©2013 - Patrick L. Groleau

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My squadron, the 42nd Munitions Maintenance Squadron, a part of the Strategic Air Command's 42nd Bomb Wing, was the first in the USAF to deploy the AGM69 missile. In combat, upon rotation to the bottom position in the rotary launcher, each missile would have instantly electrically tested, downloaded with its targeting data, then ejected from the bomb bay of the B52H to fly at supersonic speed to its target, which could be in any direction from the aircraft. Loaded with up to twenty of these missiles (plus four B28FI bombs), the rather ancient and "low-tech" BUFF became a most formidable strategic resource. Coated with a layer of silicon rubber, these W69 warhead tipped rockets had the radar reflectivity of a softball! Virtually unstoppable once launched, each of these weapons could cause many times the destruction of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, to the extreme that a B52 so loaded as stated above carried more destructive power than the the total of all the munitions expended by both sides in World War II (including the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan)!

agm69 short range attack missile

A B-52 carrying up to 20 AGM69 SRAM’s doing a low-level penetration of enemy airspace was a powerfully effective and almost unstoppable weapon system.  Each SRAM could rocket at well over 2,000 miles per hour on a straight or “dog leg” pattern to a target 110 miles from its launch.  With a 1200 foot CEP (Circular Probability Error), the radar profile of a softball, and containing a W69 warhead with a 200kt yield (10 Hiroshimas), once launched it was almost a certainty that an AGM-69 would completely destroy all but deeply buried “hardened” targets.  For those, the B28FI bombs also carried by the B-52 would insure a “hole big enough to make sure!”