Missile, Air-to-Air, Gorgon 3A

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    Missile, Air-to-Air, Gorgon 3A

    Yellow monoplane with conventional airframe and high-wing construction, nose fins, and twin vertical tail fins; rocket-powered with rocket motor intact and can be seen when rear cone or cowling is removed; this cowling dented. Interior can easily be viewed by open panels in mid-section of fusleage and reveals intricate, all-wood construction throughout the length of the missile, including spirally lathed wooden conical rear section. Interior, mid-section also contains some of the original electronics of missile, including a black box with a knob on it, and two smaller black boxes, each 11 inches long, 6.75 inches high, and 5 inches wide, possiblly a pair of batteries or battery holder boxes; interior also with wire bundles, with white plastic insulation. Nose, clear plexiglas, but broken.

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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.