AGM-62 Walleye I and Walleye II | Specs
Research and Sources
In the early 1960s development of a television guided bomb which would become known as the AGM-62 Walleye took place at the Naval Ordnance Center (now the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division) at China Lake, California. On 29 January 1963, a YA-4B Skyhawk piloted by Commander J.A. Sickel released a Walleye at China Lake. This was the first full test of the weapon and it scored a direct hit on the designated target. Three years later, after further testing, a production contract was issued to Martin Marietta. In 1967 the Walleye entered service and soon saw action in the Vietnam war. The Walleye had an eight-point linear shaped-charge warhead, capable of penetrating 18 inches (46 cm) of steel-reinforced concrete, or a ship's armored hull. The AGM-62 (Air-to-Ground Missile) designation is a misnomer. it's clearly a weapon that's un-powered in flight and is not a missile.
The Walleye's first strike occurred on 11 March 1967 when a A-4 Skyhawk of VA-212 from the USS Bon Homme Richard launched a Walleye from 5 miles (8 km) away with a slant range of 40,000 ft (about 7.5 miles) against the Sam Son barracks complex. Pilot Commander Homer Smith, observed the weapon's flight as it entered a window of the barracks and exploded, destroying the building completely. This accuracy was to be repeated as 69 percent of the 774 Walleyes dropped by the Navy in the war were direct hits. The Walleye required a high contrast area on the target in order to 'lock-on' the weapon, and this wasn't always available, some targets proved difficult to attack as a result. At $35,000 a copy (at least three times the cost of a LGB) the Walleye was fairly expensive but it had an advantage in that it was 'release and leave.' After aiming and releasing the Walleye the aircraft could then egress the area immediately thus avoiding defensive fire - as the weapon guided itself to the target. A laser-guided bomb, however required an illuminator designate the target till impact. The Air Force also used the Walleye, the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) dropped 206 Walleyes before the end of the war.
An improved Walleye, the Walleye II was introduced in 1972. It had a larger warhead and longer range and it also had the final word on wrecking the Thanh Hoa Bridge. On 6 October 1972 four Vought A-7s from the USS America attacked the bridge, two carried a Walleye II each and two carried regular 2,000 lb (907 kg) Mk-84 bombs. Striking the center piling the weapons broke the structure in two. Nicknamed "Fat Albert," 82 Walleye II's were used in the war, three with the addition of a radio data link (DL) for a "man-in-the-loop" capability. This allowed the Weapon Systems Operator (WSO) or Bombadier/Navigator (B/N) in the plane to update or change the aiming point if needed. More importantly, the datalink allowed an aircraft at standoff range to control the weapon launched from a second aircraft. This improved survivability in high threat areas. The Air Force developed a TV-guided weapon of its own called the Homing Bomb System or HOBOS
Click here to see full specifications of the Walleye and Walleye II.
|Name||AGM-62 Walleye I||Walleye II|
|Type||Electro-Optical Guided Bomb|
|Manufacturer||Martin Marietta||Hughes 1|
|Cost||$31,500 - $39,500||?|
|In Combat||early 1967 on A-4 Skyhawks||1972|
|# Used in Combat||898||82|
|Warhead||825 lb (375 kg) 2 MK 58||1,900 Ib (862 kg) 3 MK 87|
|Total Weight||1100 lb (500 kg)||2340 lb (1060 kg)|
|Length||11 ft 4 in (3.44 m)||13 ft 3 in (4.04 m )|
|Diameter||12.5 in (32 cm)||18 in (46 cm)|
|Fin Span||3 ft 9 in (1.14 m)||4 ft 3 in (1.3 m)|
|Range||1,975 - 32,400 yards (1805 - 29625 m) 4||1,975 - 49,300 yards (1805 - 45080 m) 4|
|1||Walleye II was manufactured by Hughes under subcontract to Martin Marietta|
|2||Walleye I was equipped with eight-point linear shaped-charge warhead, capable of penetrating 18 inches (46 cm) of steel-reinforced concrete.|
|3||Walleye II also had a linear shaped-charge warhead, but of greater size.|
|4||Depending on launch altitude. Info from "A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware" by Christopher Chant|
Estimates vary by source, especially range and cost.
"Operation Linebacker I 1972 The first high-tech air war" by Marshall L. Michel III, Osprey publishing (ePub edition), 2019
"Rolling Thunder 1965-1968 Vietnam's most controversial air campaign" by Richard P. Hallion, Osprey publishing (ePub edition), 2018
"Linebacker The Untold Story of the Air Raids over North Vietnam" by Karl J. Eschmann, Lume Books (Kindle edition), 2018
"The Long Road to Desert Storm and Beyond" by Major Donald L. Blackwelder, School Of Advanced Airpower Studies, May 1992
"Second Generation Weaponry in SEA", HQ PACAF Directorate, Tactical Evaluation Project CHECO SEA Report, 10 September 1970
"Linebacker Operations September - December 1972", Project CHECO Office of History HQ PACAF 31 December 1978
Southeast Asia War Gallery of National Air Force Museum
Getting Closer: Precision Guided Weapons in the Southeast Asia War (National Air Force Museum)
National Archives Catalog
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