Shown here is the booster assembly for the Navy's submarine-launched JB-2 Loon missile, a copy of which is currently on display at the entrance to the Space Hanger at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Each of the four Jet-Assisted-Take-Off motors produced 11,000 pounds of thrust for two seconds during launch from the deck of a submarine, at which point the entire assembly dropped away from the JB-2 and fell into the water. The JATOs, manufactured by the Aerojet Engineering Corporation, date to 1948.
The JB-2 is a direct copy of the German V-1 flying bomb, which the Navy re-engineered toward the end of World War II. In 1945, the Loon program got underway to develop a submarine launched missile capability. Impractical and wildly inaccurate, the Loon never went beyond the test stage. The Navy canceled the program in 1950 in favor of the Regulus I, which entered service in the mid-1950s as the U.S.'s first operational, submarine-launched guided missile.
Transferred from the U.S. Navy.