Aerospace Legacy Foundation

Your portal to America's aerospace history

Aerospace Legacy Foundation (ALF) is a community based non-profit organization (501c3) including aerospace retirees and the public at large. Preserving Southern California's Aerospace and Aviation History including Downey's aerospace legacy.

Hound Dog Missile

“The Downey division pioneered advances in missile technology that became the cornerstone of America's rocket industry.  The Downey plant produced the GAM-77 (AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile) Hound-Dog, an air-to-surface nuclear missile carried under the wings of B-52 bombers.
The Downey U.S. Air Force Plant 16/North American Aviation, Inc., occupied the same Downey land that E.M. Smith had bought in the 1920’s to found an air field and aviation company, and which Vultee made great during the World War II years. 
The project, the Hound Dog Air-to-Ground Missile Program, was to aid the mighty U.S. fleet of B-52s hit targets while remaining at a relatively safe distance. It used much of the tracking technology already developed for the Navaho Missile. 
July 1957: Proposal for GAM-77 Hound Dog is submitted to Air Force.   The contract was awarded North American in Oct 1958, two and a half years after the Strategic Air Command had realized its need.  
The Hound Dog was the mainstay of the company through the early 1960s, turning out missiles to arm SAC's 29 B-52 squadrons. Production ceased in 1963”. Source- AMMS Alumni

Above- GAM-77 Hound Dog Missile.

Above- GAM-77 Hound Dog Missile.

Above- AGM-28A Hound Dog Missile.

Above- AGM-28A Hound Dog Missile.

Above- Hound Dog missiles line the runway at North American Aviation Missile Division in Downey CA, 1959-1960. Facing southeast.

Above- Hound Dog missiles line the runway at North American Aviation Missile Division in Downey CA, 1959-1960. Facing southeast.

“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”. 
Full Article

Courtesy- AMMS Alumni

Above- Boeing B-52G-105-BW Stratofortress 58-0216 armed with two North American Aviation AGM-28 Hound Dog ALCMs. (U.S. Air Force)