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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

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 begain 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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Parsch 2005
  4. Haley 1959, p.130.
  5. Peck 1950, p.264.
  6. Bowman 1957, p.169.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hemsch 1992, p.17.
  8. "Aircraft Armament, Part 2: Missiles and Projectiles". Flight International, 28 January 1955, p.118.
  9. 9.0 9.1 USPMTC 1989, p.52-53
  10. Fahey 1958, p. 32.

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