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AGM-62 Walleye

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A 1960s vintage guided bomb using a variant of command guidance, the AGM-62 Walleye was not a powered guided missile, but a bomb with small wings that allowed it to glide, in later versions, for up to 24 nmi/45 km. It had a television camera in the nose, and sent real-time images back to the operator, who flew it into the target. It was a variant of command guidance in that the operator did not have to guide it all the way into the target, but could release control and have it follow its current trajectory. Some of its guidance electronics have been used in the AGM-84 SLAM program.

The AGM-62 designation, as a missile, might not be used today; guided bombs such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition or PAVEWAY do not have identifiers in the powered missile family. This is changing as some guided bombs are being modified to add propulsion units.

There were many small variations of the weapon, but one of the most important was a warhead greatly enlarged over the original.

Compared with other weapons of the time, it had advantages and disadvantages. As opposed to the powered AGM-12 Bullpup, it did not need constant command guidance. It also did not require a laser designator to be kept on the target. The television guidance worked well against high-contrast targets in daylight, such as power plants in Vietnam in August 1967, but was useless at night or for hard-to-see targets. During Operation DESERT STORM, with bright desert lighting, it also was often impossible to distinguish a target from its shadow.