First Regulus Missile Launched From A Submarine 1953

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USS Tunny prepares to launch a Regulus missile (Photo US Navy)

On 15 July 1953, the USS Tunny SS-282 would become the first submarine to launch a Regulus cruise missile. The Regulus cruise missile development began in 1947  and it was built by the Chance Vought Aircraft company.  The unmanned turbojet powered Regulus system was capable of delivering a thermonuclear warhead, either the 3000 pound (40-50 kiloton yield) W5 or the 2800 pound (1-2 megaton yield) W27 within a range of 500 nautical miles. Regulus would be carried as a nuclear deterrent aboard submarines in the United States Navy from 1953 to 1964. Watch the launch  below…

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16 thoughts on “First Regulus Missile Launched From A Submarine 1953

  1. Butch:

    Always enjoy the “Call the Ball”. I was REGUUS I Missile officer on the USS LOS ANGELES (CA135) 1959-1960. Durig that time we had five red birds and one blue bilrd sucessful launches. Besides the submarine the missle was also on several heavy curisers.

    Have a great day,

    Watt.

  2. I was aboard the Tunny after her Regulas deployments and during her conversion to APSS. I was always proud of my time aboard and earning my SS designation on her.

  3. I reported aboard the USS Tunny SSG-282 in 1957 as a Seaman and was part of the launch crew. As soon as the missile comes out of the hangar, I would attach the RC antenna to the fuselage and I would jump out before it is raised to it’s launch position.

    • My father may have been there during this time if not a few years earlier. His name is Edward N. Turenne he was a baker and would be turning 90 years old he just passed away on March 10, 2012. I am looking through his military paper work and learning more about this man then I could even imagine.

  4. I was stationed at the USNAMTC, Point Mugu California during the early tests of the Regulus. (Rember the Regal as well???) Anyone out there who was stationed at Mugu during the early 50’s?? I worked at the Director of Tests, building 36, as well as the metal shop as an Aviation Metalsmith.

    Now at 80 years old, I wonder.

  5. SSG 242 was my qual. boat in 1956 Made trips to Dutch Harbor and Pearl Harbor for simulated War launches. Left before she was moved to Pearl. Did lots of testing out of Port Hueneme. At night we would anchor in Wilson Cove on San Clementy Island and fish. Almost everyone had a fishing pole stored on board.

  6. My first duty station was Guided Missile Group Two in Chincoteague, Va. 1956- 1959. In 1959 we moved the squadron to Roosevelt Roads. Switched to Regulas II and F9F-6K drone. I was a bright eyed Yeoman. We stopped work to watch launch and landing. Great memories. We lost a few on launch and only 1 landing that verred to the left hit the grass and barely missed our flight line.

  7. I was stationed on San Nicolas Island (Pt. Mugu detachment) in 1951-52. I witnessed the crash of an early Regulus as they attempted to land it on the Island. I was lying on a dirt berm just off the taxiway. The parabrake failed to fill up on touchdown. The missile ran off the end of the runway into the anchor chain barrier. The missile turned upside down and the jet engine raised a big dust cloud until it finally shut down. Exciting for a 19 year old sailor.

  8. I was an ET, stationed at GMU-10, SubBase, PH, from August 1961 to November 1963. Some of our GMU-10 guys went to Bonham Detachment, Kauai, and witnessed an FTM landing; the Red Bird did a bit of a ground loop, as it came in fast–the chase plane pilot had popped the parabrake about five minutes early, and there was no retarding action. Still, the bird remained upright through slewing 270 degrees on the landing. Just saw what Bob D. wrote of the parabrake problem above… I would enjoy chatting with GMU-10 guys-post here, or email osugeography@aol.com, Marvin

  9. I was an ET on the USS Carbonero SS 337 in1957. We were present and guided several missiles fired from the Tunny and the Hellena. The Tunny fired the missile and guided it until it was handed off to Carbonero then to Cusk or vice versa. From the launch until landing of the missile there were at least two boats doing the guidance. The guidance was with a PIX radar built by Stavid Electronics on Long Island.

  10. Just spent a week May 2003 IN Port Hueneme and Poing Mugu.Found very few people there were aware of the subs there and the work they did in the 50s.Even the man at the SeeBee muzeam who had been there since 1956 did not no of the subs.
    They would be glad to have a display about the events of that time.My wife and I are designing a quilted wall hanging with text and photos. I do not remember what the squidren number was. can any one help.Bill Jonker submarine624@earthlink.net

  11. I was on Tunny SSG282 8/60 thru 9/63. Made 2 runs. Also, got to go on the shakedown cruise to Tahiti. Great times, good friends, fantastic leaders.

  12. When I arrived at Mugu in 1952 I was assigned to the Director of Tests, building 36 as a draftsman. A little later I struck for AMAN (metal smith). Worked on the first German “buzz-bomb” that the US had obtained for tests. Had JATO bottles on it and it was controlled by a mechanic using a radio-control similar to those used today for RC planes. The Sec. of the Navy and a bunch of politicians were there for the test. The bird blasted off, but only one JATO fired and the thing turned upside down. The dude with the control, in a panic, pulled back on the joystick, which of course did not make the unit rise, but slashed down in the ocean. Everyone just turned and left!!!!!

  13. I was stationed at GMU 10 in ’63 and ’64. Had good friends at the unit and from the boats. Transferred to Kauai in late ’64 where we phased out the remaining birds for the next year and half or so.The last one fired splashed on launch….sort of a sad end to the program.

  14. I was stationed at N.A.S. Chincoteague in 1953/54 with Guided Missile Group 2. A great experience coming from N.A.S., N.O.T.S. China Lake, California to witness the beginning of the Regulus to go into the squadron after it’s development to R.A.M. GMGRU-2

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