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AGM-12 Bullpup

The AGM-12 Bullpup command-guided missile was the first mass-produced air-to-surface guided missile. The disappointing Korean bridge-bombing experience stimulated the Navy to pursue development of the postwar Bullpup program.

The ASM-N-7 Bullpup was first deployed overseas in April 1959 when VA-212, equipped with FJ-4B Furies, sailed from Alameda on board Lexington to join the Seventh Fleet in the western Pacific. The following August, VA-34, equipped with A4Ds sailed from the east coast abroad the Saratoga to join the Sixth Fleet, thus extending Bullpup deployment to the Mediterranean.

The original ASM-N-7 Bullpup was soon upgraded to an improved variant, the ASM-N-7A, in 1960, which was redesignated AGM-12B Bullpup-A in 1962. The AGM-12B was put into second source production by W.L. Maxson. Production terminated in 1970 at 22,100 rounds.

The AGM-12C Bullpup B was a larger follow-on version of the original Bullpup air-to-surface radio-guided missile. The AGM-12C carried a 1,000 pound semi-armor-piercing warhead in the enlarged midsection. The largest of the Bullpup series of missiles, the AGM-12C is also the oddest-looking member, distinguished from the other Bullpup versions by its unusual long-chord wings. It weighed 1,785 pounds and used a 30,000-pound thrust liquid-fuel rocket engine to achieve a range of ten miles. The pilot guided the missile by watching the position of tail-mounted tracking flares in relation to his line-of-sight view of the target. Steering commands to correct the missile flight path were sent via one of the 24 available radio channels.

The Bullpup B entered USAF service in 1965, and was carried by F-4 and F-105 fighters during the Vietnam war. Its small warhead, however, was totally inadequate against North Vietnamese bridges. The Navy's Walleye proved better.

The AGM-12D was a nuclear variant originally known as the GAM-83B, but redesignated the AGM-12D. This variant looked much like the AGM-12B, but had a slightly larger diameter that allowed it to carry either a conventional or tactical nuclear warhead.

The AGM-12E had a cluster bomb warhead intended for use against anti-aircraft sites, but only about 840 were built.

More than 4,600 AGM-12Cs and 800 AGM-12Es were built. They were withdrawn from USAF service in the mid-1970s. Foreign users included the Royal Navy and various NATO forces. Some Bullpups are still in service, usually in ground attack training programs.

AGM-83 Bulldog was a laser-guided version of Bullpup that was never produced.


Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Weight 1,785 lbs.
Length 13.6 ft.
Diameter 18 inches
Wingspan 48 in.
Propulsion Storable, liquid-fuel rocket
Speed approx. Mach 1.8
Range 10 nm
Warhead 970 lbs conventional high-explosive

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