National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > McDonnell B-72


Posted 7/8/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

Mission and Description (Oct. 30, 1956)

The design mission of the XGAM-72 Air Launched Decoy Missiles is to confuse, dilute, saturate or otherwise degrade a hostile radar controlled air defense system. The missile is launched from a B-47 or B-52 Type Carrier Aircraft in order to improve the destructive potential and reduce the cost of strategic bombing missions.

The decoy missile system consists of a small, air-launched guided aircraft missile with a speed comparable to the B-47 and B-52 aircraft. The missiles, which are internally stored in the bomber, are launched individually and fly a predetermined flight path, employing passive radar reflective devices to simulate the bombardment aircraft radar pattern on hostile radar equipment.

The XGAM-72 is a single, turbojet engine-powered, high wing, modified delta configuration with fixed vertical fins disposed above and below the wing and rudders affixed on the lower fins. Elevons are attached to the trailing edge of the wing.

Guidance: Timer-programmed, gyro-reference autopilot flight control system. System maintains preset flight path within accuracy of +/- 2° in heading, +/- 1,000 ft. in altitude, and + .05 Mach, -0 Mach in speed. Programmer can command two turns, one speed change, and one altitude change down range after launch.

The museum has a McDonnell ADM-20 Quail on display in the Cold War Gallery.

Type Number built/
XGAM-72 - Decoy missile; became ADM-20

Armament: None
Engines: One General Electric J85-GE-3 axial flow turbojet of 2,450 lbs. thrust at 16,500 rpm (maximum); normal thrust (continuous) was 2,000 lbs. at 15,540 rpm
Maximum fuel capacity: 38.2 gallons
Maximum speed: 630 mph. / 546 knots at 50,000 ft.
Operating speed: 432 to 489 knots at 35,000 to 40,000 ft.; 460 to 517 knots at 40,000 to 50,000 ft. (Mach control prevents speed in excess of 0.95 M)
Range: 357 nautical miles at 35,000 ft. at 0.8 M in 46 min.; 445 nautical miles at 50,000 ft. at 0.85 M in 55 minutes
Operational altitude: Launch: 35,000 ft. minimum, 50,000 ft. maximum; Cruise: 35,000 ft. minimum, 50,000 ft. maximum
Span: 5 ft. 5 in. wings unfolded (2 ft. 5 in. wings folded)
Incidence: -1.5°
Dihedral: 0.0°
Sweepback (leading edge): 45°
Wing area: 27.73 sq. ft.
Length: 12 ft. 11 in.
Height: 3 ft. 4 in. wings unfolded (2 ft. 2 in. wings folded)
Weight: 1,198 lbs. launch weight

Click here to return to the Bomber Aircraft index.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerWeapons


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act