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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.


During the 1950s the US became aware of Soviet developments in anti-aircraft missiles, notably the large installations being constructed around Moscowmarker. At the time the entire US deterrent was based on manned bombers, both from the Air Force and Navy, and the deployment of large numbers of AA missiles placed this force at risk of being rendered ineffective. The importance of having the ability to penetrate the Soviet air defense system was later 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..

The Air Force's solution to this problem was the introduction of stand-off missiles. As the Soviet defenses were static and easy to spot from reconnaissance photos, the plan was to use a long-range missile to attack these bases before the bombers got into range. The SA-2 Guideline had a range of about 20 to 40 km at the time, but since the bomber would be approaching the sites its own missiles would need to be launched well before it entered this range. If the missile was going to be used to attack airbases as well, an extended range of several hundred kilometers would be needed. A missile with these capabilities was called for in General Operational Requirement 148, which was released on 15 March 1956. GOR 148 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. Each B-52 would carry two of the missiles, one under each wing between the fuselage and the inboard engines.,

Both Chance Vought and North American Aviation submitted GAM-77 proposals to the USAF in July 1957, both based on their earlier work on long-range ground-launched cruise missiles. Vought's submission was an air launched version of the Regulus missile, while NAA's was adapted from their SM-64 Navaho. On 21 August 1957, NAA was awarded a contract to develop Weapon System 131B which included the Hound Dog missile


Hound Dog and its mounting pylon, which includes electronics and refueling systems.

The Hound Dog missile's engine, airframe, and warhead were adaptations of technology developed in the Navaho, adapted for air-launch., The Hound Dog design was based on the Navaho G-38 air-vehicle, which featured small delta wings and forward canard.

A Pratt & Whitney J52-P-3 turbojet powered the Hound Dog, replacing the Navaho's ramjet. The J52 engine was located in a pod located beneath the rear fuselage, giving it an appearance similar to the Lockheed X-7 high-speed experimental drone. The J52-P-3 used in the Hound Dog, unlike J52'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 J52 had a short operating lifetime of only six hours.

A derivative of the Navaho's NAA Autonetics Division N-6 inertial navigation system (INS), 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. The INS could also 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.

The thermonuclear warhead carried by the Hound Dog was the W28 Class D. 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 Stationmarker, Eglin Air Force Basemarker and at the White Sands Missile Rangemarker.

The GAM-77's development was completed in only 30 months. NAA received a production contract to build Hound Dogs on 16 October 1958 . 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.

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 . 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

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

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 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.

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.

Operational History

B-52F takeoff with AGM-28 Hound Dog Missiles

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. Just two months later in February, SAC launched its first Hound Dog at Eglin Air Force Basemarker.

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. In 1962, SAC activated missile maintenance squadrons to provide maintenance for both the Hound Dog and the ADM-20 Quail decoy missile. 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 J52 engine for additional thrust while the missile was located on the bomber's pylon. This helped heavily laden B-52s into the air. The Hound Dog could then be refueled from the B-52's wing fuel tanks.

One Hound Dog missile crashed near the town of Samson, Alabamamarker when it failed to self-destruct after a test launch at Eglin AFB. In 1962, a Hound Dog was accidentally dropped to the ground during an under-wing check.

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.

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.

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 Basemarker, Mainemarker.

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


  • 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.


Units using the Hound Dog


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.

See also


  1. AGM-28 Missile Memos [1] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  2. AGM-28 Missile Hound Dog Missile Hound Dog [2] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  3. AGM-28A Hound Dog [3] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  4. A Brief Account of the Beginning of the Hounddog (GAM 77) [4] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  5. AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile [5] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  6. Mark Wade. Navaho. Encyclopedia Astronautica Website. [6] Access date: 20 October 2007.
  7. Mongrel Makes GoodTime Magazine. [7] Access date: 21 October 2007.
  8. J. McHaffie. My experience with the GAM-77 program. [8] Access date: 8 October 2007.
  9. 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.
  10. National Museum of the Air Force. North American AGM-28B Hound Dog. [9] Access date: 20 October 2007.
  11. Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. AGM-28. [10] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  12. IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN WEBSITE. [3.0] Cruise Missiles Of The 1950s & 1960s. [11] Access date: 28 October 2007.
  13. 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, [96507]
  • Indoor Exhibits, Travis Air Museum website, retrieved October 8, 2007, [96508]
  • 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, [96509]
  • 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, [96510]
  • 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, [96511]
  • North American AGM-28B Hound DogAviation Enthusiast Corner Website, retrieved on October 21, 2007, [96512]
  • 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

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