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What is a Secret Squirrel?

Secret Squirrel Project

Three months after the U.S. raid on Libya in 1986, in retaliation against terrorist groups for their attacks on Americans in Europe, the Pentagon asked the Air Force to find a more effective way to destroy enemy targets that would maximize accuracy and pose no danger to the shooters, and that would be so efficient that it would save the lives of innocent people.

History of the Secret Squirrel

In the late 80s the US Air Force chose the cruise missile, the only weapon of confrontation that it possessed, this missile had nuclear weapons AGM86B, and began to develop a conventional version, this missile was built by the multinational Boeing, which influenced the rehire of this company for the modification in the precision of those missiles.

Boeing's technicians removed the W-80 warheads from the ALMC missiles and the guidance systems, and later replacing them with conventional 1,000 pound explosive fragmentation warheads, producing the effect for a 2,000 pound bomb by improving the accuracy with GPS satellite receivers.

On January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm was launched, and the true story of Secret Squirrel began there. It was the new USAF weapon that marked a new in range and precision, and reaffirmed the air power of the United States.

Secret Squirrel Project

Secret Squirrel is an AGM86C cruise missile, also known as CALCM. On the day of its debut, seven B52G aircraft with a cargo of 244 tons left Louisiana to cover a route that would make history, carrying on board Secret Squirrel, a weapon never used in combat, they flew a distance of more than 14,000 miles, in a flight time of more than 35 hours without a stopover, becoming the longest combat departure ever known.

The Secret Squirrel, named by the crew to honor a famous comic book character, was developed in secret for four years before, the vital need to keep the weapon secret was motivated by several aspects:

  • The first was due to the reasons that the Air Force had to carry out surprise attacks when the use of these missiles was required
  • The second aspect was that AGM86C, externally, were similar to their nuclear counterparts and if disclosed in advance could cause complications in nuclear arms control agreements with international bodies
  • There were few GPS satellites available in operation in the 80s, and the position of the existing ones would be available to the enemy, causing that through that information they could know when the missiles would be launched, preparing and minimizing the effect of these
Secret Squirrel Project

Facts of the Secret Squirrel

  • In August 1987, flight tests of this weapon began
  • Secret Squirrel was declared operational in 1988
  • In 1988, 36 missiles were taken to storage igloos, where they were kept for three years at Barksdale
  • During 1990, CALCM were drawn as a precaution against Iraqi attacks in the Persian Gulf
  • The Air Force in 1990, issued a communication to the Security Council about the availability of the Secret Squirrel to attack command, control, communication and electrical networks in Iraq in a flight time of only one day
  • Of the 35 CALCM launched in Iraq, 90% destroyed their enemy targets
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