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AGM-28 Hound Dog

For other uses, see Hound Dog. AGM-28 Hound Dog
Type Cruise MissileService history In service September13, 1960Production history Manufacturer North American AviationUnit cost $690,073 Produced April1959Specifications Weight 10,147 lb (4,603 kg) Length 42 ft 6 in ( 12.95 m) Height 9 ft 4 in ( 2.8 m). Warhead 1,742 lb (790 kg) W28 thermonuclear warhead. Detonation
mechanism Airburst or Contact Engine Pratt & Whitney J52-P-3 turbojet; 7,500 lb (33 kN).
Wingspan 12 ft 2 in ( 3.7 m). Operational
range 785 miles (1,263 km) Flight ceiling 56,200 ft (17,130 m) Flight altitude 200 ft (61 m) to 56,200 ft (17,130 m). Speed Mach 2.1 Guidance
system Inertial Navigation Systemwith star-tracker correction. Launch
platform B-52 Stratofortress.

The North American Aviation Corporation AGM-28 Hound Dog was a supersonic, jet powered, air-launched cruise missile. The Hound Dog was initially given the designation B-77, later re-designated GAM-77, and finally being designated AGM-28. Hound Dog was originally envisioned as a temporary stand off weapon for the B-52, to be used until the AGM-48 Skybolt air launched ballistic missile could be deployed. Instead the Skybolt was canceled and the Hound Dog was deployed for 15 years until the missile was replaced by newer weapons including the AGM-69 SRAM and the AGM-86 ALCM.



The Hound Dog development was initiated on March, 15, 1956 when General Operational Requirement (GOR) 148 was released by the United States Air Force [1]. [2] This requirement called for a supersonic air-to-surface cruise missile with a weight of not more than 12,500 lb (fully fueled and armed) to be carried on the B-52.[3]. One Hound Dog was located under each wing of the B-52, between the fuselage and the inboard engines., [4]. The mission of the Hound Dog was to attack segments of the Soviet Union's air-defense system so that the launching B-52 could penetrate to its primary target.

The importance of having the ability to penetrate the Soviet air defense system was described by then United States Senator John F. Kennedy in a speech to the American Legion convention at Miami Florida, on October 18, 1960: We must take immediate steps to protect our present nuclear striking force from surprise attack. Today, more than 90 percent of our retaliatory capacity is made up of aircraft and missiles which have fixed un-protectable bases whose location is known to the Russians. We can only do this by providing SAC with the capability of maintaining a continuous airborne alert and by pressing projects such as the Hound Dog air-ground missile which will enable manned bombers to penetrate Soviet defenses with their weapons.[5].

Both Chance Vought and North American Aviation submitted GAM-77 proposals to the USAF in July 1957. Chance Vought submitted an air launched version of the Regulus missile.[3]


On 21 August 1957, North American Aviation was awarded a contract to develop Weapon System 131B which included the Hound Dog missile[6].

The Hound Dog missile's engine, airframe, and warhead were adaptations of technology developed in the SM-64 Navaho [6],[7]. The SM-64 Navaho was an earlier USAF project to build an intercontinental cruise missile that ran from 1946 to 1958. The Hound Dog design was based on the Navaho G-38 air-vehicle. The Hound Dog was configured with small delta wings and forward canards previously demonstrated on the Navaho G-38 air vehicle. [3]

A Pratt & Whitney J52-P-3 turbojet supplied the Hound Dog thrust. The J-52 engine was located in a pod located beneath the rear fuselage. The J-52-P-3 used in the Hound Dog unlike J-52's installed in aircraft like the A-4 Skyhawk or the A-6 Intruder was optimized to run at maximum power during the missile's flight. As a result, the Hound Dog's version of the J-52 had a short operating lifetime of only six hours[5].

A derivative of the Navaho's North American Autonetics Division N-6 inertial navigation system the N5G, was utilized in the Hound Dog. A Kollsman Instruments star-tracker located in the B-52's pylon was used to correct inertial orientation errors with celestial observations while the Hound Dog was being carried by the bomber.[3]

The Hound Dog's inertial navigation system could be used to determine the bomber's position after the initial calibration and "leveling" which took 90 minutes. The Hound Dog had a circular error probability of 2.2 miles (3.7 km), acceptable for weapon equipped with a nuclear warhead.[1].

The thermonuclear warhead carried by the Hound Dog was the W28 Class D[5]. The W28 warhead could be configured to yield an explosion between 70 Kilotons and 1.45 Megatons. Detonation of the Hound Dog's W28 warhead could be programmed to occur on impact or airburst at a pre-set altitude. An airburst would be used against a large area soft target. A hard surface impact would be used against a hard target such as a missile site or command control center

The Hound Dog could be launched from the B-52 mother ship at high altitude or low altitude (not below 5,000 feet). Three Hound Dog flight profiles were initially available for use by the bomber crew:

  • High Altitude Attack: The Hound Dog flew at high altitude (up to 56,000 ft (17069 m) depending on the amount of fuel on board the missile) all the way to the target, then dived down to the warhead's pre-programmed detonation altitude.
  • Low Altitude Attack: The Hound Dog flew at a low altitude below 5,000 ft (1524 m) (pressure altitude) to the target where the warhead then detonated. The missile had a reduced range of about 400 miles (644 km) when this flight profile was used. The missile did not perform terrain following in this flight profile. No major terrain obstructions could exist at the pre-set altitude along the missiles flight path.
  • Dog Leg Attack: The Hound Dog flew a designated heading (in the high or low altitude profile) to a specific location. At that location the missile would turn and then travel to the target. The intent of this maneuver was to draw defensive fighter aircraft away from the missile's target.

The first drop test of a dummy Hound Dog occurred in November 1958. 52 GAM-77A missiles were launched for testing and training between 23 April, 1959 and 30 August, 1965. Hound Dog launches occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Eglin Air Force Base and at the White Sands Missile Range[3].

The GAM-77's development was completed in only 30 months [7].

North American Aviation received a production contract to build Hound Dogs on 16 October 1958 [4]. The first production Hound Dog missile was then delivered to the USAF on 21 December, 1959. 722 Hound Dog missiles were produced by North American Aviation before production ended in March 1963 [3].

In May 1961 an improved GAM-77A was test flown for the first time. This upgrade incorporated upgrades to reduce the radar cross section of the Hound Dog [8]. The Hound Dog already had a low frontal radar cross section because of its highly swept delta wing and canards. This low radar cross section was enhanced by replacing the nose cap, engine intake spike and engine duct with new components that scattered or absorbed radar energy. It has been reported that these radar cross section improvements were removed as Hound Dogs were withdrawn from service.

The GAM-77A variant of the GAM-77 also included a new Kollsman Instruments KS-140 star-tracker that was integrated with the N-6 inertial navigation system. This unit replaced the star-tracker that was previously located in the B-52's pylon. The fuel capacity of the GAM-77A was increased during this upgrade. A radar altimeter was added to provide terrain following capability to the Hound Dog. 428 Hound Dog missiles were upgraded to the GAM-77A configuration[9]

66 GAM-77B missiles were launched for testing and training through 1 April 1973[5].

In June 1963 the GAM-77 and GAM-77A were re-designated AGM-28A and AGM-28B, respectively.

A Hound Dog test missile was flown with a Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) navigation system in 1971. Reportedly the designation AGM-28C was reserved this variant of the missile if development had been continued. While a Hound Dog with TERCOM was not deployed, this technology was eventually used in the AGM-86 ALCM.[10]

In 1972, the Bendix Corporation was awarded a contract to develop a passive anti-radiation seeker to guide the Hound Dog missile to radar emissions. A Hound Dog with this seeker was flight tested in 1973 but never deployed.[11]

Operational History

On December 21, 1959, General Thomas S. Power, Commander in Chief of the USAF Strategic Air Command (SAC), formally accepted the first production Hound Dog missile[4]. Just two months latter in February, SAC launched its first Hound Dog at Eglin Air Force Base.

In 1962, SAC activated missile maintenance squadrons to provide maintenance for both the Hound Dog and the ADM-20 Quail decoy missile.

In July 1960, the Hound Dog reached initial operational capability with the first B-52 unit. The Hound Dog was used on airborne alert for the first time in January 1962. Full operational capability was achieved in August 1963 when 29 B-52 Bomber wings were operational with the Hound Dog.

In 1960, SAC developed procedures so that the B-52 could utilize the Hound Dog's J-52's engine for additional thrust while the missile was located on the bomber's pylon. The Hound Dog could be refueled from the B-52's wing fuel tanks.[9]

One Hound Dog missile crashed near the town of Samson, Alabama after failing to destruct after a test launch at Eglin AFB[5]. In 1962, a Hound Dog was accidentally dropped to the ground during an under-wing check[5].

In May 1962, operation "Silk Hat" was conducted at Eglin AFB. During this exercise a Hound Dog test launch was conducted before an audience of international dignitaries headed by U.S. President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Vice President Lyndon B Johnson[5].

On 22 September, 1966 then U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara recommended retiring the remaining AGM-28A Hound Dogs. The AGM-28B Hound Dogs would be retained pending the outcome of the Terrain Matching Guidance (TERCOM) development program[5].

After thirteen years of service in the USAF, the last Hound Dog missile was removed from alert on 30 June 1975. The last Hound Dog was retired on 15 June, 1978 from the 42nd Bomb Wing at Loring Air Force Base, Maine[4].

No Hound Dog missiles were ever used in combat.

Missile Tail Numbers


GAM-77 GAM-77A 59-2791 thru 59-2867 60-5574 thru 60-5603 60-2078 thru 60-2247 60-6691 thru 60-6699 61-2118 thru 61-2357 62-0030 thru 62-0206

Numbers in Service

The number of Hound Dog missiles in service, by year:

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1 54 230 547 593 593 542 548 477 312 349 345 340 338 329 327 308 288 249 0

Units using the Hound Dog


19th Bombardment Wing, Heavy - Homestead AFB, Florida

    • 28th Bombardment Squadron

28th Bombardment Wing, Heavy - Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota


  • B-77 - Redesignated GAM-77 prior to production.
  • XGAM-77 - 25 prototype missiles produced
  • GAM-77 - 697 missiles produced.
  • GAM-77A - 452 missiles upgraded from GAM-77 to GAM-77A configuration.
  • AGM-28A - The GAM-77 was redesignated the AGM-28A in June 1963
  • AGM-28B - The GAM-77A was redesignated the AGM-28B in June 1963
  • AGM-28C - Proposed Hound Dog that would have been equipped with a TERCOM guidance system.



Popular Culture

Where it received the name Hound Dog has been the source of argument for decades. In recent years however people have given credit to fans of Elvis Presley in the military. [3].


  1. ^ a b c AGM-28 Missile Hound Dog Missile Hound Dog [1] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  2. ^ AGM-28A Hound Dog [2] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g A Brief Account of the Beginning of the Hounddog (GAM 77) [3] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile [4] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h AGM-28 Missile Memos [5] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  6. ^ a b Mark Wade. Navaho. Encyclopedia Astronautica Website. [6] Access date: 20 October 2007.
  7. ^ a b Mongrel Makes GoodTime Magazine. [7] Access date: 21 October 2007.
  8. ^ David C. Aronstein and Albert C. Piccirillo. Have Blue and the F-117A: Evolution of the Stealth Fighter, AIAA, 1997, ISBN: 1-56347-245-7.
  9. ^ a b National Museum of the Air Force. North American AGM-28B Hound Dog. [8] Access date: 20 October 2007.
  10. ^ Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. AGM-28. [9] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  11. ^ IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN WEBSITE. [3.0] Cruise Missiles Of The 1950s & 1960s. [10] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  12. ^ Dorr, R. & Peacock, L.B-52 Stratofortress: Boeing's Cold War Warrior, Osprey Aviation: Great Britain. ISBN: 1-84176-097-8
  • Hound Dog, Historical Essay by Andreas Parsch, Encyclopedia Astronautica website, retrieved October 8, 2007, [11]
  • Indoor Exhibits, Travis Air Museum website, retrieved October 8, 2007, [12]
  • The Navaho Project - A Look Back, North American Aviation Retirees Bulletin, Summer 2007.
  • Complete List of All U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Weapon Archive Website, retrieved October 13, 2007, [13]
  • B-52 Stratofortress: Boeing's Cold War Warrior, Dorr, R. & Peacock, L., Osprey Aviation: Great Britain. ISBN: 1-84176-097-8
  • Hound Dog Fact Sheet, Space Line Website, retrieved on October 14, 2007, [14]
  • Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon, Mike Gray, Penguin, 1994, ISBN: 978-0140232806
  • GAM-77 Hound Dog Missile, Boeing Corporate Website, retrieved on October 14, 2007, [15]
  • North American AGM-28B Hound DogAviation Enthusiast Corner Website, retrieved on October 21, 2007, [16]
  • The USAF and the Cruise Missile Opportunity or Threat, Kenneth P. Werrell, Technology and the Air Force A Retrospective Assessment, Air Force History and Museums Program, 1997
  • Airpower Theory and Practice, Edited by John Gooch, Frank Cass Publishing, 1995, ISBN-0-7146-4186-3.
  • Association of the Air Force Missileers: "Victors in the Cold War, Turner Publishing Company, 1998, ISBN 1563114550

See also

Comparable aircraft

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