Gorgon IV Target Drone


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Gorgon IV Target Drone

Collection Item Summary:

The subsonic, ramjet-powered, air-launched Gorgon IV was developed in 1946 as an air-to-surface missile. The Glenn L. Martin Company modified several Gorgon IV models for use as target drones, however, for launch from standard Mk 51 bomb racks under a P-61 aircraft. The Gorgon IV was considered the U.S.'s first successful ramjet missile, although it never became operational.

Twelve test flights of the Gorgon IV were made at the Naval Air Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, California. The tests went well and by late 1948 the Navy began fitting the USS Norton Sound for trials for launching the missile the deck, but the project was cancelled in 1949. The missile shown here appears to have been flown and recovered. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1966 by the U.S. Navy.

Collection Item Long Description:


ca. 1946

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Gift of U.S. Navy


Country of Origin

United States of America


Overall, aluminum, Alcoa sheets ALCLAD 2451, D245-T; Formica or other plastic component, small square, on right side, near nose [when missile faces front], with steel bolts securing this component to missile; two white fabric strips or belts, for securing electronic components, also on right side of missile, near nose, these strips each with steel buckle; identical straps on opposite side of missile; individual lead weights at front of missile, on both sides; electrical wire along right side, near front, with brown plastic insulation, the number 85 printed on it in black; dynamotor, on right side, near nose, steel; adjacent strip of eight screws, with cut wires attached, wires with white fabric or plastic insulation; many wire bundles, with white plastic insulation, on top of missile, before warhead, and above the number 19; some flush screws on wings, steel; flush rivets on wings, aluminum; torpedo-shaped pods, red, on end of each front wing, non-ferrous metal, possibly aluminum; wooden blunt nose on each of these pods, secured by steel screws; nosecone, aluminum; aluminum piping of top of ramjet; ramjet proper, non-ferrous metal; tape, tan, very faded, along several places of the fuselage, and also around opening of ramjet, in back of missile, under wing in front and underneath nose of ramjet; possibly small copper component, on right side of missile, near front, since this component is of dark green color, characteristic of deteriorated copper


Overall: 22 ft. 3/4 in. long x 1 ft. 10 in. diameter x 10 ft. 1 1/2 in. wing span, 800 lb. (672.47 x 55.88 x 308.61cm, 362.9kg)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

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