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AGM-12 Bullpup

The ASM-N-7 Bullpup, fielded by the Navy in 1959, was a cheap and relatively crude weapon, not really very much advanced from the guided weapons used by the Germans during WW II. The name “Bullpup” has nothing to do with either cattle or dogs. It derives from the modern firearm configuration [no one knows why they call them bullpups] in which the action is located behind the trigger group, and alongside the shooter’s face. A carbine is like a rifle but with a shorter barrel, while a bullpup barrel is the same length as a rifle. The bullpup configuration permits a shorter total firearm length - being more compact and having an overall shorter length, allows for greater close-in weapons usage.

It was a sleek rocket, with small pneumatically-operated cruciform control fins on the nose and larger fixed cruciform fins on the tail. The AGM-12 Bullpup command-guided missile was the first mass-produced air-to-surface guided missile. The disappointing Korean bridge-bombing experience stimulated the Navy to pursue development of the postwar Bullpup program. The year 1953 saw the uofficial end of the three-year war in Korea. This war forced many countries to reconsider their military development and the principles of the use of military contingents and weapons. The United States, as one of the main participants in the hostilities, urgently needed new types of military technical developments to maintain their technical superiority over the likely Sino-Soviet enemy.

One of such military-technical developments was the creation of a modern guided missile armament for tactical airplanes. Conventional and guided aerial bombs proved themselves inadequate in combat use. The main reasons were low accuracy of hits, reliability of weapons and low hit efficiency for tactical purposes.

One of the first to realize the need for precision weapons in the United States Armed Forces is the Navy. The defeat of tactical targets, usually heavily covered by anti-aircraft units, was very difficult. The military actions in Korea, in particular the defeat of various types of bridges and crossings, covered by anti-aircraft units, cost the United States Navy a great deal of blood and considerable ammunition. Even so, the targets assigned were not 100 percent destroyed. This required the leadership of the fleet to review the basic principles of the use of forces and weapons and look for more effective ways of accomplishing the tasks at hand.

The United States had favored a technical advantage over a probable adversary, so it's no surprise that several programs to develop new types of weapons were launched immediately after the war. The fleet also formed its requirements for new weapons: an aerial guided missile weapon was required, with the possibility of using it from a safe distance for tactical purposes, with a minimal carrier in the zone of action of the antiaircraft weapons of the enemy. Also, a new missile should be able to defeat small targets. And one more requirement is that it should become inexpensive and fast for mass production with the possibility of production at any plant by any personnel if necessary.

The competition for creating the AUR in 1954 is won by Martin with its project. In 1955, the company introduced the customer the first sample of a developed airborne guided missile. It was introduced as ASM-N-7 "Bullpup" - a small radio-controlled missile. The first launch from the aircraft carrier AUR took place in mid-1955. After there were four years of improvements, after which the missile under the design name went into mass production.

The missile was a compromise between cheapness and mass production and reliability with the use of advanced technologies. And even though the rocket guidance suffered incurable diseases, under optimal conditions of use, it showed phenomenal results for such simplified technologies. With the help of a special joystick, the pilot, guided by tracers, controlled the missile's flight to the target. The guidance was carried out using the AN-ARW-73 (AN / ARW-77) radio guidance system.

The ASM-N-7 Bullpup was first deployed overseas in April 1959 when VA-212, equipped with FJ-4B Furies, sailed from Alameda on board Lexington to join the Seventh Fleet in the western Pacific. The following August, VA-34, equipped with A4Ds sailed from the east coast abroad the Saratoga to join the Sixth Fleet, thus extending Bullpup deployment to the Mediterranean.

Approximately 30,000 Bullpups of all versions were built. More than 4,600 AGM-12Cs and 800 AGM-12Es were built. They were withdrawn from USAF service in the mid-1970s. Foreign users included the Royal Navy and various NATO forces. Some Bullpups are still in service, usually in ground attack training programs. Late in the Bullpup's life, there were attempts to build enhanced follow-on versions.

The consequences of the use in hostilities, spurred the Soviet Union to develop such weapons. As a result, in 1968, the USSR Air Force received the X-23 missile. In addition to the Soviet Union, similar developments began to engage the French engineers (AS-20) and Argentina (Pescador MP-1000).

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Page last modified: 06-12-2017 17:40:31 ZULU