The Talos was a Navy missile from the Bumblebee program and was primarily a surface-to-air missile but could be used effectively against ships and shore targets. It was equipped with a solid-fuel booster which fired for a few seconds and then a ramjet engine acted as the sustainer motor. Talos had a range out beyond 65 miles and could reach extremely high altitudes. It could carry a conventional or nuclear warhead. The missile was 30 feet long, 30 inches in diameter and weighed 3,000 pounds --- 7,000 pounds with the booster.
The first firing at White Sands was in 1951. At the Navy's launch complex 35 a prototype missile ship called the Desert Ship was built for testing the missile's performance. The first firing of Talos at sea took place in Feb. 1959 from the USS Galveston.
The weapon was evolved as an off-shoot from Project Bumblebee, a study for a guided anti-aircraft rocket begun in 1945. The Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, were the contractors to the U.S. Navy on this project.
Talos is the first true Bumblebee end-product (another is the much larger Triton). The original 18in-diameter ramjet was flown in 1946, and Mach numbers of 2 were soon being recorded, using kerosine. Many hundreds of test vehicles eventually led to the perfection of an efficient ramjet, with a double-shock intake, together with a reliable fuel system capable of taking the shock of the rocket-boosted launching. The control configuration is very similar to that of Terrier, apart from the fact that the pivoting wings are closer to the stabilizing tail fins. The body is also relatively fatter, containing as it does the integral ramjet.
Prime contractor for Talos was the Missile Division of Bendix, at Mishawka, Ind. Principal sub-contractor was McDonnell Aircraft, at St. Louis, whose responsibility has been the powerplant. Guidance was handled by the Farnsworth division of International Telephone and Telegraph, this equipment being housed — with the fuel and warhead — in the annular space left between the ramjet duct and the exterior skin. Additional equipment, including ramjet controls, is located inside the intake centre-body. The solid-propellant booster shown in the drawing may not be that employed in the bulk of production rounds.
There have been several development stages of Talos, two of which are distinguished as Talos L and Talos W. All carry the Army /Navy designation XSAM-N-6. The first production rounds in 1955 cost roughly $150,000 apiece, but the price was dropping rapidly as Bendix increase production. The design range is about twice that of firstgeneration rocket SAMs. In October Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, announced that service-test Talos missiles had scored six consecutive hits on airborne targets at a slant range of 37 miles — a factor which indicated that the guidance system must be appreciably more advanced than the beam-riding of Terrier. One light cruiser is at present being convened to include Talos armament, under money voted in the 1956 appropriation. Three Talos armed ships were to be commissioned by 1959, five by 1960 and eight by 1961.
Since the end of 1955 Talos publicly excited the interest of both the U.S.A.F. and U.S.M.C. The Air Force sponsored a program for the development of a land-based derivative, with the Radio Corporation of America acting as prime contractor. An advanced, long-range version has been sought by the Air Force since May. In particular, Strategic Air Command wish to defend their bases with this missile, starting with four of the most important fields in the U.S.A. and finally including S.A.C. bases in all parts of the world. Although a sum of £5.7m. has been agreed as an allocation for site construction, further Air Force—and, presumably, Marine Corps—appropriations are blocked pending the outcome of competitive trials with Nike and clarification of roles.
As part of the Navy's Fiscal Year 1956 shipbuilding and conversion program the never-commissioned light cruiser Galveston (CL-93), a member of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet since mid-1946, was taken out of "mothballs" and turned over to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for reconstruction as a guided missile ship. Redesignated CLG-93 in February 1956, as work was beginning, she received her difinitive hull number, CLG-3, in May 1957. Galveston was commissioned in May 1958 as the Navy's first ship to carry the "Talos" guided missile, a long-range, and quite large, anti-aircraft weapon. The ship had been extensively modified, especially aft of amidships, to equip her with magazines, a launcher and the radars associated with this new weapons system, and her first three years of active service were largely spent testing the "Talos" at sea off the U.S. East Coast and in the Caribbean region.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|