RIM-50 Typhon LR
RIM-55 Typhon MR
Typhon LR on launcher
TypeLong range surface-to-air missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States Navy
Production history
ManufacturerBendix Corporation
Specifications (Typhon LR)
Mass1,700 lb (770 kg) without booster
3,620 lb (1,640 kg) with booster
Length15 ft 6 in (4.72 m) without booster
27 ft 7 in (8.41 m) with booster
Diameter16 in (410 mm) missile
18.5 in (470 mm) booster
Wingspan3 ft 4 in (1.02 m) missile
5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) booster
Warhead150 lb (68 kg) high explosive
or W60 nuclear
Proximity fuse

EngineBooster, solid-propellant rocket
Sustainer, Bendix ramjet
200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km)
Flight ceiling95,000 ft (29,000 m)
Maximum speed Mach 4.0
Inertial cruise; SARH terminal
ReferencesParsch 2001a[1]

Typhon was a missile system developed by the United States Navy in the late 1950s, intended to serve as an integrated air-defense system for Navy fleets. Consisting of the SAM-N-8 Typhon LR, later designated RIM-50A, and the SAM-N-9 Typhon MR, later RIM-55A, paired with the AN/SPG-59 radar system, the cost of the Typhon system led to it being cancelled in favor of the Standard Missile program.

Design and development

Development of Typhon was initiated in the late 1950s, as the existing Talos, Terrier, and Tartar ("3 Ts") long-, medium-, and short-ranged missiles were considered to be approaching obsolescence;[2] in the event of a mass attack by Soviet bomber forces, the requirement for each missile to have its own dedicated target illuminator would lead to rapid saturation of the defensive system. The Typhon system, developed under a contract awarded to the Bendix Corporation, would overcome this through the use of the AN/SPG-59 electronically scanned array radar system, capable of tracking and engaging multiple targets simultaneously.[3]

The missile system to complement the radar was originally named Super Talos (long-range) and Super Tartar (short-range), but to avoid confusion with upgrades for the existing missiles was soon renamed Typhon.[1] Typhon LR, the only version of the Typhon missile system to be test-flown, was ramjet-powered and capable of intercepting high-speed aircraft and missiles. It could engage targets in the Mach 3–4 range at between 50 feet (15 m) to 95,000 feet (29,000 m) altitude and 6,000 yards (5,500 m) to 110 nautical miles (130 mi; 200 km) range. A secondary capability in the surface-to-surface role, capable of targeting enemy ships, was also included in the specification.[1] While primarily intended to be armed with a conventional high explosive warhead, Typhon LR was designed to be capable of carrying the W60 nuclear warhead.[4]

Typhon MR was designed to be capable of intercepting aircraft at between 50 feet (15 m) to 50,000 feet (15,000 m) in altitude and 3,000 yards (2,700 m) to 25 nautical miles (29 mi; 46 km) range. It had yet to enter testing before the Typhon project was cancelled.[5]

Operational history

In March 1961, the first test launches of the SAM-N-8 Typhon LR took place;[1] beginning in 1962, the test ship USS Norton Sound entered refit to install the Typhon Weapon Control System to allow at-sea tests to be undertaken.[6] However, the expense of the Typhon system, combined with the technical issues encountered during development, led to the program being cancelled in November 1963. The conversion of Norton Sound was allowed to be completed to provide test data,[7] with the ship recommissioning in June 1964; following the tests, the Typhon equipment was removed in July 1966.[6]

In lieu of Typhon, the U.S. Navy developed the Standard Missile family to provide air defense for the fleet, with the RIM-66 Standard and RIM-67 Standard ER missiles replacing Tartar and Terrier, respectively.[1]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e Parsch 2001a
  2. ^ Senate Committee on Appropriations 1964, p. 521.
  3. ^ Boslaugh 1999, p. 379.
  4. ^ Polmar and Norris 2009, p. 224.
  5. ^ Parsch 2001b
  6. ^ a b DANFS 1970
  7. ^ Boslaugh 1999, p.180.


  • Boslaugh, David L. (1999). When Computers Went to Sea: The Digitization of the United States Navy. Los Alamitos, CA: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society Press. ISBN 0-471-47220-4.
  • "Norton Sound". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, N-Q. Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center. 1970. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  • Parsch, Andreas (30 September 2001). "Bendix SAM-N-8/RIM-50 Typhon LR". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  • Parsch, Andreas (30 September 2001). "Bendix SAM-N-9/RIM-55 Typhon MR". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  • Polmar, Norman; Robert S. Norris (2009). The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal:A History of Weapons and Delivery Systems since 1945 (1st ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-5575-0681-8.
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations (1964). Department of Defense Appropriations, 1965: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Department of Defense of the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, Eighty-eighth Congress, Second Session on H.R. 10939. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2017-12-20.