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Trumping the SAMs: The F-105G and the Standard AGM-78 Missile

In 1967 the USAF began developing the more capable F-105G with improved and standardized radar homing and warning equipment. Equally important was the introduction of the Standard AGM-78 anti-radar missile, which was a vast improvement over the Shrike missile. The AGM-78 was first employed by F-105 Wild Weasels on March 10, 1968.

Although Rolling Thunder ended in 1968, Thud Wild Weasels remained busy flying north in "protective reaction" strikes into 1972. These strikes initially targeted North Vietnamese SAM sites that fired on reconnaissance aircraft, but later included other North Vietnamese targets.

Yet, frustrating limitations persisted. The Wild Weasels were not supposed to attack SA-2 sites unless the SAM radars "locked on" to friendly aircraft first. Because officials limited the air campaign against North Vietnam during this time, the enemy could expand their SAM coverage into Laos and the southern part of North Vietnam. Moreover, early Standard missiles suffered reliability problems and remained in short supply through 1970.

In 1970, as part of the "Vietnamization" program, the USAF began reducing its forces in Southeast Asia. In November the Wild Weasels were consolidated into the 6010th Wild Weasel Squadron at Korat. In December 1971 it was redesignated the 17th Wild Weasel Squadron. 

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