Talos Missile


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Rockets and Missiles exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Talos ship-to-air missile used by the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1979, and developed by the Bendix Corporation. The Talos had a ramjet main stage and a first-stage, solid-fuel rocket booster that burned for two seconds, then dropped off after it had accelerated the missile to the high speed necessary for the ramjet to operate. The booster is not shown.

Development of the Talos began about 1945 as part of Project Bumblebee, that led to a family of missiles that included the Terrier, Tartar, and Talos. The Johns Hopkins University conducted most of the research for the Talos. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1982 from the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Applied Physics Laboratory, John Hopkins University


Country of Origin

United States of America


Mainly non-ferrous metal, possibly titanium or aluminum; central body section, from the single black band on top to the one on the bottom, steel; steel ring around rear; red plastic cylinder on upper protrusion from front of missile, with words, "Remove Prior to Firing"; two orange plastic caps on two smaller pitot-like spikes projecting from front of missile; two matching spikes on bottom lacking these caps, although missile may still be exhibited without the additional caps; ring around pointed nose, steel


  • Overall: 21 ft. 4 1/2 in. long x 2 ft. 4 1/4 in. diameter x 9 ft. 2 in. front wing span (651.51 x 71.76 x 279.4cm)
  • Other (rear fins): 6 ft. 2 1/4 in. wing span (188.6cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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


CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

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