Through the outstanding efforts of Hawthorne Ordnance Museum Curator Herman Millsap and Peter Papadakos, Assistant Curator, the museum received on Aug. 23, an inert AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile, a 110 Mile-Standoff, Mach 3.5 Air Speed, 210 Kiloton, nuclear-armed, Air to Surface Missile now on display.
Built by the Boeing Company, the 2,230 pound, 14 foot long, MACH 3.5, AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile was built to replace the aging AGM-28 Hound Dog stand-off-missile system. The requirement for the weapon was issued by the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command in 1964 and the missile entered service in 1972.
Originally designed to be carried by USAF B-52H Bombers, Multiple SRAM loading was accomplished by loading 2 wing Pylons per wing with 3 SRAMs each (6 total per wing) and internally on an eight-round rotary launcher. Two rotary launchers could be carried — one in the forward and one in the Aft Bomb bay, but the B-52 was limited to a total of 20 missiles. Each SAC Base had at least a single B-52 from that base on station outside Soviet Air Space, ready to unleash its 20 missiles — flying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 15 years. Each SRAM is 16 times more powerful than the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima during World War II.
Follow up studies on SRAM deployment suggested SRAM use on the USAF FB-111A aircraft due to its more accurate inertial Navigation System and more stable high speed flight performance.
Alert-Status FB-111A’s could carry six SRAMs but a maximum of four was more typical: two in the weapons bay and two more on the inboard wind pivot pylons. SRAM internal carrying was restricted because the Air Force did not buy sufficient quantities of MAU-140 Ejector Rack Adapters to outfit all 76 aircraft. Further, the externally-mounted missiles required the addition of a tail cone to reduce aerodynamic drag during supersonic flight. Upon rocket motor ignition, this tail cone was blown away by the exhaust plume.
The AGM-69 was withdrawn from alert use on June 7, 1990 by the Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney with complete retirement in 1993.
The SRAM on display at the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum is displayed in the configuration as used by Sandia National Labs during joint-testing and evaluation flights of the SRAM at the Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, from March to May 1975 to address a fusing and autopilot problem. This SRAM was provided by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and acquired, restored and re-lettered by HOM in August 2013.