During WWII, the US Navy experienced the use of drones to attack heavily defended targets that were difficult to access for manned aircraft. Until October 1944, 48 drone missions were successfully completed. Soon after, the US Navy began a cruise missile program to replace the drones. After capturing abundant information from the German Kriegsmarine, in 1946 the conversion of two submarines was authorized to carry, launch and guide missiles of the “Loon” program, based on the German V-2 rockets. The Regulus-I cruise missile would be developed by Vought Corporation since 1946, and in 1950 a system was obtained to transfer the guide from the launcher to another platform. That was essential due to the great reach of the weapon, because the launcher did not have the capacity to guide the missile at such distance at that time. The first successful flight was made in March 1951. In November 1952 the first launch was made from a surface ship, and in July 1953 the first submarine launch was carried out. Finally, Regulus-I missile entered service in September 1955. In 1957 there were sixteen Regulus-I missile launcher ships: 10 Essex class aircraft carriers, 4 cruisers and the USS Tunney and USS Barbero submarines.  Subsequently, other Regulus-I missile submarines entered service but this missile was withdrawn in 1964 due to its obsolete guidance system and the arrival of the powerful Polaris SLBM missile.

REGULUS I gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin

United States


Vought corporation


Submarine-launched cruise missile

Entered service


Missile/bomb dimensions, (length x diameter)

9.80 x 1.43 meters

Missile/bomb weight

6,205 kg

Missile speed

Cruise: 990 km/h – Terminal dive: Mach 1.1 (1,345 km/h)

Missile range

1,065 km

Guidance system

Radio command

Warhead, (explosive charge)

Type: Nuclear W-5 fission or W-27 thermonuclear

Yield, (maximum)

W.5 warhead: 50 Kilotons – W.27: 2 Megatons

C.E.P., (circular error probability)

5,325 meters