Beginning during the 1960s, the USAF quickly increased broad involvement with working observation drones over Southeast Asia, and the little "bugs", basically AQM-34 variants of the Firebee target drone, end up being very survivable against hostile to airplane gunnery and SA-2 rockets. This pointed a route towards another age of air-dispatched journey rockets that would give key aircraft a deadlock ability against progressively viable Soviet air protections. The AQM-34 was around the size of later ALCMs, however a powerplant more proficient than the turbojet motor of the AQM-34 would be expected to give such little airplane a helpful vital reach. Joyfully, work was in progress on little turbofans, and by the mid 1970s minimal units appraised at around 500-600lbs push were plausible. 

The ALCM really stems legitimately from the Subsonic Cruise Armed Decoy (SCAD) program of the mid 1970s, which was pointed toward giving SAC little aircraft dispatched imitation rockets that would flood Soviet radar screens with bogus targets. For 10 years, this mission had been taken care of by the McDonnell Douglas GAM-72/ADM-20 Quail, a little turbojet dronw. The direct opposite of what might later be classified "secrecy" innovation, Quail was fitted with highlights that enormously amplified its radar cross area, in the expectations that Soviet radar administrators would peruse the improved returns as coming from the planes themselves, significantly muddling endeavors at blocking the genuine dangers. SCAD was to assume control over the fake job, exploiting enhancements in ECM innovation to additional compound the hardships of foe air safeguard faculty. SCAD itself would be a danger too, having the option to oblige a little atomic warhead. SCAD was to be conveyed by both the B-52 and the B-1A. 

(Quail and SCAD were not really the main projects pointed toward furnishing SAC aircraft with fake and safeguard concealment rockets. Otherwise called MX-2013, the Radioplane B-67/GAM-67 Crossbow was a 1950s endeavor at a vital enemy of radar rocket that would be terminated against Soviet establishments up to 300 miles away, under the intensity of a J69 turbojet. The B-50 Superfortress could convey a couple of Crossbows, while the B-47 Stratojet could oblige four. Another dropped configuration was the XGAM-71 Buck Duck, which was to be conveyed by the B-36 Peacemaker. Lastly, the SM-73 Bull Goose was a Fairchild program for a ground-dispatched delta-wing distraction rocket (which could be outfitted) that would fly from US dispatch locales into the USSR, voyage drive being given by a Fairchild J83 turbojet. The Goose program was dropped in December 1958, with the motor being dropped a month later.) 

By July 1972, Boeing had been chosen as the SCAD airframe contractual worker, with Philco-Ford being accused of building up the ECM suite and Litton providing the direction. Prior, Teledyne CAE and Williams Research had been contracted to create serious motor models; Williams won creation orders with its F107 plan. SCAD's plan looked like a little airplane, a fuselage with a fundamentally three-sided cross-segment was mated to wings cleared at 35 degrees, these being stretched out after the rocket was dispatched. The motor would have a dorsal delta only in front of the little vertical tail. The whole bundle was measured to fit the standard SRAM launcher. 

In spite of the contact grants, the SCAD program would just hurry to July 1973, when the program was put on break to permit the reasoning and necessities of the framework to be reevaluated. By 1974, SCAD had offered path to the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) program, which would be extraordinarily gotten from the first AGM-86, however improved only for the strike job. The AGM-86A or ALCM-A would have a scope of around 750 miles, conveying a SRAM-type W69 warhead. By the spring of 1977, Boeing had been coordinated to start take a shot at the long-range adaptation, which was assigned AGM-86B. This had an airframe extended to allow a bigger fuel tank, this assisting with boosting reach to 1,500 miles. The wings didn't have as much breadth, the shapes of the nose and tail were changed, and the W80 warhead from the Navy's BGM-109 was fill in for the ALCM-A's W69. Dry runs utilizing rockets with live motors were in progress by the spring of 1976, and in September of that year "full-up" vehicles started preliminaries. 

This didn't mean a prompt finish to the AGM-86A, as certain organizers needed to purchase a combination of An and B-models, utilizing remotely conveyed AGM-86Bs for missions that requested additional reach, while utilizing the first models for less troublesome targets. Moreover, restriction of ALCM range as a feature of arms control arrangements was a chance, and this offered belief to making the AGM-86A convertible to B-model setup, permitting the US, if fundamental, the ability to quickly break out of deal impediments to coordinate future Soviet turns of events. Handling a bigger ALCM introduced a few issues, fundamentally similarity worries with the B-52. A more drawn out rocket implied that another revolving launcher would be fundamental for inward carriage, as the current SRAM unit couldn't be utilized, and a more extended launcher would meddle with bomb carriage. Eventually, it was concluded that the B-52's ability to convey the substantial B28 gravity bomb would be surrendered to take into account longer ALCMs. 

The ALCM's little size made numerous airplane potential dispatch stages for the framework, and recommendations were made during the last part of the 1970s and mid 1980s to adjust both new and more seasoned plans to the job. Huge vehicle types specifically were inspected by a few organizations, including Boeing, whose 747 could convey many rockets inside, the weapons being catapulted through a fuselage port. Lockheed's C-5 Galaxy was additionally a competitor, and exhibition equipment was really constructed, despite the fact that air dispatch tests were not done. Other huge airplane considered were the Lockheed C-141, L-1011, and Boeing C-135 and 707. While fit for conveying weighty rocket stacks, the vehicle inferred airplane would practically zero ability to enter secured airspace. Rockwell, actually wanting to rescue a portion of its B-1A work, proposed a subordinate airplane with fixed wings that could convey an extended heap of ALCMs, while General Dynamics recommended a few revamp programs for the F-111 and FB-111 armadas that would have included adding ALCM capacity. Eventually, it was chosen to restrict ALCM sending at first to the changed over B-52s. 

Regardless of both Air Force and Navy journey rocket programs having been made as comparative as could be expected under the circumstances, there was still strain to purchase a solitary normal rocket for the two  missions, and Congress directed that a serious take off between the ALCM and Tomahawk be led. The AGM-86B would be the standard Boeing rocket, while GD would enter the AGM-109 adaptation of the Tomahawk. Like the Boeing section, the AGM-109 would not fit on an unmodified SRAM launcher, and albeit an abbreviated form of the rocket had before been thought of, this model would have had a drastically abbreviated reach. Incidentally, simply such a form, though routinely outfitted and named Airhawk, was proposed in the last part of the 1990s to both the USAF and RAF. 

To lead the flyoff, a triplet of B-52s were fitted as dispatch airplane, while four Phantoms were reserved as pursue planes. To depict a run of the mill wartime mission that would start over water, long-range test dispatches were led off the California coast, with the rockets traveling to a reach in Utah. The flyoff started on July 17, 1979 when an AGM-109 was dispatched. The Boeing rocket previously flew on August 3, however smashed in Utah. In spite of this ominous start, Boeing was later named the champ of the assessment, and on March 25, 1980 the organization was officially granted the creation contract. 

Indeed, even before the flyoff had been finished, the USAF had assigned the 416th Bomb Wing's B-52s at Griffiss AFB as the primary airplane to convey the triumphant ALCM plan operationally. Beside the basic and flying changes fundamental, ALCM-adjusted B-52Gs were likewise fitted with strakelets on the wing driving edges; these were sufficiently enormous to be seen by Soviet surveillance satellites, permitting ALCM transporters to be meant arms control purposes. Conveyances of operational ALCMs to Griffiss started in the spring of 1981, and by December of the next year the B-52G/AGM-86B blend was in administration. The G-model Stratofortresses could just convey ALCM remotely on wing arches, yet the later H-model transformations were fitted for interior carriage too, utilizing the Common Strategic Rotary Launcher. The B-1B Lancer was essentially viable with the ALCM framework, yet was not operationally designed for utilizing the rocket, being utilized basically as an entrance aircraft prior to exchanging over to the regular job. 

At a certain point, the USAF needed to purchase more than 3,400 AGM-86Bs, yet amusingly, given the measure of discussion, time, and cash engaged with getting the rocket into creation, this extended purchase would be profoundly cut. Fears that cutting-edge Soviet "peer down/kill" interceptors, for example, the MiG-31 Foxhound and new SAMs, for example, the SA-10 and SA-12 would have the option to discover and crush ALCMs prodded the drive to put low-perceptible highlights on another plan, the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile, and to let loose budgetary assets the AGM-86B program was downsized. A sum of 1,715 ALCMs were conveyed, with the last being turned over toward the beginning of October 1986.