Gorgon IV Target Drone

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

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

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.