Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Copyright © 2002-2003 Andreas Parsch

Hughes AGM-124 Wasp

In 1975, the U.S. Air Force initiated the WAAM (Wide-Area Anti-Armour Munitions) program to develop a family of new anti-armour air-to-ground weapons for use by close-support aircraft. The WAAM program led to the development of the CBU-90/B ACM (Anti-Armour Cluster Munition), the CBU-92/B ERAM (Extended Range Anti-Armour Munition), and the Wasp small anti-armour missile. The Wasp was the most advanced of the WAAM weapons, and development began in 1979 when contracts were awarded to Boeing and Hughes. Wasp was to be a small missile, to be carried in substantial numbers by the attack aircraft in cluster munition dispensers. The Boeing design was apparently not successful, and the USAF assigned the designation AGM-124A to the Hughes Wasp missile.

Photos: Hughes

The AGM-124A was a compact missile with folding wings and fins for dense stowage in a multi-missile launch pod. It was intended to launch multiple (10 or more) Wasps simultaneously from a stand-off distance towards the general area where enemy armour had been detected. The swarm of missiles (hence the name Wasp) would follow a pre-programmed flight path to the target area, where each individual missile would use millimeter-wave radar or infrared terminal guidance to identify and home on a specific target.

Photo: Hughes Photo: via Scott Ferrin

Hughes began tests of its millimeter-wave radar seeker in 1981, and the first flight test of an AGM-124A prototype occurred in early 1983. It was originally planned to start production of the AGM-124A in 1987, but in October 1983 the Wasp program was terminated. The other components of the WAAM program were also not entirely successful, with the exception of the CBU-92/B's Skeet projectile, which is used in the BLU-108/B submunition of today's CBU-97/B and CBU-105/B SFW (Sensor Fuzed Weapon) cluster bombs.

Photo: via Scott Ferrin
AGM-124A and launch pod


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for AGM-124A:

Length1.52 m (5 ft)
Wingspan51 cm (20 in)
Diameter20 cm (8 in)
Weight57 kg (125 lb)
Range10 km (6.2 miles)
PropulsionSolid-fueled rocket motor
WarheadShaped charge

Main Sources

[1] Ronald T. Pretty (ed.): "Jane's Weapon Systems 1982-83", Jane's, 1983

Back to Current Designations Of U.S. Unmanned Military Aerospace Vehicles
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles

Last Updated: 12 June 2003