Development of the Regulus Cruise Missile SSM-N-8 began in 1947 by the United States Navy and Chance Vought Aircraft. This unmanned turbojet powered vehicle system was capable of delivering a 3000 pound 40-50 kiloton W5 or 2800 pound 1-2 megaton W27 thermonuclear warhead within a range of 500 nautical miles.
Today the Regulus is all but forgotten ... a historical footnote to its successors - the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident ballistic missiles that could be launched from submerged nuclear powered submarines. Regulus was also critical in paving the way for the development of today's sophisticated Tomahawk cruise missile, and served as an important nuclear deterrent in the early days of the Cold War and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Regulus was first deployed by the US Navy in 1955 in the Pacific onboard the cruiser USS Los
Angeles (CA-135). By 1956 the surface launched Regulus was deployed onboard specially designed
diesel powered submarines. The USS TUNNY (SSG-282) and USS BARBERO (SSG-317) were our
Nations first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines. They were joined by three additional Regulus
submarines, USS GRAYBACK (SSG-574), USS GROWLER (SSG-577), and the nuclear powered
USS HALIBUT (SSGN-587). Regulus submarine nuclear deterrent patrols ceased in 1964.