Starting in the mid-1960s, the usaf quickly gained extensive experience in operating reconnaissance drones over southeast asia, and the little “bugs”, especially aqm-34 version of firebee target 150 grain broadheads for crossbows drone, proved to be quite survivable against anti-aircraft artillery and sa-2 missiles. it pointed a way towards a new generation of air-launched cruise missiles that will give strategic bombers a standoff capability against increasingly effective soviet air defenses. the aqm-34 full size alcms later, but a powerplant better than the turbojet engine aqm-34 is required to give such small aircraft a useful strategic scope.
Fortunately, work is conducted in miniature turbofans, and by the early 1970s compact unit rated at around 500-600lbs thrust is feasible. the alcm actually stems directly from subsonic cruise armed decoy (scad) program in the early 1970s, 150 grain broadheads for crossbows which aims at providing the sac with little bomber launched decoy missiles flood soviet radar screen with false targets . for a decade, this mission will be handled by mcdonnell douglas gam-72 / adm-20 quail, a small drone turbojet. the opposite of what would later be called “stealth” technology, quail is equipped with features that greatly magnified its radar cross section, in the hope that the soviet radar operator to read the enhanced returns as coming from the bombers themselves, greatly complicating attempts at intercepting the real threat.
150 grain broadheads for crossbows – AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)
Scad is to seize the decoy role, taking advantage of improvements in ecm technology to further compound the woes of enemy air defense personnel. scad will itself be a threat as well, being able to accommodate a nuclear warhead small. scad is to be carried by both b-52 and b-1a. (quail and scad is hardly the first program aimed at providing sac bombers with decoy and defense suppression missiles. also known as mx-2013, the radioplane b-67 / gam-67 crossbow is a 1950s attempt at a strategic anti-radar missile that was fired at russian installations of up to 300 miles away, under the power of a j69 turbojet.
The b-50 superfortress can bring a pair of crossbows, while the b-47 stratojet can accommodate four. 150 grain broadheads for crossbows another design is canceled xgam-71 buck duck, which is to be carried by the b-36 peacemaker. and finally, the sm-73 bull goose is a program for fairchild a ground-launched delta-wing decoy missile (which can be armed) fly from us launch sites in the ussr, cruise propulsion supplied by a fairchild j83 turbojet. goose program was dropped in december 1958, with the engine canceled a months later.) by july 1972, boeing was selected as the contractor scad airframe, with philco-ford charged with developing ecm suite and litton supplying guidance.
Earlier, teledyne cae and williams research was contracted to develop a competitive engine model; williams won orders for its production f107 design. scad design resembled a small aircraft, a fuselage with only one triangular cross-section is mated with wings swept 35 degrees, these being extended after the missile is launched. the engine will have a dorsal inlet just ahead of the small vertical tail. the whole package is sized to fit the standard sram launcher. despite the awards contact the scad program will only run until july 1973, when the program was put on hiatus to allow the rationale and requirements of the system to be re-examined.
By 1974, scad gave way to the air launched cruise missile (alcm) program, which will be greatly derived from the original agm-86, but optimized purely for the strike role. the agm-86a or alcm-a has a range of around 750 miles, bringing an sram-type w69 warhead. by the spring of 1977, boeing was directed to start work on the long-range version, which is designated agm-86b. it had an airframe stretched to allow a larger fuel tank, it helps to boost the range of 1,500 miles. the wings did not have a lot of sweep, the contours of the nose and tail were changed, and the w80 warhead from the navy’s bgm-109 is substituted for alcm-a’s w69.
Test flight using missiles with live engine is carried by the spring of 1976, and in september of that year “full-up” cars began testing. this does not mean an immediate end to the agm-86a, as some planners want to buy a mixture of a and b-model, using the external-carrying agm-86bs for the mission to seek additional coverage, while using the original model for the more difficult target. additionally, limit alcm set as part of the arms control treaty is a possibility, and it gave credence to the idea of ??making agm-86a convertible into b-model configuration, allowing the us, if necessary, ability to quickly break out of the treaty limit to match the soviet future developments.
Fielding a larger alcm presented some problems, mainly compatibility concerns with b-52. a longer missile meant that a new rotary launcher 150 grain broadheads for crossbows will be required for internal carriage, as the existing sram unit can not be used, and a longer interfere with bomb launcher carriage. ultimately, it was decided that the ability of the b-52’s to carry heavy b28 gravity bomb was abandoned to allow for longer alcms. the small size alcm’s made a lot of potential aircraft launch platform for the system, and proposals were made during the late 1970s and early 1980s to suit both new and older designs on paper.
Major form of transportation in particular is examined by several companies, including boeing, the 747 can carry dozens of missiles internally, the weapons issued by a fuselage port. lockheed’s c-5 galaxy is also a contender, and demonstration hardware is actually built, though air launch analysis was not carried out. other large aircraft considering the lockheed c-141, l-1011, and boeing c-135 and 707. while capable of carrying heavy loads missile, the transportation-derived aircraft do little or nothing ability to penetrate protected airspace. rockwell, still hoping to salvage some of his b-1a work, proposed a derivative aircraft with fixed wings that can bring an expanded load alcms, while general dynamics suggested several reconstruction program for f-111 and fb-111 fleets have included adding alcm capabilities.
Ultimately, it was decided to limit the deployment alcm first converted b-52s. despite both air force and navy cruise missile program having made as similar as possible, there was still pressure to buy a single common missile for both missions, and congress dictated a competitive fly-off alcm between tomahawk and must perform. the agm-86b missiles boeing is the baseline, while gd would enter the agm-109 version of the tomahawk. like the boeing entry, the agm-109 will not fit in an unmodified sram launcher, and even a shortened version of the missile was earlier considered, this model would have had a significant -pinaikling range.
Ironically, just as a version, though conventionally armed and dubbed airhawk, was proposed in the late 1990s in both the usaf and raf. to conduct flyoff, a trio of b-52s were equipped with the launch of the aircraft, while four phantoms is earmarked as a chase plane. to portray a typical wartime mission to start over the water, long-range test launch was conducted outside of california coast, with missiles flying in a row in utah. flyoff began on july 17, 1979 when an agm-109 was launched. the missile boeing first flew on august 3, but crashed in utah. despite this inauspicious beginning, boeing was later named the winner of the analysis, and on march 25, 1980 the company was formally awarded the production contract.
Even before the flyoff is completed, the usaf has deployed the 416 bomb wing b-52s in griffiss afb as the first aircraft to carry the winning design alcm operationally. besides the structural and avionics necessary changes, alcm modified b-52gs also equipped strakelets the wing leading edge; these are big enough to see the soviet reconnaissance satellites, allowing alcm carriers to count for the purposes of arms control. deliveries of operation alcms griffiss that began in the spring of 1981, and by december of the following year the b-52g / agm-86b combinations in service.
The g-model stratofortresses can only bring alcm outer wing pylons, but later h-model conversion is fitted for internal carriage as well, with the common strategic rotary launcher. the b-1b lancer is only compatible with the system alcm, but operationally configured for use by the missile, used primarily as a penetration bomber before moving over to the conventional paper. at one point, the usaf wanted to buy more than 3400 agm-86bs, but ironically, given the amount of controversy, time, and money involved in getting the missile production, it is projected that radical to buy cut. fear that advanced soviet “look down / shoot down” interceptors such as the mig-31 foxhound and new sams such as the sa-10 and sa-12 is able to find and destroy the alcms spurred the drive to put the low-observable features a new design, the agm-129 advanced cruise missile, and to free up budget resources of the agm-86b program was scaled back.
A total of 1715 alcms saved, with the last being turned over in early october 1986.