In January 1977, the Carter Administration initiated the Joint Cruise Missile Project, which instructed the US Air Force and US Navy to develop their cruise missiles using common technology. The Air Force was already developing the AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) and the Navy was working on the BGM-109 sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM), with plans for an air-launched version.
The Joint Cruise Missile Project led to two important future trends in American cruise missile development. The first was the adoption of one common propulsion system (the Williams F107 turbofan of the AGM-86) and one common guidance system (the Terrain Contour Matching - TERCOM - system of the BGM-109). The second was the fly-off competition for the final ALCM production contract between the AGM-86 and the AGM-109, the air-launched version of the BGM-109 SLCM. After flight testing, conducted between July 1979 and February 1980, the AGM-86 was declared the winner of the ALCM competition and the development of the AGM-109 contender ended. This AGM-109 test body was created for static testing and weight and balance tests conducted during the ALCM competition.
The Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB was assigned repair and testing responsibilities for the ALCM in November 1979. Much of the ALCM competition took place here and on the nearby Utah Test and Training Range.