AGM-28 Hound Dog
| The Hound Dog was SAC's
first air-launched missile. One was carried under each wing of
the B-52G Stratofortress. Their mission was to attack and
destroy enemy air defenses, such as fighter aircraft bases,
communication centers, and anti-aircraft missile batteries thus
clearing the way for the bomber to more successfully strike its
target. It was named after the popular Elvis Presley song, "You
Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog."
Each Missile had a J52 jet engine. In addition to its
own fuel tank, the missiles were integrated with the Stratofortress
fuel system. This permitted their use as auxiliary engines.
For example, a heavily loaded B-52 could use them on takeoff in
addition to its own eight jet engines.
The Hound Dog was originally designated B-77, but this was
quickly changed to GAM-77 and later changed again to AGM-28. The
AGM-28 missile program began on March 15, 1956 when Headquarters Air
Force issued a General Operations Requirement (GOR 148) for an
air-to-surface missile to be carried on the B-52 strategic manned
bomber. On 16 October 1958, Headquarters USAF awarded a Hound Dog
production contract to North American Aviation, Inc.
In February 1958, growing concern about both the
perceived unfavorable shift in the strategic balance and the
increasing vulnerability of penetrating bombers prompted USAF to
accelerate the Hound Dog. On 21 December 1959, General Thomas S.
Power, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command, formally
accepted the first production model Hound Dog missiles in a ceremony
conducted at North American Aviation's Downey, California plant.
Headquarters Air Force finalized the Hound Dog missile program at the
end of fiscal year 1959 when it approved a force of 29 B-52 squadrons
equipped with Hound Dog missiles. The first launch of the missile from
a B-52, first designated GAM-77, then AGM-28, took place in April
The Hound Dog utilized a delta wing configuration, and a
self-contained inertial auto-navigation guidance system. It has a
range of 350 miles and a speed of Mach 2 at over 55,000 feet. It
carried a 1,742-pound warhead (four megatons) approximately 500
nautical miles from its launch point at high altitude and supersonic
speed, or approximately 200 nautical miles from its launch point at
low altitude and subsonic (1,000 feet at Mach .83) profile.
Accuracy was adaquate considering the four megaton warhead, but two
other problems hindered the missile. Reliability was a constant
concern and in addition the two five-ton missiles, carried on pylons,
degraded B-52 flight performance.
North American delivered the first production Hound Dog in
December 1959. SAC launched its first AGM-28 in February 1960; by the
following July, one wing was operational with the weapon, although the
first airborne alert with it did not take place until January 1962.
The numbers of Hound Dogs in the B-52 fleet rapidly
grew from 54 in 1960, rising to 230 the next year, 547 in 1962, and
593 in 1963. 600 Hound Dogs were produced from 1957 to 1963.
Twenty-three Hound Dog-equipped B-52 squadrons were operational by 30
June 1962, and by August 1963 29 SAC wings were operational with the
AGM-28. Hound Dog production ended in March 1963 and the number of
operational missiles declined in the late 1960s and early 1970s to
about 308 in 1976.
After thirteen years of service in the Strategic Air
Command, the last Hound Dog missile was removed from alert on 30 June
1975. Nearly three years later, on 15 June 1978, the 42d Bombardment
Wing, Loring AFB, Maine, destroyed the last last Hound Dog missile and
removed it from the SAC inventory.
Span: 12 ft. 2 in.
Length: 42 ft. 6 in.
Height: 9 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 10,147 lbs.
Armament: Thermonuclear Warhead
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet of 7,500 lbs.
Cruising speed: 1,200 mph.
Range: 785 miles
Operating Altitude: 200 ft. to 56,200 ft.