AGM-12 Bullpup

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 It was superseded by more advanced weapons, notably the AGM-62 Walleye and AGM-65 Maverick.

AGM-12 Bullpup
AGM-12D Bullpup B Missile at the Air Force Armament Museum
TypeAir-to-ground command guided missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In serviceASM-N-7 1959–1970s ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B 1965–1970s
Used byUnited States, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Norway, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom
WarsVietnam War
Production history
ManufacturerMartin Marietta, W.L. Maxson
No. built22,100 (total)

4,600 (AGM-12C)

840 (AGM-12E)
VariantsASM-N-7, ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B, AGM-12C, GAM-83B/AGM-12D, AGM-12E
Mass1,785 pounds (810 kg) (AGM-12C)
Length13.6 feet (4.1 m)
Diameter18 inches (460 mm)
WarheadConventional 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 weight250 pounds (110 kg) (ASM-N-7A/AGM-12B) 970 pounds (440 kg) (AGM-12C)

30,000 pounds-force (130 kN)
Wingspan48 inches (1.2 m)
PropellantStorable, liquid-fuel
10 nautical miles (12 mi; 19 km)
Speedapprox. 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 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.


Current operators


 Taiwan (Republic of China)

 United Kingdom
 United States

See also

  • Kh-23 (AS-7 'Kerry') – a Soviet command-guided missile inspired by the Bullpup
  • AS-20 – similar French missile developed in the late 1950s
  • AJ 168 Martel missile – contemporary Anglo-French missile with TV guidance
  • Martin Pescador MP-1000 – an Argentinian guided missile with similar guidance system

Related lists


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