AAM-N-4 Oriole

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For the Japanese missile see, see AAM-4 (Japanese missile).
AAM-N-4 Oriole
AAM-N-4 Oriole.png
Type Air-to-air missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1950-1955
Used by United States Navy
Production history
Designed 1947
Manufacturer Martin
Weight 1,500 pounds (680 kg)
Length 11 feet 7 inches (3.53 m)
Diameter 11 inches (280 mm)

Warhead High explosive
Warhead weight 25 pounds (11 kg)

Wingspan 3 ft 2.8 in (0.986 m)
10 miles (16 km)
Flight altitude Max at launch, 10 miles (16 km)
Speed Mach 2.5
Active radar homing

The AAM-N-4 Oriole was an early American air-to-air missile, developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company for the United States Navy. Designed for launch from carrier-based aircraft, the missile programme was cancelled before flight testing began, and the missiles produced were utilized as test vehicles.

Design and development[edit]

Development of the AAM-N-4 Oriole began in 1947, when a development contract was awarded by the United States Navy's Bureau of Ordnance to the Glenn L. Martin Company to develop a heavy air-to-air missile,[1] utilizing active radar homing for fire and forget operation,[2] for launch from aircraft operating from aircraft carriers.[3] Oriole was intended to utilize a rocket[4] or rocket-ramjet propulsion system; the intended range of the weapon was 20 miles (32 km),[5] however as tested it was limited to a range of approximately 10 miles (16 km).[3] Ready for launch, the missile weighed 1,500 pounds (680 kg),[6] and used cruciform fins at the missile's midbody and at the tail for flight control.[7] Flight speed was originally intended to be above Mach 3.[8]

In 1948, the Oriole contract was redefined to be a guidance development program instead of a project to develop an operational missile; the program to construct test vehicles resumed in 1950 for research and development purposes,[9] the missiles being redesignated RTV-N-16.[3] Flight testing began shortly thereafter at the Naval Air Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, California; testing continued through 1953, with 56 flight tests being conducted throughout the program;[9] as built the missile proved to be capable of Mach 2.5.[7] The Oriole program was terminated at the end of 1953.[10]


  1. ^ Gunston 1979, p.221.
  2. ^ Friedman 1982, p.150.
  3. ^ a b c Parsch 2005
  4. ^ Haley 1959, p.130.
  5. ^ Peck 1950, p.264.
  6. ^ Bowman 1957, p.169.
  7. ^ a b Hemsch 1992, p.17.
  8. ^ "Aircraft Armament, Part 2: Missiles and Projectiles". Flight International, 28 January 1955, p.118.
  9. ^ a b USPMTC 1989, p.52-53
  10. ^ Fahey 1958, p. 32.
  • Bowman, Norman John (1957). The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles. Chicago: Perastadion Press. ASIN B0007EC5N4. 
  • Fahey, James Charles (1958). The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Ships and Aircraft Publishers. ASIN B000XG6YU6. 
  • Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Naval Weapons: every gun, missile, mine, and torpedo used by the U.S. Navy from 1883 to the present day. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-735-7. 
  • Gunston, Bill (1979). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Rockets and Missiles. London: Salamander. ISBN 978-0861010295. 
  • Haley, Andrew Gallagher (1959). Rocketry and Space Exploration. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company. ASIN B000GB0580. 
  • Hemsch, Michael (1992). Tactical Missile Aerodynamics: General Topics. Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. ISBN 978-1563470158. 
  • Nichols, Gina (2011). The Navy at Point Mugu. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-7532-2. 
  • Parsch, Andreas (2005). "Martin AAM-N-4 Oriole". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  • Peck, James L.H. "How Fast Can We Fight?". Popular Mechanics (Chicago: Popular Mechanics Company) 94 (6). Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  • United States Navy Pacific Missile Test Center (1989). Days of Challenge, Years of Change: a Technical History of the Pacific Missile Test Center. Washington, CC: Government Printing Office. ASIN B000S75AFK.