The Regulus Missile 0:44
At the end of Second World War America found herself with a strong submarine force of little strategic importance. Based on the design of the German V1 rocket, the Regulus guided cruise missile program ushered in a new era that changed the strategic role of the submarine forever.

Development of the Regulus Cruise Missile SSM-N-8 began in 1947 by the United States Navy and Chance Vought Aircraft. This unmanned turbojet powered vehicle system was capable of delivering a 3000 pound 40-50 kiloton W5 or 2800 pound 1-2 megaton W27 thermonuclear warhead within a range of 500 nautical miles.

Today the Regulus is all but forgotten ... a historical footnote to its successors - the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident ballistic missiles that could be launched from submerged nuclear powered submarines. Regulus was also critical in paving the way for the development of today's sophisticated Tomahawk cruise missile, and served as an important nuclear deterrent in the early days of the Cold War and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Regulus was first deployed by the US Navy in 1955 in the Pacific onboard the cruiser USS Los Angeles (CA-135). By 1956 the surface launched Regulus was deployed onboard specially designed diesel powered submarines. The USS TUNNY (SSG-282) and USS BARBERO (SSG-317) were our Nations first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines. They were joined by three additional Regulus submarines, USS GRAYBACK (SSG-574), USS GROWLER (SSG-577), and the nuclear powered USS HALIBUT (SSGN-587). Regulus submarine nuclear deterrent patrols ceased in 1964.

A second generation supersonic Regulus II Cruise Missile was under development to succeed Regulus I with a range of 1,200 nautical miles and a speed of Mach 2. However, even though testing of Regulus II was successful, the program was canceled for budgetary reasons prior to going operational in favor of the Polaris ballistic nuclear missile.
Submitted by: navycorpsman
Keywords: Regulus cruise missile us navy atomic nuclear USS Hancock
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