Talos, the SPG-56 and the SPG-61

M. A. Rozon

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Over the course of the life of the Talos system in the USN, the SPG-56 and SPG-61 Missile Fire Control radars were developed to replace the SPG-49 used to guide the Talos missile. Prototypes of each were built but these radars were never introduced into service. Either one would have, no doubt, done much to extend the service life of Talos as well as its performance.

I have the information on these radars from Friedman' book on Naval Radars, U.S. Cruisers and U.S. Naval Weapons but they have no illustrations of these radars and I have yet to find any elsewhere.

I'm hoping someone else has something on these two systems that would give me an idea of what they looked like and how they would have looked onboard a Talos ship (SPG-56 was to have been covered by a radome but I don't even have an illustration of that!).

Thanks in advance.

B)
 

sferrin

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Hard to believe this is the only Talos thread. (It's the only one "Talos" brought up.)

Anyway, those interested in Talos will probably like this. Quite a difference from the Mk41 VLS.

 
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Howedar

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Unfortunately I have no information as to the replacement Talos guidance sets, aside from the information given in Friedman's Radars. I would certainly expect them to replace SPG-49 on a one-for-one basis, with SPW-2 remaining.
 

blackstar

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The USS Little Rock in Buffalo, New York, was a Talos guided missile cruiser. Last time I was there, which was back in the mid 1990s, you could see the magazine. I'm hoping to go back in a few months:

http://www.buffalonavalpark.org/
 

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Nothing about the Radars for the Talos but a lot of information about the missile and magazin :)

http://www.okieboat.com/
 

sferrin

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Anderman said:
Nothing about the Radars for the Talos but a lot of information about the missile and magazin :)

http://www.okieboat.com/

Nice site. Some interesting information on Typhon there as well.
 

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sferrin said:
Hard to believe this is the only Talos thread. (It's the only one "Talos" brought up.)

Anyway, those interested in Talos will probably like this. Quite a difference from the Mk41 VLS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgFIhomusc8

I'm trying to imagine the size of hull that would be needed to contain a Talos VLS, especially if you decided you wanted to put it below decks or behind armour. I can imagine some very cool-headed naval architects' heads exploding just trying to solve the topweight and draught compromises!

Congress: "Money no object, what would it cost?"

Naval designers: (price named)

Congress: *Heads go splodey* PROJECT CANCELLED.
 

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The AN/SPG-56 dates to about 1960. Sperry had the contract and one unit was built, apparently used at White Sands for trials and experimentation. The attached screenshot is from a House hearing on the 1961 Department of Defence appropriations and supports the idea that it was mostly about improving reliability. I hadn't realised that there had been so much evolution of the Talos system, between the digital Talos fire control computers, NTDS installation and the later missile variants (e.g. RIM-8J) it turned into a very different, and much more solid state, system than the one initially used in the cruiser conversions.
 

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isayyo2

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An interesting read from the USS Albany association, nothing really new stated but SPG-61 was planned for the late 60s digital Talos upgrades: https://ussalbany.org/wp-content/up...ument-by-James-Conti-July-1994.compressed.pdf
In the late 1960s a modernization program called for replacement of the existing SPG-49B missile control radar by a new and much more reliable SPG-61, with a new modified Mk 11 WDS and an associate Mk 152 digital computer; at the same time the new SPS-48 radar would replace the earlier SPS-39 and one SPS-30 in Albany class ships. This program was never fully carried out, however.
The author also alludes that if the SPG-61 went into service, then Talos may have stuck around until the 80s. Reliability problems with the SPG-49s were the leading cause of Talos' phase-out in 79. Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?
 

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Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?

I don't believe that is accurate. The Typhon MR fuselage was nearly identical to Tartar TRIP and Standard MR. I'm sure the Mk 13 would have required some modifications to support Typhon MR, but it was physically the right size.
 

isayyo2

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Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?

I don't believe that is accurate. The Typhon MR fuselage was nearly identical to Tartar TRIP and Standard MR. I'm sure the Mk 13 would have required some modifications to support Typhon MR, but it was physically the right size.
Agreed, I thought it was odd too. Most Typhoon DLGNs featured a Mk 10 for LR and Mk 13 for MR, and any development on the RIM-55 were rolled into the Standard program.
 

pathology_doc

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An interesting read from the USS Albany association, nothing really new stated but SPG-61 was planned for the late 60s digital Talos upgrades: https://ussalbany.org/wp-content/up...ument-by-James-Conti-July-1994.compressed.pdf
In the late 1960s a modernization program called for replacement of the existing SPG-49B missile control radar by a new and much more reliable SPG-61, with a new modified Mk 11 WDS and an associate Mk 152 digital computer; at the same time the new SPS-48 radar would replace the earlier SPS-39 and one SPS-30 in Albany class ships. This program was never fully carried out, however.
The author also alludes that if the SPG-61 went into service, then Talos may have stuck around until the 80s. Reliability problems with the SPG-49s were the leading cause of Talos' phase-out in 79. Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?
One of the other issues, IIRC, is that the Talos Clevelands variously didn't have enough space or weight or hull life for the newer systems, one of the double-end Talos Baltimores was also looking shaky, and with those out of contention there wouldn't be enough Talos systems in the fleet to justify the upgrade. Remember, with the exception of the one-off Long Beach, all the Talos cruisers were WW2 vintage.
 

Dilandu

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Well, I suggested once the idea of active-homing Talos as a replacement for Typhon. The idea was to use 1960s phased array radar (a la SCANFAR) only for tracking targets & missiles, use the command guidance for midcourse (instead of beam-riding), and active homing for terminal. The goal was to simultaneously run many interceptions at once, lobbing missiles toward incoming targets and relying on their own seekers.
 

isayyo2

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An interesting read from the USS Albany association, nothing really new stated but SPG-61 was planned for the late 60s digital Talos upgrades: https://ussalbany.org/wp-content/up...ument-by-James-Conti-July-1994.compressed.pdf
In the late 1960s a modernization program called for replacement of the existing SPG-49B missile control radar by a new and much more reliable SPG-61, with a new modified Mk 11 WDS and an associate Mk 152 digital computer; at the same time the new SPS-48 radar would replace the earlier SPS-39 and one SPS-30 in Albany class ships. This program was never fully carried out, however.
The author also alludes that if the SPG-61 went into service, then Talos may have stuck around until the 80s. Reliability problems with the SPG-49s were the leading cause of Talos' phase-out in 79. Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?
One of the other issues, IIRC, is that the Talos Clevelands variously didn't have enough space or weight or hull life for the newer systems, one of the double-end Talos Baltimores was also looking shaky, and with those out of contention there wouldn't be enough Talos systems in the fleet to justify the upgrade. Remember, with the exception of the one-off Long Beach, all the Talos cruisers were WW2 vintage.
True, the Providence class had some serious hogging and ballast issues during their service life. Though I haven't heard anything too negative on the Albany's asides from rapid electronic obsolescence and running costs; it's a real shame there weren't any "single-ended" Talos conversions for the Baltimore and Des Moines classes.
 

T. A. Gardner

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The experimental array on the USS Norton Sound shown here (the large "beehive") was being tested for Typhon, the follow-on to Talos.

1617728864078.png

The eventual suite was to be something like the phased array radars put on Long Beach and [/i]Enterprise[/i], although those were not completely successful. It's likely that the aforementioned radars in this thread would have been part of this array.
 

isayyo2

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Not quite, SPG-59 was a combined search/track/guidance radar and hence why it needed 200MW from a reactor; no need for any conical illumination radars like SPG-49/51/55.

Arms-NH-MJ-17-1.jpg
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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Friedman definitely mentions a Mk 14 launcher for Typhon MR in US Naval Weapons. I'll need to double check, but it may have required features for nuclear-armed Typhon MRs.
 

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Not quite, SPG-59 was a combined search/track/guidance radar and hence why it needed 200MW from a reactor; no need for any conical illumination radars like SPG-49/51/55.

Frankly, this was why SPG-59 failed; they wanted too much from 1950s technology.
 

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The experimental array on the USS Norton Sound shown here (the large "beehive") was being tested for Typhon, the follow-on to Talos.

View attachment 654492

The eventual suite was to be something like the phased array radars put on Long Beach and [/i]Enterprise[/i], although those were not completely successful. It's likely that the aforementioned radars in this thread would have been part of this array.
The SPS-32 & SPS-33 radars of the the Long Beach and Enterprise predated the SPG-59 for Typhon by several years. the SPS-32/33 combination appears on sketch designs for Long Beach in 1956, as also appears on the very first Super Talos/Tartar (ie, Typhon) designs in 1958.

SPG-59 doesn't appear in an identifiable form as single radar combining air search, track and illumination until at least 1960. Enterprise and Long Beach were in service by 1961, whilst the first Typhon ship wasn't going to purchased until Fiscal Year 1963 at the earliest (before being pushed back to FY65, and then being cancelled altogether) and would not have been laid down, let alone built and then commissioned until a few years after that.
 

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Friedman definitely mentions a Mk 14 launcher for Typhon MR in US Naval Weapons. I'll need to double check, but it may have required features for nuclear-armed Typhon MRs.
That was mentioned in the Albany document, the Mk 13 was sealed and could not fit the nuclear safety devices needed.
 

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Page 235, Norman Friedman, US Naval Weapons:
Since 1948 the rocket-launcher series has included the actual launchers of the principal guided missiles: Mk 110 (RAT, for ASW), Mk 112 (ASROC)... ... and Mk 126 (Typhon Medium Range, Mk 14 System).

Page 274, same source:
Mark 14
Mk 13 modified for Typhon (MR) operation, with provision for nuclear warhead safety.
 

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Friedman definitely mentions a Mk 14 launcher for Typhon MR in US Naval Weapons. I'll need to double check, but it may have required features for nuclear-armed Typhon MRs.

Looking at Friedman, he repeats the statement that the Mk 13 could not contain the "slightly larger" Typhon MR (p167). But I believe that is a mistake -- Typhon MR is dimensionally the same as Tartar (and possibly even a few inches shorter than Tartar TRIP).

Friedman also mentions (p274) that the GMLS Mark 14 was a "Mk 13 modified for Typhon (MR) operation, with provision for nuclear warhead safety." This is likely correct, and probably where some confusion arises. Mk 14 would have been larger than Mk 13, because it would have to provide room to access the Typhon MR warheads (at least those stowed the outer ring) and swap in a nuclear warhead when required. This might have accidentally morphed into the idea that the Mk 14 was larger to accommodate a larger missile. The fact that the Typhon LR upper stage was significantly fatter than Tartar (and the Terrier upper stage) might also contribute to this impression.

This APL paper is as close to an official source for Typhon as exists, and it notes that one of the actual design constraints on Typhon MR was the requirement to fit in the Mk 13 launcher "with minimal modifications."

 
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This APL paper is as close to an official source for Typhon as exists, and it notes that one of the actual design constraints on Typhon MR was the requirement to fit in the Mk 13 launcher "with minimal modifications."
I will be willing to bet that the minimal mods have to do with the wiring harness and dataports connections for the INS and the like.

Since as I understand it the Typhon waa in that fun period of changing tech like going from analog to digital and the like.

The Standard Missiles had similar requirements for use out of the Tarter/Terrier launchers. You couldn't just load and fire Standards instead of the Ts even if the fire control systems will work or vice-versa.
 

T. A. Gardner

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The experimental array on the USS Norton Sound shown here (the large "beehive") was being tested for Typhon, the follow-on to Talos.

View attachment 654492

The eventual suite was to be something like the phased array radars put on Long Beach and [/i]Enterprise[/i], although those were not completely successful. It's likely that the aforementioned radars in this thread would have been part of this array.
The SPS-32 & SPS-33 radars of the the Long Beach and Enterprise predated the SPG-59 for Typhon by several years. the SPS-32/33 combination appears on sketch designs for Long Beach in 1956, as also appears on the very first Super Talos/Tartar (ie, Typhon) designs in 1958.

SPG-59 doesn't appear in an identifiable form as single radar combining air search, track and illumination until at least 1960. Enterprise and Long Beach were in service by 1961, whilst the first Typhon ship wasn't going to purchased until Fiscal Year 1963 at the earliest (before being pushed back to FY65, and then being cancelled altogether) and would not have been laid down, let alone built and then commissioned until a few years after that.
What I was saying is that the Typhon system was headed in the same direction using fixed phased array radar with beam steering rather than a trainable antenna. That large beehive was the early attempt to make this happen and likely would have been refined if it attained service.
But as has been pointed out, late 50's early 60's technology just wasn't up to the task of producing a all-in-one fixed array radar using beam steering. It was really asking too much of what was available.
 

JFC Fuller

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An interesting read from the USS Albany association, nothing really new stated but SPG-61 was planned for the late 60s digital Talos upgrades: https://ussalbany.org/wp-content/up...ument-by-James-Conti-July-1994.compressed.pdf
In the late 1960s a modernization program called for replacement of the existing SPG-49B missile control radar by a new and much more reliable SPG-61, with a new modified Mk 11 WDS and an associate Mk 152 digital computer; at the same time the new SPS-48 radar would replace the earlier SPS-39 and one SPS-30 in Albany class ships. This program was never fully carried out, however.
The author also alludes that if the SPG-61 went into service, then Talos may have stuck around until the 80s. Reliability problems with the SPG-49s were the leading cause of Talos' phase-out in 79. Another new tidbit was that the Mk 13 launcher was too small to handle the RIM-55 Typhon MR, has anyone else read that before?

As far as I can make out the modernisations undertaken included all of those stated changes except for the SPG-61. Albany received Digital Talos during a 20 month modernisation that started in 1967 and it included the Sperry Univac Mk 152 computer as part of the Mk 11 WDS. She also received an SPS-48 and installation of NTDS, Chicago had an early version of NTDS installed during her initial conversion and received digital Talos later whilst Columbus was never modernised with either.

The earliest proposed procurement of a Typhon ship I have seen is FY62, probably for a cruiser to be numbered CG-13, which is a designation sometimes associated with a never undertaken Talos conversion of Rochester (CA-124).
 
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isayyo2

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It seems like Albany and Chicago received everything but the SPG-61; I wonder how much money and man hours were saved by only doing 90% of the refit. Maybe the SPG-49B was deemed adequate after Talos earned four VPAF kills?
 

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Since the USN had a dedicated ARM variant of the Talos (RIM-8H) which was used a few times to great effect in the Vietnam war it would've interesting if an airborne version, call it the AGM-8H, was developed and launched from the B-52 mounted on modified Hound Dog pylons.
 

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RIM-8A Talos (Ship Based SAM)(Beam-Riding) (1953/59)
RIM-8B Nuclear Talos (Nuclear Version of RIM-8A) (1954?)
RIM-8C Talos (Improved Range) (1956/60)
RIM-8D Nuclear Talos (Nuclear Version of RIM-8C) (1957?)
RIM-8E Unified Talos (Exchangable Warhead and CW Seeker) (1962)
RIM-8F Talos (RIM-8C Version with CW Seeker)(1963?)
RIM-8G Talos (Improved Guidance) (1966)
RIM-8H Talos-ARM (Anti-Radiation Version) (1965)
RIM-8I Talos (Designation not Used?)
RIM-8J Talos (Improved SARH Guidance) (1968)
MIM-8A Talos-L (Land Based SAM)(Proposed Land Based RIM-8A) (1955)
 

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RIM-8A Talos (Ship Based SAM)(Beam-Riding) (1953/59)
Beam-riding was just the midcourse guidance phase and it used a SARH seeker for the terminal phase, only the nuclear armed variant relied solely on beam-riding guidance.
 

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The MIM-8A Talos Land System missile version is an interesting study in the internal politics of the US military. The USAF originally started the project to develop a land based Talos system with RCA being the contractor. The RCA system used two monopulse C band radars for target illumination and four additional C-band radars for missile guidance. A twin arm launcher based on the US Navy's version was adopted. The system could track and control four missiles and targets at a time.
RCA then built a prototype launch facility at White Sands NM.

1623166059833.png

The target illuminator radars can be seen on the ends of the control building, while the two guidance radars are in the center. The circular pit is the launching position while the odd shaped building is the magazine and assembly room for the missiles. The magazine held just six missiles. The whole project took just 18 months to get to this point primarily because Talos was already tested and in service.

Then came a fight with the Army who was developing Nike Hercules. They didn't want the Air Force to be in the SAM business. Towards the end of 1956 Congress decided that the Army would control SAM programs with a range of less than 100 miles.

So, the Talos Land System was handed over to them. The Talos system had already entered testing. Nike Hercules was still on the drawing board. Regardless of the success of testing on the Talos system, the US Army adopted a 'not invented here' attitude towards the project and dropped most aspects of it in favor of Nike Hercules. The illumination radars remained in service as the FPS-16 for example.

Compared to Nike Hercules, the Talos system could handle 4 targets per launcher and the proposed full site would have two launchers while a Nike Hercules battery with four launchers could handle just one target at a time. The Talos system could also handle low altitude targets better using a trainable and horizonal launch system versus the Nike Hercules vertical launch. Hercules on the other hand had slightly more capacity for very high altitude targets and low end ballistic missiles by virtue of being rocket propelled versus a ramjet.

In the end, land based Talos was a victim of interservice rivalries.
 

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The US Army should never, ever have been allowed to control the Land Talos project and the USAF should've fought tooth and nail to keep control of it since it was IIRC supposed to defend SAC bases.
 

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The US Army should never, ever have been allowed to control the Land Talos project and the USAF should've fought tooth and nail to keep control of it since it was IIRC supposed to defend SAC bases.
The sop was the USAF got to switch to their own pet program CIM-10 BOMARC instead. That system had a range greater than 100 miles. The problem was by the time it began to be deployed, the US had figured out that the Soviets didn't have an intercontinental bomber force so it was just a waste of resources to build the system further than the minimal deployment that had already occurred.

After all, the USAF preferred their system to one they inherited from the USN for the same reason the Army did.
 

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The US Army should never, ever have been allowed to control the Land Talos project and the USAF should've fought tooth and nail to keep control of it since it was IIRC supposed to defend SAC bases.

Maybe, but let's be rational: there were no point of having two different systems with similar general characteristics in service. Army's Nike program was already running perfectly well; the switch from Nike-Ajax to Nike-Hercules was just a refit of already-existing infrastructure. While to adopt land-based Talos, would require construction of completely new missile bases. It was much more pragmatic to just put Nike-Hercules batteries around USAF bases.
 

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The US Army should never, ever have been allowed to control the Land Talos project and the USAF should've fought tooth and nail to keep control of it since it was IIRC supposed to defend SAC bases.

Maybe, but let's be rational: there were no point of having two different systems with similar general characteristics in service. Army's Nike program was already running perfectly well; the switch from Nike-Ajax to Nike-Hercules was just a refit of already-existing infrastructure. While to adopt land-based Talos, would require construction of completely new missile bases. It was much more pragmatic to just put Nike-Hercules batteries around USAF bases.
The US Army was going to switch from Nike Ajax to Nike Hercules, a virtually entirely new missile. When land based Talos started testing Hercules was still on the drawing board. The switch could have been made and the interchangeability to the Talos with existing Navy ones would have kept production costs down. Considerable modification of existing magazines and fire controls had to be made to switch to Hercules in any case so it wouldn't have been that big a switch to use Talos. It wasn't the first time the US Army went with their in-house design over something from elsewhere that worked, and it wouldn't be the last. Look at the MGM-51 Shillelagh missile for example.
 

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IMO Land Talos would probably have stayed in service long after Talos was retired in 1979 and might still be in service in a highly updated form.
 

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Here's a patent for the Talos missile control system and it appears to concern maintaining control of the missile during boost-phase (The Talos was aerodynamically unstable with its' booster attached):
 

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pathology_doc

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Looking at Friedman, he repeats the statement that the Mk 13 could not contain the "slightly larger" Typhon MR (p167). But I believe that is a mistake -- Typhon MR is dimensionally the same as Tartar (and possibly even a few inches shorter than Tartar TRIP).
Is he saying "could not contain" due to size restrictions or to a different missile shape needing different handling gear, or does he really mean "incompatible due to inability to access for nuclear warhead loading"?
 
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