A long-range anti-aircraft missile, the Talos missile was deployed by the US Navy between 1959 and 1979 in both nuclear and conventional versions. These missiles were beam-riders, meaning that the target had to be continuously illuminated by radar. The RIM-8E incorporated a continuous wave terminal guidance system which allowed it to attack targets flying as low as 50 feet (15 m). It could also attack targets flying as high as 80,000 feet (24 km).

USS Long Beach CGN-9 shot down two Mig fighter planes with these missiles during the Vietnam War.

Although impressive for their day, these missiles suffered from using vacuum tube technology and having a very large size, which limited the number of ships that they could be used on.


Designation Talos RIM-8
Ship Class Used On Long Beach CGN-9, Albany CG-10 and Galveston CG-3 Classes
Date In Service RIM-8: 1959
RIM-8E: 1962
Weight 8,000 lbs. (3,538 kg)
Dimensions Overall Length: 456 in (11.58 m)
Missile diameter: 28 in (71 cm)
Wing Span: 114 in (2.90 m)
Payload Continuous-rod conventional and Nuclear Warheads
Range RIM-8: 50 nm
RIM-8E: 60 nm
Propulsion Sustainer ram-jet plus separate booster

The conventional warhead had a kill radius of 100 feet (30 m).


Data from:

  • "The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon System 1988/1989" and "US Naval Weapons" both by Norman Friedman

China Lake Museum

External Sites

  • Okieboat, good data and pictures of Talos in operation.