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Air-Launched Weapons

USAF retires CALCM cruise missile

05 December 2019
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Current and retired service personnel from the 2nd Bomb Wing pose in front of the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile package at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on 20 November. The CALCM missile package is being retired and replaced by the more advanced Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon. Source: US Air Force

The US Air Force (USAF) has retired the Boeing AGM-86C/D Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) that has been operational for nearly 35 years.

The event, announced on 4 December, saw the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana disassemble and decommission the final CALCM missile package on 20 November.

Having been developed from the 1960s, the CALCM was introduced into USAF service in 1988 and saw its first combat deployment in the Gulf War of 1991. In its more-than-three-decades of use, the cruise missile has been carried exclusively by Boeing B-52G/H Stratofortress bombers on operations Desert Storm, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

As noted by Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, the CALCM is a long-range, inertial-guided, cruise missile powered by a turbofan motor and armed with a 1,201 lb conventional blast/fragmentation warhead, replacing the nuclear warhead of the earlier AGM-86B ALCM. From 1986 to 2012, a total of 622 AGM-86B ALCMs were believed to have been converted to the CALCM configuration.

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