Date: ca. 1943-1946
Country of Origin: United States of America
Overall: 1 ft. 2 1/2 in. long x 11 in. span, 480 lb. (36.83 x 27.94cm, 217.7kg)
Overall, made of laminated wood; fins, also wood, but moveable control surfaces aluminum; gyro, steel; carbon dioxide cylinder, steel; motor, mostly stainless steel; nuts on same, steel; blue pipe fittings on motor, anodized aluminum; nose, wood, but dome, plastic painted over in yellow to match body; tail cone, aluminum; straps, for holding missile when formerly suspended, steel and fabric; propellant tank, overall, stainless steel; blue fittings on propellant tank, aluminum; reddish valve on propellant tank, brass; internals also contain electrical wires with clear plastic insulation; copper strip running throughout most of internal wall lengths inside fuselage.
This is the Gorgon II-A, claimed as the U.S.'s first liquid-fuel, rocket-powered guided missile. It was developed as an air-to-air weapon by the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) in World War II. With a range of 18 miles, the Gorgon II-A utilized a television guidance system to locate the target and was controlled by radio signals. Only 21 Gorgon II-A's were built and flight tested during 1945-1946. This is one of the few surviving examples.
The Gorgon was also one of America's first attempts to use television in guided missiles for target tracking although the TV transmissions were weak. The missile's rocket motor produced 350 pounds of thrust. The program was cancelled in 1946. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1951 by the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics.
Transferred from U.S. Navy