The airframe was essentially sized by the diameter of the Allison J-33 jet engine. The fuselage consisted of a front, mid- and aft-section.  The engine was attached to the mid-section and the aft-section was installed over the rear of the engine.

All aluminum parts were thicker than would have been considered “normal”, in accordance with an early program decision to design to higher safety factors, and not perform the usual static tests on the airframe.  Sheet metal thicknesses usually began at .072 and included .091 and .125 as well as frequent use of 3/16 inch and ¼ inch aluminum plate.

The wing outer panel began as a conventional structure made up of many parts riveted together.  Much later in the program the outer panel was produced as a one-piece sand casting. At the time it was one of the largest one-piece castings ever made.


Rather than suffer the delays often caused by concurrent development of a new airframe and a new engine, the Navy and Chance Vought settled on an Allison J-33 Engine, then currently used in the Lockheed F-80 “Shooting Star”. The engine had 4,600 lbs. of thrust at sea level.

Fuel System

The 200-gallon main fuel cell was a pressure bladder type in which a central “divider” was used to expel the fuel. Air pressure was applied to one side of the divider and the fuel on the other side of the divider was forced out.  The forward cell was a saddle bladder type with a capacity of 55 gallons and was equipped with a pump.


More Regulus I:

General Characteristics for an Interim Guided Missile
Able, Backer, Charlie and FTV-1
Operation Splash and FTV-3
Regulus I and II
Regulus I Subsystems
Airframe, Engine and Fuel Systems
Autopilot, Radio Control, Guidance and Instrumentation
Landing Gear and Hydraulic Systems
Nose Boom, Wing and Fin Fold
Launch Slippers, Parabrake, Smoke Systems and Jato
Interesting Statistics