The U.S. Air Force retired its final AGM-86C/D Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM), an integral component of the United States’ long-range strategic bombing capabilities.
The final CALCM package was downloaded and disassembled at Barksdale Air Force Base, Nov. 20. The CALCM missile package is replaced by the more advanced long-range, stand-off weapons.
The AGM-86C CALCM and is a conventional blast/fragmentation derivative of the nuclear-armed AGM-86B ALCM subsonic air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). The AGM-86D is the penetrator version of the CALCM which is designed to attack deeply buried targets.
CALCM is a small, winged missile powered by a turbofan jet engine, able to fly complicated routes through terrain with the guidance of a GPS-aided inertial navigation system.
The CALCM missile has been employed in combat operations to include Desert Storm, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. Decades later, the final missile package was disassembled to become demilitarized.
Although missile design began in the mid-1970s, the CALCM wasn’t employed in combat until January 1991, during Operation Secret Squirrel, a mission in which seven B-52G Stratofortresses took off from Barksdale AFB toward Iraqi targets, launching 35 CALCM missiles.
Opening the first strikes of Operation Desert Storm, the then-new CALCM missiles devastated Saddam Hussein’s forces and marked the first time GPS had been used to guide a missile to a target.
Former members of the mission, retired Cols. Trey Morriss and Warren Ward, alongside LaFlame, were in attendance for the final download of the last CALCM missiles.