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SAM-N-8 Typhon LR / SAM-N-9 Typhon MR
RIM-50A Long Range / RIM-55A Medium Range

Typhon was a ship-launched air defense missile system with a surface target capability. Typhon was constantly changing as it evolved. The missile was to become operational in 1966. The Typhon weapon name superseded the designation of Advanced Weapons System formerly used to identify improved Tartar and Talos missile gear. Super-Talos was renamed Long Range Typhon. Super-Tartar was renamed Medium Range Typhon.

Prime contractor was JHU/APL, propulsion was by solid booster and ramjet sustainer and the warhead was conventional. An unofficial report stated that Westinghouse had part of the responsibility, and that the Typhon system will be installed on all types of surface craft, including quite small hydrofoils. The original "Bumblebee" program of the Johns Hopkins University has produced the Terrier, Tartar and Talos family of anti-aircraft weapons. Logical development at the University's Applied Physics Laboratory led to projects originally styled Super Tartar and Super Talos, but later known as medium-range Typhon and longe-range Typhon.

Typhon [not Typhoon] was the most deadly monster of Greek mythology, nicknamed Father of All Monsters, with a reputation of The Deadliest Monster On Earth. Typhon, the son of Tartarus and Gaea, was a giant who dared to make war on heaven. For this offense, the angry Jupiter hurled him to earth and buried him beneath Mt. Etna. According to Hesiod, he was the son of the Earth and of Tartarus, who begot him in revenge for the defeat of the Titans and giants by the Olympian gods.

According to Pindar, Typhon then dwelt in a dark cave filled with poisonous exhalations (Typhoneum); he was larger and stronger than any thing which the Earth had borne. His head reached the stars; his arms extended from east to west: instead of fingers, 100 snakes proceeded from his hands; and around his middle were twined dreadful serpents, which raised themselves above his head, and uttered terrible hissings. His eyes darted fire.

Hesiod said that from a hundred serpent heads flamed fiery eyes, and black tongues darted from their mouths; sometimes he hissed so terribly that the mountains quaked. This description answers to that of a tempest, which Hesiod himself declares Typhon to be. He is also described with wings, and is said to have stormed Olympus with masses of heated rocks, and flames of fire.

Gussow and Prettyman noted that "The story began in May 1957 when, in response to the apparent threat to the fleet posed by Soviet nuclear weapons and high-performance aircraft armed with supersonic antiship missiles and using sophisticated jamming techniques, the Navy initiated a major study of fleet air defense. The Navy requested that APL undertake the study because the Laboratory played a major leadership role in the development of Terrier, Tartar, and Talos missiles.... Although in function and concept Typhon evolved from the earlier Terrier, Tartar, and Talos shipboard surface-to-air missile systems, many of its technical aspects, particularly its radar and guidance techniques, represented a distinct break from the earlier systems."

By 1959 it became evident that the Navy had to face a number of significant problems relating to over-all carrier task force antiair warfare eifectiveness that were far more sweeping in scope than the question of Terrier, Tartar, and Talos [aka 3T] system air defense capabilities. The TYPHON concept was emerging as the definite "next-generation" shipborne air defense weapon system and the EAGLE (XAAM-N-10) showed promise, of providing fighter aircraft with a much improved air-to-air weapon over the SPARROW II and the SIDEWINDER, Of concern to the naval weapons planners at the time was the question of how these new systems should be integrated into the task force AAW complex; indeed, were these new systems being proposed competitive or complementary in capabilities?

When enemy jamming aircraft were employed in coordination with the weapon-delivery vehicles, severe radar burn-through and missile guidance problems were encountered by the defensive forces. The shipborne missile systems, particularly those of the late 1950s generation, were notably vulnerable and helpless to counter the effects of jamming aircraft that stand-off from the task force beyond maximum surface-to-air missile system ranges.

Long-range SAM systems seem to be incapable of intercepting enemy aircraft delivering stand-off weapons against fleet units, prior to weapon launch. More often than not, the long-range SAM system will be forced to engage enemy weapons rather than aircraft. The firepower vs. attack altitude characteristics of these systems in either an ECM or non-ECM environment are such as to cause an intelligent enemy to favor low-level-attacks against fleet units if his losses are to be minimized.

A SAM system of moderate maximum range (such as 40 nm) can be developed to deilver high firepower against low-altitude attackers. These missiles are smaller and lighter than their long-range counterparts and thus can be handled and launched more rapidly. Since launcher reload cycle time is a critical parameter in the low-altitude attack situation, the 40-nm system will generally outperform one of the longer maximum range (ie., 100 or 200 nam) when operating against such attacks.

It was important that the system being proposed include surveillance and tracking/guidance radars with ECCM characteristics that would permit virtually undegraded system performance in the presence of enemy ECM, even though the attainment of this objective dictates the use of a radar that would be considered over-designed for the system in a non-ECM environment. One way of minimizing system ECM degradation in a noise jamming environment would be by firing on "burn-through" only, if radar burn-through ranges against likely levels of enemy jamming are such to afford intercepts at maximum missile range.

In general, such invulnerability to countermeasures can more readily be achieved with a system that includes a missile of more modest maximum range than the 100 or 200 mm ranges associated with some of the proposed systems of the past. It is also imperative that the guidance radar subsystem provide for a multiplicity of missile-guidance channels so that several missile target engagements can be carried out simultaneously. In this manner the firepower at low altitude (and, for that matter, at all altitudes) can be maintained at a high level, despite the fact that the system range is relatively short.

The need for defense-in-depth required the development of not one but two missiles: a long-range (LR), ramjet-propelled missile capable of ranges of several hundred nautical miles or more to reduce the number of missile-launching aircraft and standoff jammers, and a medium-range (MR) rocket-propelled missile to meet the demands for high rates of fire. These missiles were designated Typhon LR and MR, respectively, and were sized for both cruisers and destroyer-class ships.

Proposals submitted to Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) on the development, fabrication, and test of the Typhon radar from Westinghouse, RCA, and Sperry. The antenna used for radar beam forming was a spherical array with wide bandwidth and frequency and phase diversity for jamming immunity. The radar used a large number of high-power traveling wave tubes (3,400 in the prototype system), a Luneberg lens for the transmitter array, and three Luneberg lenses for the receiver array. After extensive review, the Navy in December 1959 approved contracting with the Westinghouse Corporation for a prototype Typhon radar.

The impressive performance of the advanced SAM systems, as exemplified by the TYPHON concept, can be traced to the simultaneous engagement capability and the ECCM characteristics of the guidance radar. With such radars, a very high rate of fire can be maintained, which not only enhances system effectiveness against targets at medium and high altitudes, but also overcomes to a significant degree, through the reduction of guidance channel availability restraints, the firepower limitations imposed by radar horizon against low-flying attackers. The relative invulnerability to noise jamming manifested by TYPHON stems from the high level of radiated power generated by the AN/SPG-59 radar coupled with pulse-to-pulse frequency diversity.

The Navy's Typhon surface-to-air fleet defense weapon had track-via-missile guidance, using the AN/SPG-59 electronically scanned tracking radar. The radar designed for Typhon outperforms systems in present use. The Typhon weapon control system consisted of advanced long-range search, track and guidance radar, high-speed computers which provide faster target selection and designation, and display and monitor gear. The system would extend the range and improve the accuracy, target-handling capacity and reaction time of future guided missile ships.

BuOrd funded APL for the erection and test of an experimental radar system that would contain a 100-element spherical receiving lens, limited frequency diversity, and 10-kW peak power. A new radar building (now APL'S Radar Building 11) was constructed to house the equipment. In March 1962, the experimental radar at APL successfully tracked simultaneously two augmented helicopter targets in range, angle, and velocity.

The design of the radar was driven by the requirement that antenna beam steering and signal processing be highly resistant to enemy countermeasures. Array antennas using phase-phase steering did not exist. The only known antenna technically meeting the requirement for hemispherical coverage independent of frequency was the Luneberg lens, and this concept became the standard for the new radar.

The long-range Typhon missile was put on a firm basis in June 1961, with the award of the prime contract to Bendix and the airframe to McDonnell, under the technical direction of JHU. This team, which had worked together for ten years on Talos, developed a jagged-looking missile reminiscent of the earlier Zeus test vehicles: the wings had extremely low aspect ratio, and carried delta control surfaces at their rear tips. The first concept for the LR missile, embodied a ramjet-propelled (with solid rocket boost) body, 16 in. in diameter and 15 ft long, cruciform delta wings with tail flippers, boosted to ramjet operating speed by a solid-propellant rocket that was jettisoned at the end of boost.

The long-range SAM-N-8 Typhon LR was to replace Talos, but by some accounts the missile was planned to be of Terrier size. Some sources report that the missile was vastly larger, 46 feet long with booster and weighed about 20,000 pounds at launch. It had a range of 200 miles. It used a solid-fuel booster and a ramjet sustainer.

Typhon RIM-50 Typhon RIM-50 Typhon RIM-50 Typhon RIM-50 Typhon

In 1962 General Dynamics/Pomona was awarded the prime contract for Typhon MR. The medium-range SAM-N-9 Typhon MR was to replace both Terrier and Tartar with a Tartar-sized missile. In 1963 the Typhon MR missile prime contract was transferred to Bendix/Mishawaka. The MR missile was to have less range (40 nmi) and altitude (80,000 ft) coverage but the quick reaction time (10 s) and rapid launch (1 missile/10 s) necessary to counter low-altitude and/or submarine-launched antiship missile mass attacks.

The guidance concept for the two missiles was the same and required that the shipboard radar and weapon control system steer the missile by command during midcourse to a position for homing acquisition, after which the track-via-missile (TVM) homing system would develop steering commands to achieve the necessary terminal accuracy for target kill. In TVM, the missile is equipped with an antenna to receive the reflected energy from the target.

In December 1961 the distribution of funds between the Exploratory Development and Systems has been reviewed and the funds devoted to Systems have been decreased in order to delay initiation of large programs until the necessary technology is established. For this reason, among others, a number of proposed new systems, such as extended Pershing, Field Army Ballistic Missile Defense, Typhon II (a Navy anti-aircraft anti-missile system), Space Counter Weapon System, and others have been eliminated.

All the concepts and principles for phase array (electronic beam scanning) radar had been worked out by 1958. The problem was it was still based on bulky vacuum tubes. The Typhoon “frigate” would have taken a new phased array radar and combined it with the RIM-55A medium range missile with the RIM-50A long range missile. These missiles, unlikee other missiles in the fleet, only required initial guidance and then terminal guidance from the firing ships. The other part of Typhoon system was its state of the art computer for the 1960’s. It would have been able to track 30 targets, a good number at the time, and engage at least ten targets at once.

Westinghouse had the contract to produce a new type of random-pulse radar, which was to eliminate 13 current types of radar and permit ten simultaneous firings at ten targets. An unofficial report stated that the missile's own active-homing radar will be powerful enough to penetrate intense counter-measures and jamming. The enormously improved performance of was to set new standards in quick reaction time, target-handling capacity and guidance accuracy.

By late 1963 the TYPHON Weapon System comprised an advanced fixed array radar (AN/SPG-59), which performs search and fire control functions; a longrange missile (LR TYPHON--Mach 3.0 to 4.0, 100,000-ft maximum altitude, 200 nm range); a medium range missile (MR TYPHON--Mach 1.25 Lo 4.0, 90,000-ft maximum altitude, 40 nm range); associated launching, handling, and magazine equipment; and a central control system, which provides data processing.

The radar has sufficient power and data-processing capability to operate effectively in a heavy countermeasure environment; it also had high capacity tracking and guidance, which permits rapid fire. For one study, channel availability constraints for TYPHON were computed in accordance with the following rules:

  1. Ten track-while-scan (TWS) channels are required for a TYPHON missile in terminal guidance, as opposed to one for midcourse guidance
  2. A maximum of 100 TWS channels are available
  3. No more than 30 missiles can be guided in flight at any time
  4. The terminal guidance phase is of 18 seconds duration prior to intercept.

The maximum number of guidance channels (midcourse and terminal) available to the system at any point in time, or the constraints imposed by (2) and (3) could be expressed as follows:

10 (Terminal) + Midcourse < 100
     Terminal + Midcourse < 30

The normal mode of TYPIHON guidance consisted of a command midcourse phase and a ground controlled semi-active homing phase. The Long-Range TYPION missile was, in fact, the SUPER TALOS, which had a cruciform delta wing configuration with control flippers located at the wing trailing edges. The missile was ram-jet propelled and was boosted to flight sjeed by a solid propellant booster of approximately 362,000 lb-sec total impulse. The missile was fitted with either a continunuis rod high explosive warhead or nuclear warhead weighing 150 lb. This missile is fired from a modified dual-rail MK 10 TERRIER launcher.

The Medium-Range TYPHON missile, or SUPER TARTAR, was of standard TARTAR aerodynamic configuration. This missile was also fitted with a 150-lb warhead. Propulsion is provided by a dual-thrust, solid propellant rocket motor. The missile was launched from a modified single-rail MK 13 TARTAR launcher.

A third variant of the TYPHON missile was considered for study. This missile has a maximum range of 100 na and a maximum altitude of 100,000 ft, envisaged as an MR TYPHON with a solid rocket sustainer and a separable booster. It was identified as the Intermediate Range TYPHON or IR TYPHON and was fired from the ME 10 TERRIER launcher.

By late 1962 the weapons system, which incorporated recent improvements in the Tartar and Talos guided missiles was being installed in USS Norton Sound ( AVM 1). Norton Sound decommissioned 10 August 1963, and in November she was towed to Baltimore, Md. for installation of the Typhon Weapon Control System. The conversion was completed early in 1964, and Norton Sound recommissioned 20 June, emerging in her present configuration to continue tasks in weapons research. Baltimore was designated homeport for Norton Sound, and for several months she operated in Chesapeake Bay, evaluating the Typhon System. Assigned to Port Hueneme, Calif. in July 1965, she arrived there the last day of that month. Her mission was then increased to include evaluation of the Sea Sparrow missile, the first of which she launched 13 September. During a three month stay at Long Beach Naval Shipyard commencing 15 July 1966, all Typhon equipment was removed following discontinuance of the system.

In December 1963 the Typhon program was cancelled. The enormous complexity of TYPHON and the high cost of developing such a system resulted in a sharp curtailment of the program. It was more than likely that a more modest, less costly system that could be fitted to smaller ships would be forthcoming in its stead. The Navy's 3 Ts - Terrier, Talos, and Tartar - had undergone many changes since their inception. The Typhon program, which was to incorporate all three missiles into one system, was set back for further research. New research was going on to develop a system in which the 3 Ts can be used as part of a system, possibly using the same launching system. Typhon ultimately evolved into the current Aegis.

Gussow and Prettyman noted that "Although Typhon's system design successfully over-came most of the limitations of the 3Ts, it was technologically ahead of its time. The concepts, so brilliantly put forward by the Typhon team, could not be translated successfully into hardware by existing US industries. It was to take another ten years and a new program start before the requisite industrial potential could be exploited." The need for an advanced system still remained, setting the scene for the birth of Aegis.

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Page last modified: 06-12-2017 17:40:19 ZULU