USAF B-52 Launching AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile

Video of a B-52H Stratofortress test launching an AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile over the Utah Test and Training Range during a Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program. The AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles and AGM-86C/D conventional air-launched cruise missiles were developed to increase the effectiveness of B-52H bombers. In combination, they dilute an enemy’s forces and complicate defense of its territory. The small, winged AGM-86B/C/D missile is powered by a turbofan jet engine that propels it at sustained subsonic speeds. After launch, the missile’s folded wings, tail surfaces and engine inlet deploy. The AGM-86B is then able to fly complicated routes to a target through use of a terrain contour-matching guidance system. The AGM-86C/D uses an onboard Global Positioning System coupled with its inertial navigation system to fly. This allows the missile to guide itself to the target with pinpoint accuracy. AGM-86B/C/D missiles increase flexibility in target selection. AGM-86B missiles can be air-launched in large numbers by the bomber force. B-52H bombers carry six AGM-86B/C/D missiles on each of two externally mounted pylons and eight internally on a rotary launcher, giving the B-52H a maximum capacity of 20 missiles per aircraft.

USAF B-52 Launching AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile

USAF B-52 Launching AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile

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