3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 7, 2020 11:25 PM by gary santos

    Seeking information about Regulus Missile on USS Randolph

    gary santos Wayfarer

      I'm looking for information on the Regulus cruise missiles on USS Randolph (CVA-15). So far, I know the Randolph test fired the Regulus in early 1956. Then deployed with 3 or 4 missiles to the Mediterranean. USS Hancock pioneered the use of launching the Regulus from its steam catapults. This allowed unimpeded flight operations from her deck during missile launch. However, USS Randolph never modified with steam catapults. Instead, she had WWII vintage hydraulic catapults. The picture below of the test launch appears Regulus is on a cradle attached to the starboard catapult, but the picture below that shows the Regulus being launched without running the length of the catapult. I'm unclear how Regulus would be launched from Randolph? Once in the air, the missile would be guided by a pilot flying a modified FJ-3D Fury of Guided Missile Group 2 Det 36. The Regulus submarines were equipped with nuclear tipped missiles. There's no mention of type of warheads on surface warships whether nuclear or conventional. Randolph's Mediterranean cruise with Regulus coincided with the Suez Crisis. This means if the doomsday weapon was aboard, Randolph had her finger on the trigger of 3 or 4 nukes. Any information on Regulus on Randolph would be greatly appreciated.


        • Re: Seeking information about Regulus Missile on USS Randolph
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Mr. Santos,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Records Related to "The History of Pilotless Aircraft and Guided Missiles", 1953 - 1958 in the Records of the Bureau of Aeronautics (Record Group 72) which includes information on the Regulus missile. The Records of the Bureau of Ships (Record Group 19), the Records of the the Bureau of Ordnance (Record Group 74), and the Records of Naval Operating Forces (Record Group) also have series which may include information about the USS Randolph and the Regulus missile.  These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2).


          RDT2 will be pleased to make the finding aids to these records available to you or your representative in the Textual Research Room located 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, near the University of Maryland--College Park campus. The Textual Research Room (Room 2000) hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. The RDT2 consultation room hours are 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. No appointment is necessary. Prior to your visit, please consult College Park websites at https://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/college-park/https://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/self-service-copying.html, and https://www.archives.gov/research/start/getting-started.pdf.


          Please be aware that records regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons may still be classified.  It may be necessary to request some of the relevant records under a Freedom of Information Act request or a Mandatory Declassification Review.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

          • Re: Seeking information about Regulus Missile on USS Randolph
            Alex Daverede Adventurer



            An excellent secondary source on the Regulus missile is the book “Regulus: The Forgotten Weapon” by  David K. Stumpf (Turner Publishing, 1996).  Page 91 discusses the Regulus deployment aboard USS Randolph (CV-15) in 1956.  As to the Regulus launch capabilities aboard the Randolph as compared to that aboard the USS Hancock (CV-19), Turner noted that GMGGRU-2 made use of an improved  Induced Pitch Launcher (IPL) to allow the carrier to launch Regulus from its H-8 catapults.  The IPL allowed the Regulus to use a higher angle-of-attack at take off, which, combined with the powerful thrust of the missile’s Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) rockets, allowed the Regulus to leave Randolph’s flight deck in the fashion shown in your second image.


            I hope you find this information useful.


            A. J.