AGM-12 Bullpup

The AGM-12 Bullpup is an air-to-ground missile which was used on the A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder and F-4 Phantom among others. It has been superseded by more advanced armaments in American service. The Bullpup was the first mass-produced air-surface command guided missile, first deployed by the United States Navy in 1959 as the ASM-N-7 until it was redesignated AGM-12B in 1962. It was developed as a result of experiences in the Korean War where US airpower had great difficulty in destroying targets which required precise aiming and were often heavily defended, such as bridges.The Bullpup was roll-stabilized and visually guided by the pilot or weapons operator using a tracer on the back of the missile to track the weapon in flight while using a control joystick to steer it toward the target using radio signals. It was initially powered by a solid fuel rocket motor, and carried a 250 lb (110 kg) warhead. Later versions of the missile included upgrades such as a larger 1000 lb (450 kg) warhead, improved rocket motors, and improved guidance, and in one late version, the ability to carry a nuclear warhead.

AGM-12 Bullpup
Class Missile
Type Air to Surface
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1959
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Argentina View
Australia View
Denmark View
Greece View
Israel View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
United States of America View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control 1953 View

The Bullpup was the first mass-produced air-surface command guided missile, first deployed by the United States Navy in 1959 as the ASM-N-7, until it was redesignated the AGM-12B in 1962. It was developed as a result of experiences in the Korean War where US airpower had great difficulty in destroying targets which required precise aiming and were often heavily defended, such as bridges.

Although they could hit targets fairly accurately, pilots found that the warhead of the AGM-12 was not very effective against the massive concrete structures of large bridges in North Vietnam.[citation needed] However, in at least one specific instance, the Bullpup proved its value when a pilot guided one into the cave entrance of a large ammunition dump dug into a mountain. Previous attacks with conventional, unguided ("dumb") bombs had been ineffective against the mountain surface, but when the Bullpup missile entered the cave and detonated, it set off a huge secondary explosion of the stored ammunition.

The Bullpup had a Manual Command Line Of Sight guidance system with roll-stabilization. In flight the pilot or weapons operator tracked the Bullpup by watching a flare on the back of the missile and used a control joystick to steer it toward the target using radio signals. It was initially powered by a solid fuel rocket motor, and carried a 250 lb (110 kg) warhead.

After launching the Bullpup, best accuracy was maintained by continuing to fly the same track, so that the pilot could sight down the smoke trail and steer the missile from directly behind as much as possible. Unfortunately, one problem quickly discovered by pilots in Vietnam was that gunners on the ground could simply fire at the smoke trail of the missile's flare and have a fairly good chance of hitting the aircraft that had launched—and was still guiding—the missile. Thus, to try to protect their own aircraft, the pilot would "jig" slightly off of the missile's path and hopefully avoid the anti-aircraft fire.

General Information
Developed by USA
Deployed by Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Norway, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, USA
Development Year 1953
Deployment Year 1959(A), 1963(B)
Platform A-4 Skyhawk,A-5 Vigilante,A-6 Intruder,A-7 Corsair,F-4 Phantom,F-8 Crusader,F-100 Super Saber,F-105 Thunderchief,P-3 Orion,Sea Vixen,Buccaneer
Number manufactured 22,100(Bullpup-A),4,600(Bullpup-B)
Contractor Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles,Maxson Electronics(second source)

Dimensions and Performance
Length 3.20m(Bullpup A), 4.14m(Bullpup B)
Body Diameter 30.5cm, 45.0cm
Wing/Fin span 0.94m, 1.22m
Launch Weight 258kg, 812kg
Range 7km, 18.5km
Speed Mach 1.8

Components
Propulsion liquid propellant
Engine Thiokol LR-62RM2 storable liquid fuel rocket motor
Warhead 113kg HE(A), 454kg HE or 15kT nuclear (W45)(B)
Guidance radio-command

End notes