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News > Cruise missile career comes to close
Brig. Gen. Garrett Harencak, commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. crushes an AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile at Hill AFB, Utah, after a recent demilitarization ceremony. (Air Force photo by Alex Lloyd)
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Cruise missile career comes to close

Posted 4/24/2012   Updated 4/24/2012 Email story   Print story


Tinker Public Affairs

4/24/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile was recently demilitarized during a ceremony at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

After the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Garrett Harencak, commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., crushed a missile signifying the historic event.

A decision was made in 2007 to retire the fleet. At the time of the decision there were approximately 460 in the inventory located at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

In February 2008, the final destruction decision was received, and the ACM was directed to be demilitarized, within 66 months. As of today, almost 17 months before the required deadline, all operational missiles have been completely destroyed. The Missile Sustainment Division and the logistics centers at Hill AFB and Tinker AFB have ensured that the demilitarization of ACM missiles, trainers, components and engines, has been executed within budget and ahead of schedule.

The ACM's external shape was optimized for low observables characteristics and includes forward swept wings and control surfaces, a flush air intake and a flat exhaust. These, combined with radar-absorbing material and several other features, resulted in a missile that was virtually impossible to detect on radar.

The ACM was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and was highly accurate with a range of more than 2,000 miles. It was nearly 21 feet long, with a wingspan of 10 ½ feet. It was 2 ½ feet in diameter and when militarized, weighed in at 3,500 pounds, according to the Air Force fact sheet. The weapons system was delivered exclusively by the B-52H Stratofortress bombers. B-52H bombers could carry up to six AGM-129A missiles on each of two external pylons for a total of 12 per aircraft.

Since 1994, Tinker Air Force Base has been home to the Advanced Cruise Missile program office responsible for the sustainment of the missile fleet. The program office is part of the Missile Sustainment Division, a tenant unit at Tinker aligned under the AFNWC located at Kirtland AFB, and has provided program management and technical support for ACM. The 309th Missile Maintenance Wing at Hill AFB has performed all depot support activities throughout the life of the weapon system, to include the final demilitarization.

5/4/2012 4:09:55 PM ET
I worked the ACM as an attack captain from 1989-1992. Those days are perceived my many in the organization at the time as the golden years of our careers. The mission leadership and camaraderie all came together for a couple of magical years. I'm thankful we never had to use it - but I'll bet there are a few cold warriors on the other side who are even more glad we didn't have to use it.
Steve Glazewski, WPAFB OH
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