Gorgon IIA Missile

Display Status:

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

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Gorgon II-A, claimed as the U.S.'s first liquid-fuel, rocket-powered guided missile. It was developed as an air-to-air weapon by the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) in World War II. With a range of 18 miles, the Gorgon II-A utilized a television guidance system to locate the target and was controlled by radio signals. Only 21 Gorgon II-A's were built and flight tested during 1945-1946. This is one of the few surviving examples.

The Gorgon was also one of America's first attempts to use television in guided missiles for target tracking although the TV transmissions were weak. The missile's rocket motor produced 350 pounds of thrust. The program was cancelled in 1946. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1951 by the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics.