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Flightline: 13/TBD

SAC Alert crews rush to man their B-52s
SAC Alert crews rush to man their B-52s
Photo: USAF photographer

Unknown USAF air base, sometime in the Sixties.

Developed in response to USAF General Operational Requirement 148, issued in 1956, the Hound Dog cruise missile (variously designated B-77, GAM-77 and finally AGM-28) was produced by North American Aviation (Later Rockwell International, now a part of Boeing) from 1959 to 1963 and was carried by B-52s from 1960 to 1977.

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The Hound Dog, named in reference to the song then made popular by Elvis, was designed to be launched by the B-52 at Soviet SAM sites while remaining outside their range, allowing the bomber to attack its targets with impunity. Equipped with a W28 warhead, which had yields ranging from 70kt to 1.45mt, and capable of flying at Mach 2.1 for ranges up to 785 miles, the AGM-28 was also known as a stand-off weapon. The missile was powered by a version of the J52 turbojet, which also was used in the A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder and EA-6 Prowler, and, in its civilian form as the JT8D, the Boeing 727 and 737-100/200 and the DC-9 and MD-80. Unlike with the other planes, the engine was run at 100% output all the time, resulting in an operational lifespan of only 6 hours (not an impediment to a missile expected to be destroyed by its own nuclear bomb well before then, mind you) The Hound Dog’s fuel tank could be topped off from the B-52's own fuel supply, allowing the larger plane to use the AGM’s engine to assist on take-off. The missile could fly at high or low altitude (though at the cost of decreased range), but early models were not capable of terrain following/terrain avoidance, and all modes had a CEP of 2 miles. Hound Dogs were guided by an inertial navigation system, which was updated by a star tracker mounted in the pylon. The GAM-77A/AGM-28B modification replaced the star tracker with a more advanced unit mounted in the missile, which allowed the Hound to continuously update itself, as well as a radar altimeter which allowed TF/TA flight, as well as increased fuel. Allegedly, radar absorbing/scattering materials were also to the GAM-77A, further reducing the missile’s radar cross-section. In the early 70s, further upgrades were investigated to add a TERCOM navigation system as well as turn the Hound into a anti-radiation missile, though neither was pursued. A number of AGM-28s have been preserved in museums and air parks across the country.

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