Missile, Air-to-Air, Gorgon 3A


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Shown here is the Gorgon 3A, one of a series of World War II-era air-to-air missiles developed by the U.S. Navy. It never became operational, but the Gorgon 3A served as a productive test vehicle that provided much information about the design, handling, and performance of guided missile technology.

Reaction Motors, Inc., a division of the Thiokol Chemical Corporation, built the engine, which burned for 130 seconds and produced 350 pounds of thrust. The propellant consisted of monoethyl-aniline and a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acid. The range of the Gorgon 3A was 12 miles at a maximum speed of 525 miles per hour. It carried a 257-pound fragmentation bomb, a television guidance system, and a homing device.

The U.S. Navy transferred this missile to the Museum in 1966.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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

Credit Line

U.S. Navy


  • Fuselage and wings entirely of wood, excluding steel screws and hinges for panels, internal pipe bracings for wings and fuselage interior; motor, non-ferrous metal, nozzle possibly of aluminum; interior also with wire bundles, with white plastic insulation.
  • Wood
  • Paint
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Zinc Chromate
  • Stainless Steel
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic Rubber
  • Natural Fabric
  • CadmiumResin


Overall: 12 ft. 6 1/4 in. x 50 1/4 in. x 11 ft. x 50 1/4 in. (381.6 x 127.6 x 335.3 x 127.6cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America




CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

Inventory Number


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