JB-3 Tiamat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
JB-3 Tiamat.jpg
TypeAir-to-air missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1944-1947
Used byUnited States Army Air Forces
Production history
ManufacturerHughes Aircraft
Mass600 lb (270 kg)
Length14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
WarheadHigh explosive
Warhead weight500 pounds (230 kg)

EngineDual-thrust solid rocket motor
Boost, 7,200 lbf (32 kN) for 3.5 sec
Sustain, 200 lbf (0.89 kN) for 45 sec
Speed600 miles per hour (970 km/h)
Semi-active radar homing
A-26 Invader
ReferencesOrdway and Wakeford[1]

The JB-3 Tiamat, also designated MX-570, was an early air-to-air missile developed by Hughes Aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Regarded as a purely experimental vehicle, test launches took place for several years before the program was terminated.

Design and development[edit]

The Tiamat project began in January 1944, when a contract was awarded to Hughes Aircraft by the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) for development of an experimental subsonic, solid-fueled air-to-air missile.[1] Developed in cooperation with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Tiamat was a large missile of vaguely dart-like shape and proportion, 14 feet 4 inches (4.37 m) in length and weighing 600 pounds (270 kg), with three large stabilizing and control fins at the aft end of the missile body. The rocket motor was a boost-sustain dual-thrust type, providing 7,200 lbf (32 kN) of thrust for 3.5 seconds, followed by 200 lbf (0.89 kN) for 45 seconds of cruising flight at 600 miles per hour (970 km/h).[1] Launched from a A-26 Invader light bomber,[1] Tiamat would use semi-active radar homing to track enemy aircraft,[2] and a proximity fuze was fitted for detonation of the missile's 500 lb (230 kg) warhead.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The first prototypes of Tiamat were designated MX-570, and were purely instrumented, ground-launched test vehicles launched by NACA at Wallops Island in Virginia to verify the design. MX-570 was slightly smaller than the definitive JB-3, being 11 feet (3.4 m) in length and weighing 625 pounds (283 kg) at launch. An additional rocket booster was fitted to provide for zero-length launch.[1] Launches of the MX-570 begin in late 1944, the first missiles to be launched at Wallops Island under the auspices of the Langley Research Center;[3] the first launch of the JB-3 proper took place on 6 August 1945.[4] Testing of both the MX-570 and JB-3 continued through 1947, when the program was terminated, definitive air-to-air missile products being underway.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Ordway and Wakeford 1960, p.186.
  2. ^ a b Parsch 2005
  3. ^ DeVincent-Hayes and Bennett 2001, p. 9.
  4. ^ Fino 2017, p. 118.


  • DeVincent-Hayes, Nan; Bowen Bennett (2001). Wallops Island. Images of America. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-0666-1.
  • Fino, Steven A. (2017). Tiger Check: Automating the US Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air-to-Air Combat, 1950-1980. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1-4214-232-7-2.
  • Ordway, Frederick Ira; Ronald C. Wakeford (1960). International Missile and Spacecraft Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill. ASIN B000MAEGVC.
  • Parsch, Andreas (27 January 2005). "JB Series". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-12-17.