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AGM-12 Bullpup
AGM-12D Bullpup missile on display at Air Force Armament Museum.jpg
AGM-12D Bullpup B Missile at the Air Force Armament Museum
Type Air-to-ground command guided missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service ASM-N-7 1959–1970s

ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B 1965–1970s

Used by United States, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Norway, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom
Wars Vietnam War
Production history
Manufacturer Martin Marietta, W.L. Maxson
Produced 1959–1970
Number built 22,100 (total)

4,600 (AGM-12C)
840 (AGM-12E)

Variants ASM-N-7, ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B, AGM-12C, GAM-83B/AGM-12D, AGM-12E
Weight 1,785 pounds (810 kg) (AGM-12C)
Length 13.6 feet (4.1 m)
Diameter 18 inches (460 mm)

Warhead Conventional high-explosive (ASM-N-7, ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B)

Semi armor-piercing (AGM-12C)
W45 Nuclear (GAM-83B/AGM-12D)
Cluster munition (AGM-12E)

Warhead weight 250 pounds (110 kg) (ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B)

970 pounds (440 kg) (AGM-12C)

Engine Rocket
30,000 pounds-force (130 kN)
Wingspan 48 inches (1.2 m)
Propellant Storable, liquid-fuel
10 nautical miles (12 mi; 19 km)
Speed approx. Mach 1.8
Line-of-sight radio command
FJ-4B, A-4D, F-4, F-8, F-105, Draken, F-5A/B Freedom Fighter, F-100

The AGM-12 Bullpup is an air-to-ground missile which was used on the A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, F-105 Thunderchief, F-4 Phantom II, F-8 Crusader, and P-3 Orion in U.S. service and on numerous other NATO and Allied aircraft. It was superseded by more advanced weapons, notably the AGM-62 Walleye and AGM-65 Maverick.


The Bullpup was the first mass-produced air-surface command guided missile, first deployed by the United States Navy in 1959 as the ASM-N-7, until it was redesignated the AGM-12B in 1962. It was developed as a result of experiences in the Korean War where US airpower had great difficulty in destroying targets which required precise aiming and were often heavily defended, such as bridges.


The Bullpup had a Manual Command Line Of Sight guidance system with roll-stabilization. In flight the pilot or weapons operator tracked the Bullpup by watching a flare on the back of the missile and used a control joystick to steer it toward the target using radio signals. It was initially powered by a solid fuel rocket motor, and carried a 250 lb (110 kg) warhead.

After launching the Bullpup, best accuracy was maintained by continuing to fly the same track, so that the pilot could sight down the smoke trail and steer the missile from directly behind as much as possible. Unfortunately, one problem quickly discovered by pilots in Vietnam was that gunners on the ground could simply fire at the smoke trail of the missile's flare and have a fairly good chance of hitting the aircraft that had launched—and was still guiding—the missile. Thus, to try to protect their own aircraft, the pilot would "jig" slightly off of the missile's path and hopefully avoid the anti-aircraft fire.


Later versions of the missile included upgrades such as a larger 1000 lb (450 kg) warhead, improved rocket motors, and improved guidance—the latter originally developed as part of the GAM-79 White Lance project for an improved, enlarged Bullpup for the US Air Force—and, in one late version, the ability to carry a nuclear warhead, also pioneered as part of the GAM-79 project.[1]

The weapon was phased out of US service in the 1970s but was still used by other countries much later. Some militaries currently still use some as inert practice weapons.[citation needed]


Map with AGM-12 operators in blue

A US Navy A-4E of VA-164 from USS Oriskany (CVA-34) over North Vietnam in November 1967. The Bullpup missile is clearly visible under the port wing

An AGM-12C at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Current operators

Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark

 Taiwan (Republic of China)

 United Kingdom
United States

See also


  1. Parsch, Andreas (2007). "Martin AGM-12 Bullpup". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 

External links

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