Collection Item Summary:
This is a wind tunnel model of the Little Joe surface-to-air missile of World War II. The U.S. Navy conceived this missile in 1944 for use against Japanese suicide Kamikaze attacks on Navy ships. The sustainer motor was a standard solid propellant Aerojet General JATO (Jet-Assisted-Take-Off) unit of 1,000 lbs thrust for eight seconds. The boosters were to be four wrap-around 3-inch solid propellant Cordite rocket motors, each of 1,000 lbs of thrust for 1.25 seconds. However, when the war ceased, about fifteen of the missiles had been built and were continuing tests. There was no further need for the weapon and the project was cancelled.
This object was found in the Smithsonian collections but was likely transferred by the U.S. Navy unit at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.