B-1B Lancer Bomber
The AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles and AGM-86C 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.
AGM-86B/C 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 or AGM-86C 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.
The AGM-86C CALCM differs from the AGM-86B air launched cruise missile in that it carries a conventional blast/fragmentation payload rather than a nuclear payload and employs a GPS aided INS.
An enemy force would have to counterattack each of the missiles, making defense against them costly and complicated. The enemy's defenses are further hampered by the missiles' small size and low-altitude flight capability, which makes them difficult to detect on radar.
Production of the initial 225 AGM-86B missiles began in fiscal year 1980 and production of a total 1,715 missiles was completed in October 1986. The air-launched cruise missile had become operational four years earlier, in December 1982, with the 416th Bombardment Wing, Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., which deactivated when the base closed in 1995.
In June 1986 a limited number of AGM-86B missiles were converted to carry a high-explosive blast/fragmentation warhead and an internal GPS. They were redesignated as the AGM-86C CALCM. This modification also replaced the B model's terrain contour-matching guidance system and integrated a GPS capability with the existing inertial navigation computer system.
The CALCM became operational in January 1991 at the onset of Operation Desert Storm. Seven B-52s, from Barksdale AFB, La., launched 35 missiles at designated launch points in the U. S. Central Command's area of responsibility to attack high-priority targets in Iraq. These "round-robin" missions marked the beginning of the air campaign for Kuwait's liberation and are the longest known aircraft combat sorties in history (more than 14,000 miles and 35 hours of flight).
CALCM's most recent employment occurred in Sept. 1996 during Operation Desert Strike. In response to Iraq's continued hostilities against the Kurds in northern Iraq, the Air Force launched 13 CALCMs in a joint attack with the Navy. This mission has put the CALCM program in the spotlight for future modifications.
In 1996 and 1997, 200 additional CALCMs were produced from excess ALCMs. These missiles, designated Block I, incorporate improvements such as a larger and improved conventional payload (3,000 pound blast class), a multi-channel GPS receiver and integration of the buffer box into the GPS receiver. The upgraded avionics package was retrofitted into all existing CALCM (Block 0) so all AGM-86C missiles are electronically identical.
The MK-82 and MK-84 are similar in construction, varying only in size and weight. The MK-82 weighs 531 lbs. and contains 192 lbs. of explosive filler. The bomb's length is 7 feet 2 inches and has a diameter of 11 inches. In contrast, the MK-84 weighs 1,972 lbs. and contains 945 lbs. of explosive filler. The bomb is 12 feet 8 inches in length and has a diameter of 18 inches.
Both bombs normally contain tritonal 80-20 or tritonal/minol 2, but may contain H-6 high explosive filler. Due to the extreme differential in weight, the standard load for an F-16 is either two MK-84s or six MK-82s. Both bombs are compatible with many different fuses. In many cases, however, the M904 nose fuse or M905 tail fuse is used.
The frag pattern for a MK-82 at 5,000 feet pressure altitude is 2,500 feet vertically and 2,900 feet horizontally. The time of fall is 25.9 seconds. The frag pattern for the MK-84 at the same pressure altitude is 3,150 feet vertically and 3,175 feet horizontally. The time of fall is 29.7 seconds.