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Missile, Air-to-Air, Ruhrstahl X-4, Main Body


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:

The German X-4 was a small air-to-air missile of World War II that could be fired at heavily armed Allied bombers from a distance. To prevent jamming, guidance was by wires running between the missile and launch aircraft, rather than by radio. Slated for use on the Me 262 jet fighter, the X-4 could also have been fired from such piston-engine aircraft as the Ju 88, Ju 388, and Fw 190, all of which launched test missiles beginning in August 1944.

Ruhrstahl produced 1,000 X-4 airframes in late 1944, but an Allied air raid destroyed the BMW engines and production lines, a blow from which the program never recovered. The Smithsonian obtained this missile body from the U.S. Navy in 1948 as a part of transfer of World War II missile artifacts.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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


Credit Line

Transferred from the U.S. Navy Department


Aluminum, sheet steel


Overall: 4ft 2in. x 8 3/4in. (127 x 22.23cm)

Country of Origin



CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

Inventory Number