a flat bed trailer by Mayer's son, Kirk, who is assigned to the Navy exhibit center in Washington, D.C.  It will be on display at the state fair.

Milwaukee Journal photo
 Reverse side
is stamped: "Aug. 7, 1962"

White Sands Missile Range
White Sands, NM

Talos at White Sands

Recent paint scheme

Talos at White Sands

Previous paint scheme

Talos at White Sands

A TALOS at White Sands
Missile Range mounted on
a portable launcher

Talos at White Sands Missile Range Museum
White Sands, NM

Information as displayed at WSMR:

"This missile could carry a nuclear or conventional warhead and could be used for air defense and against ships and shore-bombardment targets. Thirteen years of research and development went into the Talos. A prototype missile ship called the Desert Ship was built at White Sands for testing the missile's performance. It used a solid-fuel rocket motor as a booster and then a ramjet engine as a sustainer. U. S. Navy."

This missile could carry a nuclear or conventional warhead and could be used for air defense and against ships and shore-bombardment targets. Thirteen years of research and development went into the Talos. A prototype missile ship called the Desert Ship was built at White Sands for testing the missile's performance. It used a solid-fuel rocket motor as a booster and then a ramjet engine as a sustainer. U. S. Navy

-  Length: 30 feet
-  Diameter: 30 inches
-  Weight: 7,000 pounds including booster
-  Propellant: Missile - Liquid // Booster - Solid
-  Ceiling: 50,000 feet
-  Range: 50 miles
-  Velocity: Mach 2
-  First Fired: 1951


Below info is from the WSMR website:

At the White Sands Missile Range museum you can trace the origin of America's missile and space activity, find out how the atomic age began and learn about the accomplishments of scientists like Dr. Wernher von Braun and Dr. Clyde Tombaugh at White Sands. Displays also include the prehistoric cultures and the rip-roaring Old West found in southern New Mexico. For an area map and driving directions, Click Here!

The museum also has a gift shop with items from local artists and a variety of goods featuring the missile range logo and other aspects of White Sands. For a complete list of items and prices call the gift shop at (575) 678-8800. To see a short list of souvenir items from the gift shop use this link -- Price List

Outside the museum is a missile park displaying a variety of missiles and rockets tested at White Sands. These include everything from the WAC Corporal and Loon (U.S. version of the V-1) to a Pershing II and Patriot. More than 50 items are on display. To view a list and photos of the missiles and rockets in the missile park use this link -- Missiles in Missile Park

To get to the museum, enter either the Las Cruces or El Paso gates and tell the guard you are going to visit the museum. He or she will direct you.

The Museum is open year-round. Hours on weekdays are 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Closed on Sundays and Holidays. The missile park is open everyday from sunrise to sunset. There is no fee for either. For more information concerning events call the White Sands Missile Range Museum (575) 678-8800, or e-mail

The Museum is open year-round. Admission is FREE. Hours on weekdays are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday. Closed Sunday and Holidays.
The Missile Park is open dawn to dark seven days a week. For more information concerning events call the White Sands Missile Range Museum (575) 678-8800

Outside the museum is a missile park displaying a variety of missiles and rockets tested at White Sands. These include everything from the WAC Corporal and Loon (U.S. version of the V-1) to a Pershing II and Patriot. More than 50 items are on display.


Dam Neck Fleet Training Center
Dam Neck, VA

Talos at Dam Neck, VA

The US Navy's Guided Missile School at Dam Neck, VA trained Combat Systems operators and Guided Missile technicians. The Naval Guided Missile School (NAVGMSCOL), provided specialized training for the Polaris, Poseidon, Trident, Terrier, Tartar and Talos missiles.

The TALOS missile shown at the left still sits outside what was the main building of the NAVGMSCOL.

New Jersey Naval Museum
Hackensack, NJ

Talos at Hackensack, NJ

This TALOS missile, along with several other missiles and naval vessels
is on display at the:

New Jersey Naval Museum
78 River St.
Hackensack, NJ.

A plaque at the Talos missile reads in part:

DIAMETER: 28" LEGNTH: 19'-2"

Military Honor Park
South Bend, IN

Talos at Military Honor Park

Talos at Military Honor Park

Military Honor Park
4300 Veterans Dr
South Bend, IN 46601
Phone: (574) 232-4300

Military Honor Park & Museum, an Outdoor Military Park and Indoor Museum.
Displays include airplanes, tanks ,weaponry, uniforms, small artifacts, research library and gift shop.
Located at the front entrance to the South Bend Regional Airport.

City of South Bend's "Museums" page


Missiles land at Military Honor Park
Pieces were originally made in Mishawaka.
August 01, 2012 by HOWARD DUKES, South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- A piece of the area's manufacturing and military history returned home when two Talos missiles were installed at the Military Honor Park.

The Military Honor Park is near the South Bend Regional Airport.

John C. Schalliol, who retired as executive director of the South Bend Regional Airport, said that the Cold War era missiles were built at Bendix Missile Plant on Beiger Street from the mid-1950s through the late 1970s. The missiles were deployed on cruiser ships, and were used to attack radar installations during Vietnam War.

The Talos missile system was decommissioned in 1979. Schalliol said that the military actually used the Talos missiles in training exercises.

Most of the missiles were destroyed, but some were saved.

Schalliol, who is a Navy veteran, said that that two of the missiles can be seen on the U.S.S. Little Rock, one of seven cruisers that deployed the guided missile system.

Schalliol said that the Talos missiles now on display at the Military Honor Park had been stored at a U.S. Navy base at Point Mugu, Calif. Schalliol said that George Murat, who oversees the Military Honor Park, learned that Talos missiles were being stored in Point Mugu, and began working to bring two of them home.

Schalliol said that it cost $37,000 to acquire, refurbish and transport the military artifacts to the honor park. He said that the restoration effort included giving the two missiles a new paint job.

The missiles that will be on display at the honor park are 30 feet long. Schalliol said that in addition to being used against radar installations during the Vietnam war, the Talos missiles also were also used against North Vietnamese jet fighters.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center / National Air & Space Museum
Dulles, VA

Talos at Udvar-Hazy

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
National Air and Space Museum

14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy
Chantilly, VA 20151
(703) 572-4118

From their website: "The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia is our companion facility to the Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Opened in 2003, its two huge hangars, the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery. The Center also offers the Airbus IMAX Theater and the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, which gives you a 360-degree bird's-eye view of Washington Dulles International Airport and the surrounding area. Udvar-Hazy Center is also home to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar where preservation of the National Air and Space Museum's collections takes place. A glassed-in mezzanine provides a view of restoration projects in progress. Researchers will also find the majority of the things to do while visiting the Udvar-Hazy Center. We offer daily tours and educational activities for both children and adults. We also have scheduled lectures and events throughout the year. For more information, visit our events calendar.

This is the Talos ship-to-air missile used by the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1979, and developed by the Bendix Corporation. The Talos had a ramjet main stage and a first-stage, solid-fuel rocket booster that burned for two seconds, then dropped off after it had accelerated the missile to the high speed necessary for the ramjet to operate. The booster is not shown.

Development of the Talos began about 1945 as part of Project Bumblebee, that led to a family of missiles that included the Terrier, Tartar, and Talos. The Johns Hopkins University conducted most of the research for the Talos. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1982 from the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.

Patriot's Point Naval Maritime Museum
Mount Pleasant, SC

Talos at Patriot's Point

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Charleston Harbor
40 Patriots Point Rd.
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

Phone: (843) 884-2727


Buffalo & Erie Co. Naval & Servicemen's Park
Buffalo, NY

Talos on board USS Little Rock

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is a museum on the shore of Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York. It is home to several decommissioned US Naval vessels, including the Cleveland-class cruiser USS Little Rock, the Fletcher-class destroyer USS The Sullivans, and the submarine USS Croaker. Along with the ships, there are a variety of smaller vehicles, vessels, and aircraft are also on display at the park.

The Naval & Military Park is located very close to downtown Buffalo, on Buffalo Place at the foot of Pearl and Main streets, across from HSBC Arena. You can take any transportation to visit the park.

Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park
One Naval Park Cove
Buffalo, NY 14202

USS Little Rock

Cleveland class cruiser, later converted to Little Rock class guided missile cruiser. Launched August 27, 1944 and then commissioned June 17, 1945 at Cramp Shipbuilding Company, Philadelphia, PA.Converted in 1960 at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, NJ. Decommissioned November 1976.

The Little Rock was the first ship to bear the name of Little Rock, Arkansas. The only guided missile cruiser on display in the U.S., USS Little Rock is the sole survivor of the Cleveland class, the most numerous of U.S. wartime cruisers (29 vessels total). The Little Rock made four cruises to the Mediterranean and two to the North Atlantic. She served with distinction as flagship for both the Second and Sixth fleets.

USS Little Rock is now on display at this park and plays active parts in educational and entertaining activities such as overnight encampment programs and other events.

Missiles & More Museum
Topsail Island, NC

Talos at Missiles and More Museum
Missiles and More Museum Topsail Island, North Carolina
The Museum is housed in the Historical Assembly Building located at:
720 Channel Blvd.,
Topsail Beach, N.C. 28460

Operation Bumblebee was the U.S. Navy's secret guided missile testing program that operated on Topsail Island from 1946-1948. Exhibits include model and original missiles from the project, a full size Talos guided missile located outside at the front of the building, and in the Museum Kiosk, a film made in 1940 that chronicles the history of the program. Visitors will be fascinated to learn that Topsail Island served as a proving ground for some of the first U.S. missile efforts and that the principle of the controlled ramjet engine (the main concept for today's supersonic flight) was tested and proven on Topsail Island as a result of Operation Bumblebee.

Mare Island Naval Shipyard
Vallejo, CA

Talos at MINSY 1960's

The US Navy's West Coast Guided Missile School was located at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY) at Vallejo, CA. Like it's counterpart in Dam Neck, VA the school trained Combat Systems operators and Guided Missile technicians.

A TALOS missile (shown at the left) at that time sat outside what was the main building of the Mare Island NAVGMSCOL. (Look "through" the bandstand with the red roof.)

The date of the photo is uncertain. It would appear to be early 1960's or so. Note that the TALOS missile is painted white.
Talos at MINSY 1966

For the "For What It's Worth Department" Art Tilley, the USS Little Rock Association's webmaster was stationed at the MINSY School Command for four years. (One year as a student in the Guided Missile "B" School, and three years as an instructor in the Talos "C" School.

Here's a close-up of the TALOS missile (with a blue "Trainer" color-scheme). The photo was taken in 1966. Those in the photo, from left-to-right are:
Art Tilley
Jane Tilley (his wife)
Vera Funk (Jane's Grandmother)
Scott Funk (Jane's brother)

Talos Stand (only) MINSY 2014

A 2014 photo taken at the "old"
Mare Island NAVGMSCOL grounds shows the stand on which the TALOS missile had been mounted.

No one seemed to know (or care) what happened to the missile !

Naval Warfare Center
Point Mugu, CA

MQM-8 Specifications:

-  Length: 30 feet
-  Diameter: 30 inches
-  Total Weight: 7,000 pounds
-  Propellant: Missile - Liquid
-  Propellant: Booster - Solid
-  Ceiling: 50,000 feet
-  Range: 50 miles
-  Velocity: Mach 2
-  First Fired: 1951

At Point Mugu, the U.S. Navy operates two runways and encompasses a 36,000 square mile sea test range, anchored by San Nicolas Island. The range allows the military to test and track weapons systems in restricted air- and sea-space without encroaching on civilian air traffic or shipping lanes.

In the 1990's and up until 2005, phased out Talos missiles were modified to MQM-8G "Vandal" missiles and were used as a high velocity targets.

Vandal on Launcher

1. MQM8's on Launcher
at Point Mugu

1. Two MQM-8G Vandal missiles on a launcher at San Nicolas Island, California (USA).

The Vandal was a version of the RIM-8 Talos missile, which was retired in 1979.
The remaining Talos missiles were converted to MQM-8G supersonic targets,
simulating anti-ship missiles.

Date: 1999
Source: U.S. Navy Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD) photo
Vandal Away

2. "MQM8 Vandal Away! "

2. MQM-8 Vandal target launch (with one MQM on launcher)
MQM8 Launch 1999

3. MQM8 Launch 1999

3. A U.S. Navy MQM-8G Vandal missile firing from San Nicolas Island, CA (USA), in 1999.

The Vandal was a version of the RIM-8 Talos missile, which was retired in 1979.
The remaining Talos missiles were converted to MQM-8G supersonic targets, simulating anti-ship missiles.
Talos Vandal at Point Mugu, CA

4. A dummy MQM8 "Vandal"
for display at local parades

4. An MQM-8 "Vandal"for display at local parades

Wallops Flight Facility (NASA)
Wallops Island, VA

Talos Booster - Wallops Island, VA Wallops Island

NASA successfully tests new launch vehicle from WFF

September 22, 2012

WALLOPS ISLAND, VA, NASA successfully tested a new suborbital sounding rocket today, Sept. 22, from the agency's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Launched at 7 a.m. EDT, the Talos-Terrier-Oriole flew to an altitude of 167.4 miles and then reentered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops Island. The payload was not planned to be recovered.

This was the first flight of the 65-foot tall Talos-Terrier-Oriole that is being developed to support high-altitude space science research.

The next launch currently scheduled from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility is no earlier than late October.

South Bend International Airport
South Bend, IN

Talos at Southbend International Airport
In the early 1930's Cadet Field in Granger, IN was purchased by Vincent Hugo Bendix, the founder of Bendix Aviation. The airport was expanded and opened as Bendix Field in 1933.

Bendix Field was later named St. Joseph County Airport, then Michiana Regional Transportation Center, and finally on Jan. 1, 2000it was renamed South Bend Regional Airport.

How did South Bend Regional Airport end up with a Talos missile suspended from it's ceiling in the main lobby? Nobody seemed to know when the Little Rock Association's webmaster visited there in 2013.

The fact that the Talos missile was built in nearby Mishawaka, IN by Bendix Corporation may have had something to do with it.

Some neat videos of the Talos Missile and other Missiles....
- Check out this great 8mm film of three Talos missile launches from USS Little Rock CLG 4
on 24 Aug 65 made by shipmate William "Bill" L. Passauer FTM3 (now FTCS-Ret).
YouTube Link
- How Talos was handled aboard ship: See the Defense Atomic Support Agency's Training
Film Bulletin Number 45, Part II - "Talos Missile Handling Cruiser Installation" (Film #0800049).
YouTube Link
- Some great Navy missile information can be seen on Periscope Film's film #2114 "MISSILES
" (PART 1 of 2) on this YouTube video.
- And more great Navy missile information can be seen on Periscope Film's Film #2114 "MISSILES
" (PART 2 of 2) on this YouTube video.
- From the APL Vault is the video "Bumblebee", a film about the U.S. Navy's first supersonic
surface-to-air missile program. See it here on YouTube.
- From by WDTVLIVE42, a documentary film "Weapons That Work - 1967 United States
Navy Missile Systems"
. Also on YouTube.

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