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Fifty-two years ago this week, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) fired its first USAF/North American AGM-28 Hound Dog cruise missile.  A USAF/Boeing B-52G Stratofortress from the 4135th Strategic Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida served as the air-launch platform.  The AGM-28 Hound Dog was a turbojet-powered cruise missile designed to penetate enemy air space and deliver a 1 megaton-yield thermonuclear warhead.  The vehicle measured 42.5 feet in length, 2.33 feet in diameter and had a wing span of 12 feet.  Launch weight was 10,140 lbs.  The type’s non-afterburning Pratt and Whitney J52-6 turbojet was rated at 7,500 lbs of sea level thrust and could propel it to a maximum speed of about 1,430 mph (Mach 2.1).  Interestingly, the AGM-28’s turbojets were run at full power, making the B-52 carrier bomber a 10 engine aircraft.  Following take-off, the Hound Dog’s engines were shutdown and its fuel tanks topped-off.   The Hound Dog’s flight envelope was such that it could cruise anywhere between tree-top level and 55,000 feet.  Two vehicles were externally-carried by the B-52 launch aircraft; one each from the right and left wing pylon stations.  Maximum post-launch flyout range was about 617 nm.  North American Aviation began development of the missile in 1957 and the first powered flight occurred in April of 1959.  A series of flight tests ensued that proved the missile’s various systems including radar, guidance, navigation and control.  These developmental activities culminated with the first SAC shot on Monday, 29 February 1960 and establishment of an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) shortly thereafter.  A total of 772 Hound Dog airframes were built and served in the SAC inventory through 1976.  The Hound Dog served well as a deterent to nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union; no Hound Dog was ever fired in anger.

Posted in Aerospace, History

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