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Bendix/McDonnell/General Dynamics Typhon SAM

Mark Nankivil

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Greetings All -

Attached is an image and short blurb I came across in an engineering orientation manual for McDonnell Aircraft dated 1963. I had not heard of this missile before and see that there is a short mention of it in another thread on Royal Navy shipborne SAMs. I had been looking for it using McDonnell as the primary contractor but did see this after I put Bendix as the lead - http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-50.html Based on that info, the program was canceled at the end of 1963 not too long after this manual was published.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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TomS

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There are a couple of threads about Typhon already on this site:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,690.0.html

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3275.0.html

Included below is an essay I wrote about a decade ago that I think encapsulates the main elements of the system, why it was developed, and why it didn't work as planned. It's a bit dated and could use some additional research (it doesn't deal as much with the missile as with the radar and associated combat system), but I hope it's a good overview. (If you've seen it before on Usenet, I've fixed a couple of typos and infelicitous phrases, but it's otherwise the same.)

*********************************************************
The Typhon Weapon System

By the late 1950s, it was becoming apparent that the Navy's first generation of surface-to-air missiles (the So called 3-T family, Talos, Terrier, and Tartar) were not going to be well suited to a range of new threats anticipated to enter service by the late 1960s or early 1970s. These threats included submarine-launched anti-ship missiles and large air raids with standoff missile shooters and jammers. A new system was needed. It would have to engage bombers and jammers at long range, which implied a large missile, but also handle pop-up threats at short range, which implied little reaction time and the ability to engage many targets at once.

To meet the requirement that the new system be able to handle large numbers of targets, it was clear that the traditional rotating radars would have to
go, as would the practice of using one designator for each track the system engaged. Therefore, any new system would have to adopt some form of
electronic scanning. The search radar would probably also have to perform fire control duties.

The Radar:

The core of the Typhon system was its novel SPS-59 radar. Unlike previous radars, it had no rotating antennas. Rather it used a large fixed spherical
emitter array and thee smaller receive arrays spaced around the base of the transmitting antenna. It operated in C-band, a compromise between
long-range search and fire control requirements, but really not optimal for either role. The frequency selection made a planar array (a la AEGIS)
impractical, because the existing C-band phase shifters of the era were large and inefficient in transmitting energy.

Instead, the transmitting system was based around a Luneberg lens beamformer, which allowed the system to switch beams very quickly without a
mechanical training antenna. A Luneberg Lens has the characteristic of transforming a signal point signal injected into it one side into a flat
wavefront on the other. To transmit a beam in a specific direction, the system would activate a single emitter directed into the lens, which would
send a signal through the lens to a number of receiver horns on the other side. These signals would then be switched through a bank of amplifiers and
then switched again to send them to the appropriate traveling wave tube emitters in the antenna. Each of these elements had to be carefully
connected; there could be no more than 5mm difference in the lengths of the various signal paths or the signals would be unacceptably distorted at the
antenna. (Receive characteristics are not so widely quoted, but the principal was the same.)

Two version of the radar were planned, one for destroyers and one for cruisers. The destroyer version was to have 3,600 elements in the
beamformer, 900 amplifiers, and 3,400 elements in the antenna. The cruiser version was to have 10,800 elements in the beamformer, 2,700 amplifiers, and 10,200 elements in the antenna.

In the event, the initial tests of a much-simplified version aboard Norton Sound showed the system was not going to work. Reliability and signal processing software were both problematic, but the major problem was that the system was losing far too much of the signal strength in the processing process. Consequently, in some tests, maximum range was less than the selected frequency's minimum range to resolve targets.

The Missiles:

There were two missiles associated with Typhon. They had some common guidance elements but were largely unrelated.

Typhon (Medium Range) was initially called Super Tartar and was based closely on the improved Tartar then under development but with guidance
adapted to Typhon. It was meant mainly to deal with short-range pop-up threats and leakers that got past the outer layer. Like Tartar, Typhon MR was
13.5 inches in diameter and about 15 feet long. It was to have a maximum range of 40nm and a max altitude of 80,000 feet (minimum 1.5nm and 50 feet), with a reaction time of 10 seconds or less. MR was to be compatible with the fast-firing Mk13 launcher.

Typhon (Long Range) was an entirely new missile meant to break up raids at long range and engage standoff missile shooters and jammers. Initially
called Super Talos, it was nevertheless a roughly Terrier-sized two-stage missile. The booster was a conventional solid rocket motor; the upper stage
was ramjet powered, 16 inches in diameter and about 15 feet long. Typhon LR went through a couple of configurations, starting with a tapered delta wing and a center inlet and ending with narrow-span wings with ramjet inlets at the wing roots. * It had a max range of 200nm and a max altitude of 100,000 feet (minimum 3nm and 50 ft), at a speed of about Mach 4. Typhon LR was supposed to be compatible with the Terrier's Mk10 launcher with minimal modifications.

Both missiles shared a common warhead design, which was to have interchangeable conventional and nuclear versions.

Guidance was also the same for both systems. For most of the flight, the SPG-59 radar tracked the missile and sent steering commands to get the
missile into position for terminal homing. Terminal homing was by track-via-missile; the missile seeker receiving reflected energy from the SPG-59 and downlinking the resulting signal back to the ship, which processed it and sent back steering commands. (Because it was also a search radar, SPG-59 used pulsed signals, which could not be processed effectively in a small missile with the technology of the day). This worked, but imposed rather significant demands on the radar, which was asked to also serve as a data link. The system could control 20 missiles in flight, but no more than 10 in terminal homing.

Conclusion:

Typhon was a noble effort, but the technical approach taken had too many inherent problems, from the compromised frequency selection to the
mechanical complexity of the construction.

Given the precision require and the sheer number of elements involved, one can immediately see that building the radar was challenging to put it
kindly. Most likely, it would never have been affordable, even if the signal processing and loss problems were overcome.

Some elements of the design did contribute to the development of AEGIS (most notably the general idea of electronically scanned radar and the decision to provide terminal guidance only in the late stage of the missile's flight.).

But in large, AEGIS built on Typhon's lessons of how not to do things. Thus, the decision to adopt planar phased arrays, continuous-wave terminal
illumination, and S-band radars were all based on the realization that Typhon's approach to the same issues was unsuccessful.

Sources:

CAPT Bryce D. Inman, USN, "From Typhon to AEGIS - The Issues and Their Resolution," _Naval Engineer's Journal_, May 1988

Milton Gussow, "Typhon: A Weapon System Ahead of its Time," _Naval Engineer's Journal_, July 1997

Norman Friedman, _U.S. Naval Weapons_, Naval Institute Press, 1983
 

airrocket

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Typhon SAM-very little information to be located....must something very unique for this missile to remain so blurry after all these years??
 

sferrin

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http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-50.html

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-55.html
 

sferrin

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airrocket said:
Difficult to discern by grainy photo's and the rendering if the missile had two, three or four wings with tiperons?

Four wings. Can't really tell what the control surfaces look like. Sorta looks like the tips pivot similar to the Zeus A.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Greetings All -

I had the opportunity to visit a friend who has a large collection of aviation photos and documents and spend a few days scanning away. I came across the only photo of the Typhon I have ever seen so here it is...

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Stargazer2006

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Mark Nankivil said:
Greetings All -

I had the opportunity to visit a friend who has a large collection of aviation photos and documents and spend a few days scanning away.


Wow. Can't wait to see the treasures you will come up with... Thanks a lot for your efforts!
 

Delta Force

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According to Wikipedia, this is an image of a 1962 RIM-50 Typhon missile test. This would have been the Typhon LR. The Typhon MR was the RIM-55.

Also, could the Typhon missiles have been used to replace the older air defense missiles before the arrival of the Standard Missile? Typhon LR would have been a useful replacement for the Talos and would have really helped naval air defense prior to the arrival of the F-14 and AEGIS.

 

TomS

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No. The Typhon missiles used track-via-missile terminal guidance and were inherently dependant on the Typhon radar and fire control system, which could not have been backfitted to older ships.

Typhon LR wasn't even compatible with any other launchers.

Typhon MR was basically a modernized Tarter and evolved into Standard Missile-1 MR, so it could fit legacy launchers like Mk 13. But Typhon MR itself would not work with any legacy fire control systems.
 

Delta Force

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Were power requirements the major issue that would have held back a retrofit, assuming the Typhon was made workable? Could the nuclear powered ships such as Long Beach, Bainbridge, and Truxtun have been retrofitted with some or all of the capabilities of the Typhon LR or Typhon MR systems, perhaps to serve as testbeds?
 

TomS

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Just having nuclear power wouldn't give you the necessary electrical capacity. You'd need to add additional ship-service turbogenerators, which would entail a fairly significant reconstruction.

Typhon also came with significant top-weight, much more than the radars it would have replaced (the prototype Luneberg lens was essentially a giant stone ball). Long Beach might have been able to take it, after cutting down the whole existing superstructure and rebuilding. The smaller DLGNs could not have carried it at all.
 

Delta Force

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It also seems there might need to be an extensive surplus of electrical capacity. Elsewhere on the site, one post mentions that the radar would have had a peak output of 8.7 megawatts and an average output of 200 megawatts. Is that accurate? 200 megawatts would be a massive amount of power for a radar system, making it more of a nuclear power barge than a warship. The D2G reactor used on most of the nuclear powered surface ships had a maximum thermal output of 150 megawatts, which is roughly around 50 megawatts electrical. Four reactors would have been needed just to run the radar at 200 megawatts.
 

starviking

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Delta Force said:
It also seems there might need to be an extensive surplus of electrical capacity. Elsewhere on the site, one post mentions that the radar would have had a peak output of 8.7 megawatts and an average output of 200 megawatts. Is that accurate? 200 megawatts would be a massive amount of power for a radar system, making it more of a nuclear power barge than a warship. The D2G reactor used on most of the nuclear powered surface ships had a maximum thermal output of 150 megawatts, which is roughly around 50 megawatts electrical. Four reactors would have been needed just to run the radar at 200 megawatts.


The power output figures seem strange - peak output should be higher than average output.
 

Delta Force

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starviking said:
The power output figures seem strange - peak output should be higher than average output.

That and 200 megawatts is massive power consumption. Perhaps it's supposed to be 20 megawatts or two peak, and 8.7 average?
 

Moose

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Those numbers are a bit questionable, someone may be mixing megas and kilos, but yes Typhon was found to require nukes. Not because a conventional plant couldn't operate it, Norton Sound was after all not a nuclear ship, but because operating the radar for any amount of time severely taxed a conventional plant. Calculations at the time showed range reductions in the thousands of miles just from all the extra oil being burned to keep the radar going, plus maximum speed and mean time between overhauls took a massive hit. Not to mention the gigantic number of replacement vacuum tubes the ships would need to cart around. It was an interesting system, just like SCANFAR was, but the vision was just too far ahead of the technology.
 

Delta Force

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Wasn't there a transistorized radar set that was deployed or under development by the Royal Navy around the same time as Typhon? I think it was the Type 984 or Type 985 radar.
 

starviking

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Delta Force said:
Wasn't there a transistorized radar set that was deployed or under development by the Royal Navy around the same time as Typhon? I think it was the Type 984 or Type 985 radar.


IIRC it was the Type 985, but there is little info on it. It was probably in an early planning stage, so far from deployment.
 

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