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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile [SRAM]

The Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM) was developed and produced by the Boeing Aerospace Company, the SRAM measured 14 feet in length, 18 inches in diameter, and weighed approximately 2,230 pounds. Armed with a nuclear warhead and 6 equipped with a simple inertial guidance system, the SRAM was propelled to its range of 20 to 50 nautical miles by a solid-propellant rocket motor. Each SAC B-52 G and H model bomber could carry up to 20 SRAMs, six on each of two wing pylons and eight on a rotary launcher located in the bomb bay. The FB-111, on the other hand, could be equipped with a total of six missiles, two mounted internally and four carried on wing pylons. The B-1B was designed to carry up to 24 SRAMs on three rotary launchers, each equipped with eight SRAMs. Originally, the SRAM's primary mission was to improve the survivability of the SAC manned bomber force through the "neutralization of surface-to-air missile defenses." The mission was later expanded to encompass a secondary objective, the destruction of selected strategic targets.

The SRAM missile program was inaugurated on 23 November 1963 when Headquarters SAC submitted a requirement to the Air Staff for a short-range air-to-surface attack missile for its G and H model B-52 Stratofortresses. Headquarters Air Force expanded the SAC proposal to include the FB-111 and possibly the future B-1 bomber. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara approved the initial development of the air-launched guided missile weapon system on 23 March 1965. The Boeing Company received a contract from Headquarters Air Force on 31 October 1966 to develop and produce the SRAM.

First developed in the 1960s, pulse motors consisted of a series of pre-cast propellant wafers. The first pulse motor placed into service, the AGM-69A Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM-A), was qualified in 1971 and is the only pulse motor to be placed in service to date.

Strategic Air Command accepted delivery of the first production-line SRAM on 1 March 1972. The first B-52 and FB-111 units to become operational with the new missile were the 42nd Bomb Wing (B-52G), Loring AFB, Maine, on 15 September 1972, and the 509th Bomb Wing (FB-111), Pease AFB, New Hampshire, on 1 January 1973. On 20 August 1975, the last 1500 SRAMs were delivered to SAC's 320th Bombardment Wing, Mather AFB, California. The first live launch of a SRAM from a SAC operational B-1B took place on 3 June 1987.

The SRAM A (W-69) warhead had the potential for burn and/or detonation during an aircraft accident or fire. The result is dispersal of plutonium over a wide area. The DOD addressed the primary safety concern by removing the SRAM A from active alert.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:33:48 ZULU