The Hound Dog [the Air Force lifted the name from the title of an Elvis Presley hit song was designed as a long range, stand-off air-to-ground strategic missile. It was carried in pairs beneath the wings of B-52 aircraft. The overall mission of the Hound Dog was to aid B-52s in successfully carrying out the strategic bombing offensive. This would be accomplished by providing a means of attacking and destroying heavily defended enemy targets without subjecting the B-52 fleet to unacceptable loss levels, and by assisting bombers in penetrating enemy targets by attacking and destroying segments of the enemy's air defense system.
The Hound Dog missile program began on 15 March 1956 when Headquarters Air Force issued a General Operations Requirement (GOR 148) for an air-to-surface missile to be carried on the B-52 strategic manned bomber. In August 1957, Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas telephoned J. H. Kindelberger of North American Aviation to tell him that his company had won the development contract. And on 16 October 1958, Headquarters USAF awarded a Hound Dog production contract to North American Aviation, Inc.
In February 1958, growing concern about both the perceived unfavorable shift in the strategic balance and the increasing vulnerability of penetrating bombers prompted USAF to accelerate the Hound Dog. On 21 December 1959, General Thomas S. Power, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command, formally accepted the first production model Hound Dog missiles in a ceremony conducted at North American Aviation's Downey, California plant. Headquarters Air Force finalized the Hound Dog missile program at the end of fiscal year 1959 when it approved a force of 29 B-52 squadrons equipped with Hound Dog missiles. The first launch of the missile from a B-52, first designated GAM-77, then AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile, took place in April 1959.
North American built the Hound Dog with a canard, a delta wing configuration, an underslung J52 engine, and a self-contained inertial autonavigational guidance system. The design requirements called for a 350-mile range and Mach 2 speed at over 55,000 feet. The AGM-28 Hound Dog MissileB carried a 1,725-pound warhead, (1 megaton) approximately 500 nautical miles from its launch point at high altitude and supersonic speed, or approximately 200 nautical miles from its launch point at low altitude and subsonic (1,000 feet at Mach .83) profile. A B-52 could carry two of the inertially-guided missiles A unique feature of the Hound Dog was its engine could be used to supplement those of the carrier B-52 to augment thrust at take-off or cruise. The missile could then be refueled from the host B-52 wing fuel tanks prior to its launch.
Accuracy, while exceeding, one nm at full range, was probably adequate considering the four megaton warhead. But two other problems hindered the missile. Reliability was a constant concern and in addition the two five-ton missiles, carried on pylons, degraded B-52 flight performance. North American delivered the first production Hound Dog in December 1959. SAC launched its first AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile in February 1960; by the following July, one wing was operational with the weapon, although the first airborne alert with it did not take place until January 1962.
The numbers of Hound Dogs in the B-52 fleet rapidly grew from 54 in 1960, rising to 230 the next year, 547 in 1962, and 593 in 1963. 600 Hound Dogs were produced from 1957 to 1963. Twenty-three Hound Dog-equipped B-52 squadrons were operational by 30 June 1962, and by August 1963 29 SAC wings were operational with the AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile. Hound Dog production ended in March 1963 and the number of operational missiles declined in the late 1960s and early 1970s to about 308 in 1976.
After thirteen years of service in the Strategic Air Command, the last Hound Dog missile was removed from alert on 30 June 1975. Nearly three years later, on 15 June 1978, the 42d Bombardment Wing, Loring AFB, Maine, destroyed the last last Hound Dog missile and removed it from the SAC inventory.
Span: 12 ft. 2 in.
Length: 42 ft. 6 in.
Height: 9 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 10,147 lbs.
Armament: Thermonuclear Warhead
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet of 7,500 lbs.
Cruising speed: 1,200 mph.
Range: 785 miles
Operating Altitude: 200 ft. to 56,200 ft.