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RIM-8 Talos: Wikis


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RIM-8 Talos
US Rim-8g missile.jpg
RIM-8G Talos missile.
Type Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service Withdrawn from service 1979
Used by United States Navy
Production history
Manufacturer Bendix
Weight 7,800 lb (3,538 kg) (missile: 3,400 lb (1,542 kg), booster: 4,400 lb (1,996 kg)
Length 456 in (11.6 metres)
Diameter 28 in (0.7 metres)

Warhead 136 kg (300 lb) continuous-rod HE warhead or W30 nuclear warhead (2 - 5 kT)

Engine Bendix ramjet sustainer,
Stage1: MK 11 solid-fueled rocket booster,
Stage2: Bendix ramjet sustainer
Wingspan 2.80 m (110 in)
185 km (100 nm); RIM-8A: 92 km (50 nm)
Flight ceiling 24400 m (80,000 ft)
Speed Mach 2.5
Radar beam riding and (non-nuclear variants) semi-active radar homing
Surface Ship

The Bendix RIM-8 Talos was a long-range naval surface-to-air missile, and was among the earliest surface-to-air missiles to equip United States Navy ships. The Talos used radar beam riding for guidance to the vicinity of its target, and semiactive radar homing (SARH) for terminal guidance. The characteristic array of four antennas surrounding the nose are the SARH receivers which functioned as a continuous wave interferometer. Thrust was provided by a solid rocket booster for initial launch and a Bendix ramjet for flight to target with the warhead doubling as the ramjet's compressor.



The Talos was a development of the Bumblebee Project, the Navy's effort to develop a surface-to-air missile to provide an extra layer of aircraft defense. 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 Talos saw relatively limited use due to its large size; there were few ships that could accommodate the system. Indeed, the 11.6-meter-long, 3½-tonne missile was similar in size to the contemporary Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter (10.1 meters long and 5 tonnes loaded weight). The Talos was launched from the Mk 12 twin-arm launcher, which was fed from behind by a 46-round below main deck magazine. The Talos system was installed in three converted Cleveland class light cruisers (USS Oklahoma City, Galveston, and Little Rock) (which used the Mark 7 Launching System which had 14 birds in a ready-service magazine and up to 30 unmated missiles and boosters in a storage area all above main deck), the converted Baltimore class heavy cruisers Albany, Chicago, Columbus and the nuclear-powered USS Long Beach.

The initial SAM-N-6b/RIM-8A had an effective range of about 50 nm, and a conventional warhead. The SAM-N-6bW/RIM-8B was a RIM-8A with a nuclear warhead; terminal guidance was judged unnecessary for a nuclear warhead, so the SARH antenna were omitted. The SAM-N-6b1/RIM-8C was introduced in 1960 and had nearly double the range, and a more lethal conventional warhead. The RIM-8D was the nuclear-warhead version of the -8C. The SAM-N-6c/RIM-8E "Unified Talos" had a warhead that could be swapped while embarked, eliminating the need to waste magazine capacity carrying dedicated nuclear warhead variants. The RIM-8E also carried an improved continuous-wave terminal homing seeker, and had a higher ceiling. Some RIM-8Cs were retrofitted with the new seeker, and designated RIM-8F. The RIM-8G and RIM-8J had further radar homing improvements. The RIM-8H Talos-ARM was a dedicated anti-radar homing missile for use against shore-based radar stations. Initial testing of the RIM-8H was performed in 1965, and soon after it was deployed in Vietnam on Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Long Beach, attacking North Vietnamese SAM radars. The surface-to-air versions also saw action in Vietnam, a total of three MiGs being shot down by Chicago and Long Beach. The Talos missile also had surface-to-surface capabilities.


The Talos was slowly phased out of service as ships with the Mk 12 launcher were retired. The last Talos-equipped ship other than Long Beach was retired in 1979, and Long Beach had her Talos launcher removed in 1978. The missile was replaced by the RIM-67 Standard missile which was fired from the smaller Mk10 launcher.

The missiles remaining in the Navy inventory were converted to a high tech supersonic target missile, the MQM-8G Vandal. The inventory was exhausted ca. 2005.


See also



  • Friedman, Norman (1982). "The "3 T" Programme". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) VI (22-3): 158–166, 181–185. ISBN 0-87021-981-2.  

External links

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