On those missiles so equipped, the landing gear was an air operated tricycle gear configuration. In early missiles the landing gear was extensible only. That is, it was put “up” in place by manual operation and was blown “down” during the landing maneuver. This was in keeping with the early concept of a JATO launched missile where the wheels only had to extend for landing and there was no requirement for retraction. During very early flight tests, the gear was locked down throughout the flight. When the JATO development was delayed, the gear was re-designed to be retracted after a wheels-take-off, and extended at the time of landing. Compressed air provided the power for the gear operation and the braking functions.
A 3,000-PSI hydraulic system provided the power to move the flight control surfaces, i.e., the ailevators and rudder. During flight, an engine-driven hydraulic pump supplied the pressure. During the many, many preflight tests done without engine power, an electric powered vari-drive unit stood close to the missile and provided a substitute source of hydraulic power.
The Regulus I suffered only the usual hydraulic problems except for the engine driven pump. The early design featured a brass wobble-plate, which drove a series of small pistons to pressurize the oil. The wobble-plate sometimes wore excessively and filled the entire system with bright brass “chips” and necessitated the complete flushing of all lines and components. Though the chips were brass they shimmered like “gold” in the red hydraulic oil and cost both lost time and dollars when they occurred.
More Regulus I:
General Characteristics for an Interim Guided Missile