Guided missileU. S. Navy guided missile development began in the closing days of World War II, when the Japanese Kamikaze threatened allied naval forces off Okinawa and Japan. With the end of the war, development slowed but never ended. By the late 1950s, a family of three surface-to-air missiles (SAM) existed (collectively known as the "3T's"):
Talos - Talos was the long-range member of the 3T family. A solid fueled booster rocket was used to launch the missile, after which a ram-jet took over for sustained flight. The missile had a range in excess of 60 nautical miles (actual range classified). The missile "rode" along a guidance beam of radio-frequency energy, transmitted from a guidance radar transmitter. A large and separate radar tracked the target throughout the engagement. A computer was used to "close the loop" by bringing the two radar beams into convergence at intercept. The missile flew using fairly large wings that were affixed to the missile prior to loading it on the launcher.
Terrier - Terrier was the medium-range member (more than 30 miles) of the triad. Both the booster and sustainer rocket motors were solid fueled. The tracking and illumination radars were mounted on a common rotating tower. The missile detected the presence of the illumination beam via a set of body-mounted antennas and searched for the same beam being reflected from the target using a swivel antenna mounted in the nose of the missile. The missile then generated its own guidance signals and pursued a modified lead intercept path to the target. Missile steering was accomplished by movable tail fins, mounted prior to launch.
Tartar - Tartar was the short-range (more than 15 miles) member of the group. Tartar had a "dual-purpose" rocket motor than contained both booster propellant and sustainer propellant (the inner grains were booster - the outer were sustainer). Otherwise, it worked in the same basic manner as the Terrier missile.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Talos missile, because of maintenance costs, was being phased out and out-year development of the Terrier and Tartar systems was being merged into the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2). The SM-2 is now the main SAM in use on "G-ships."
The SM-2 guided missile is launched from a vertical storage and launcher unit (on all ships except FFGs). The missile is available in several variants, within the major divisions of ER (extended range) and MR (medium range). On modern guided missile cruisers and destroyers, the SM-2 is associated with the Aegis combat system.