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LGM-30 Minuteman

LGM-30 Minuteman

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Encyclopedia
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

, a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

 (ICBM). As of 2010, the version LGM-30G Minuteman-III is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States. It is one component of a nuclear triad
Nuclear triad
A nuclear triad refers to a nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, ICBMs and SLBMs. The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a...

, which is complemented by the Trident
Trident missile
The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile equipped with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles . The Fleet Ballistic Missile is armed with nuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines . Trident missiles are carried by fourteen...

 submarine-launched ballistic missile
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

 (SLBM) and by nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bomber
Strategic bomber
A strategic bomber is a heavy bomber aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's capacity to wage war. Unlike tactical bombers, which are used in the battle zone to attack troops and military equipment, strategic bombers are...

s.

The letter “L” in “LGM” indicates that the missile is silo-launched; the “G” indicates that it is designed to attack ground targets; the “M” indicates that it is a guided missile
Guided Missile
Guided Missile is a London based independent record label set up by Paul Kearney in 1994.Guided Missile has always focused on 'the underground', preferring to put out a steady flow of releases and developing the numerous GM events around London and beyond....

.

The name “Minuteman” comes from the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

’s Minutemen. It also refers to its quick reaction time; the missile can be launched in about 1 minute. The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030.

The current US force consists solely of 450 Minuteman-III missiles in missile silos around F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

; Malmstrom AFB
Malmstrom Air Force Base
Malmstrom Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base and census-designated place in Cascade County, Montana, United States. It was named in honor of World War II POW Colonel Einar Axel Malmstrom...

, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

; and Minot AFB
Minot Air Force Base
Minot Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force installation in Ward County, North Dakota, north of the city of Minot. In the 2010 census, the base was counted as a CDP with a total population of 5,521....

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

.

History



The previous versions, Minuteman-I and Minuteman-II, were in service from 1962 until 1997.

The Minuteman had two innovations that gave it a long practical service life: a solid rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 booster
Booster rocket
A booster rocket is either the first stage of a multi-stage launch vehicle, or else a strap-on rocket used to augment the core launch vehicle's takeoff thrust and payload capability. Boosters are generally necessary to launch spacecraft into Earth orbit or beyond...

, and a digital flight computer
Computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

. This computer was one of the very first recognizably modern embedded system
Embedded system
An embedded system is a computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger system. often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal...

s.

The solid rocket booster made the Minuteman faster to launch than earlier ICBMs, which used liquid rocket propellants
Liquid rocket propellants
The highest specific impulse chemical rockets use liquid propellants. This type of propellant has a long history going back to the first rockets and is still in use, for example in the Space Shuttle and Ariane 5.-Early development:...

.

A reprogrammable inertial guidance system was a major risk in the original program. When first proposed, no one had built a digital computer that would fit in a missile. One program, the SM-64 Navaho
SM-64 Navaho
The North American SM-64 Navaho was a supersonic intercontinental cruise missile project built by North American Aviation. The program ran from 1946 to 1958 when it was cancelled in favor of intercontinental ballistic missiles...

, had already failed to produce such a system.

A digital computer was essential to obtain the accuracy gains that kept this weapon effective throughout the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. As the Defense Mapping Agency (now part of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States with the primary mission of collecting, analyzing and distributing geospatial intelligence in support of national security. NGA was formerly known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency ...

) more accurately mapped mass concentration
Mass concentration
In astronomy or astrophysics mass concentration or mascon is a region of a planet or moon's crust that contains a large positive gravitational anomaly. In general, the word "mascon" can be used as a noun to describe an excess distribution of mass on or beneath the surface of a planet , such as Hawaii...

s in the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, the inertial guidance software could be updated and loaded into the missiles to make them ever more accurate by having them compensate for these sources of gravity. Another gain that persuaded program managers to accept the risk of the computer was that the computer could also be used to test the missile. This saved a large amount of weight in cables and connectors.

Minuteman-I (LGM-30A/B or SM-80/HSM-80A)


See also W56 Warhead
W56
The W56 is an American thermonuclear warhead produced starting in 1963 which saw service until 1993, on the Minuteman I and II ICBMs.The W56 was manufactured in a series of models, all the same rough size and 1.2 megaton yield. The Mod-1, Mod-2, and Mod-3 variants weighed 600 pounds, with the...


Deployment


The LGM-30A Minuteman-I was first test-fired on 1 February 1961, and entered into the Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

’s arsenal in 1962, at Malmstrom Air Force Base
Malmstrom Air Force Base
Malmstrom Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base and census-designated place in Cascade County, Montana, United States. It was named in honor of World War II POW Colonel Einar Axel Malmstrom...

, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

; the “improved” LGM-30B became operational at Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota just north of Box Elder, South Dakota....

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, Minot Air Force Base
Minot Air Force Base
Minot Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force installation in Ward County, North Dakota, north of the city of Minot. In the 2010 census, the base was counted as a CDP with a total population of 5,521....

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, and Whiteman Air Force Base
Whiteman Air Force Base
Whiteman Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately south of Knob Noster, Missouri; east-southeast of Kansas City, Missouri....

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 in 1963. All 800 Minuteman-I missiles were delivered by June 1965. Each of the bases had 150 missiles emplaced. F.E. Warren AFB had 200 of the Minuteman 1B's. Malmstrom AFB had 150 of the Minuteman I and about five years later added 50 of the Minuteman II similar to those installed at Grand Forks AFB, ND.

Guidance


The Minuteman-I Autonetics D-17 flight computer used a rotating air bearing magnetic disk holding 2,560 “cold-stored” words in 20 tracks (write heads disabled after program fill) of 24 bits each and one alterable track of 128 words. The time for a D-17 disk revolution was 10 ms. The D-17 also used a number of short loops for faster access of intermediate results storage. The D-17 computational minor cycle was three disk revolutions or 30 ms. During that time all recurring computations were performed. For ground operations the inertial platform was aligned and gyro correction rates updated. During flight, filtered command outputs were sent each minor cycle to the engine nozzles. Unlike modern computers, which use descendants of that technology for secondary storage on hard disk
Hard disk
A hard disk drive is a non-volatile, random access digital magnetic data storage device. It features rotating rigid platters on a motor-driven spindle within a protective enclosure. Data is magnetically read from and written to the platter by read/write heads that float on a film of air above the...

, the disk was the active computer memory
Computer memory
In computing, memory refers to the physical devices used to store programs or data on a temporary or permanent basis for use in a computer or other digital electronic device. The term primary memory is used for the information in physical systems which are fast In computing, memory refers to the...

. The disk storage was considered hardened to radiation from nearby nuclear explosions, making it an ideal storage medium. To improve computational speed, the D-17 borrowed an instruction look-ahead feature from the Autonetics-built Field Artillery Data Computer (M18 FADAC) that permitted simple instruction execution every word time.

The D-17B
D-17B
The D-17B is a computer used in missile guidance systems, specifically the Minuteman I NS-1OQ missile guidance system, which contains a D-17B computer, the associated stable platform, and power supplies. The D-17B weighs approximately , contains 1,521 transistors, 6,282 diodes, 1,116 capacitors,...

 and the D-37C
D-37C
The D-37C is the computer component of the all-inertial NS-17 Missile Guidance Set for accurately navigating to its target thousands of miles away. The NS-17 MGS was used in the Minuteman II ICBM...

 guidance and control computers were integral components of the Minuteman I and II missiles, respectively, which formed a part of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 ICBM
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

 arsenal. The Minuteman III missiles, which use D-37D computers, complete the 1000 missile deployment of this system. The initial cost of these computers ranges from about $139,000 (D-37C) to $250,000 (D-17B).

Minuteman-II (LGM-30F)

  1. See also W56 warhead
    W56
    The W56 is an American thermonuclear warhead produced starting in 1963 which saw service until 1993, on the Minuteman I and II ICBMs.The W56 was manufactured in a series of models, all the same rough size and 1.2 megaton yield. The Mod-1, Mod-2, and Mod-3 variants weighed 600 pounds, with the...



The LGM-30F Minuteman-II was an improved version of the Minuteman-I missile. Development on the Minuteman-II began in 1962 as the Minuteman-Is entered the Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

’s nuclear force. Minuteman-II production and deployment began in 1965 and completed in 1967. It had an increased range, a greater throw weight and guidance system with better azimuthal coverage, providing military planners with better accuracy and a wider range of targets. Some missiles also carried penetration aids, allowing higher probability of kill against Moscow’s anti-ballistic missile system
A-35 anti-ballistic missile system
The A-35 anti-ballistic missile system, or A-35 Aldan, was a Soviet military battle management radar complex deployed around Moscow to intercept enemy missiles targeting the city or its surrounding areas. In development since the 1960s and in operation from 1971 until the 1990s, It featured the...

. The payload consisted of a single Mk-11C reentry vehicle containing a W56
W56
The W56 is an American thermonuclear warhead produced starting in 1963 which saw service until 1993, on the Minuteman I and II ICBMs.The W56 was manufactured in a series of models, all the same rough size and 1.2 megaton yield. The Mod-1, Mod-2, and Mod-3 variants weighed 600 pounds, with the...

 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1.2 megatons of TNT (5 PJ).

The major new features provided by Minuteman-II were:
  • An improved first-stage motor to increase reliability.
  • A novel, single, fixed nozzle
    Nozzle
    A nozzle is a device designed to control the direction or characteristics of a fluid flow as it exits an enclosed chamber or pipe via an orifice....

     with liquid injection thrust vector control (TVC) on a larger second stage motor to increase missile range. Additional motor improvements to increase reliability.
  • An improved guidance system, incorporating semiconductor
    Semiconductor
    A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

     integrated circuit
    Integrated circuit
    An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

    s and miniaturized discrete electronic parts. Minuteman-II was the first program to make a major commitment to these new devices. Their use made possible multiple target selection, greater accuracy and reliability, a reduction in the overall size and weight of the guidance system, and an increase in the survivability of the guidance system in a nuclear environment.
  • A penetration aids system to camouflage the warhead during its reentry into an enemy environment.
  • A larger warhead in the reentry vehicle (RV) to increase kill probability.


System modernization was concentrated on launch facilities and command and control
Command and Control (military)
Command and control, or C2, in a military organization can be defined as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commanding officer over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission...

 facilities. This provided decreased reaction time and increased survivability when under nuclear attack. Final changes to the system were performed to increase compatibility with the expected LGM-118A Peacekeeper
LGM-118A Peacekeeper
The LGM-118A Peacekeeper, also known as the MX missile , was a land-based ICBM deployed by the United States starting in 1986. A total of 50 missiles were deployed. They have since been deactivated....

. These newer missiles were later deployed into modified Minuteman silos.

The Minuteman-II program was economically important to the development of integrated circuit
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s. It was the first mass-produced system to use a computer constructed from integrated circuits (the Autonetics
Autonetics
Autonetics was a division of North American Aviation. Through a series of mergers, Autonetics is now part of Boeing.- General Background of the Anaheim Facility :...

 D-37C
D-37C
The D-37C is the computer component of the all-inertial NS-17 Missile Guidance Set for accurately navigating to its target thousands of miles away. The NS-17 MGS was used in the Minuteman II ICBM...

), and used most of the production of such circuits from 1962 through 1967. The Minuteman-II integrated circuits were diode-transistor logic
Diode-transistor logic
Diode–transistor logic is a class of digital circuits that is the direct ancestor of transistor–transistor logic. It is called so because the logic gating function is performed by a diode network and the amplifying function is performed by a transistor .- Implementations :The DTL circuit shown in...

 and diode logic
Diode logic
Diode logic or diode-resistor logic constructs Boolean logic gates from diodes acting as electrically operated switches. While diode logic has the advantage of simplicity, the lack of an amplifying stage in each gate limits its application...

 made by Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Inc. , widely known as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, United States, which develops and commercializes semiconductor and computer technology...

. The other major customer of early integrated circuits was the Apollo Guidance Computer
Apollo Guidance Computer
The Apollo Guidance Computer provided onboard computation and control for guidance, navigation, and control of the Command Module and Lunar Module spacecraft of the Apollo program...

, which had similar weight and ruggedness constraints. The Apollo integrated circuits were resistor-transistor logic
Resistor-transistor logic
Resistor–transistor logic is a class of digital circuits built using resistors as the input network and bipolar junction transistors as switching devices...

 made by Fairchild Semiconductor
Fairchild Semiconductor
Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. is an American semiconductor company based in San Jose, California. Founded in 1957, it was a pioneer in transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing...

. The Minuteman-II flight computer continued to use rotating magnetic disk for primary storage.

Minuteman-III (LGM-30G): the current model



The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966, and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system.
Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity. The missile retains a gimbal
Gimbal
A gimbal is a pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object about a single axis. A set of two gimbals, one mounted on the other with pivot axes orthogonal, may be used to allow an object mounted on the innermost gimbal to remain immobile regardless of the motion of its support...

led inertial guidance system.

Minuteman-III originally contained the following distinguishing features:
  • Armed with W62
    W62
    The W62 is an American thermonuclear warhead designed in the late 1960s and manufactured from 1970 to 1976, used on some Minuteman III ICBMs and retired in 2010....

     warhead, having a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT, instead of previous W56
    W56
    The W56 is an American thermonuclear warhead produced starting in 1963 which saw service until 1993, on the Minuteman I and II ICBMs.The W56 was manufactured in a series of models, all the same rough size and 1.2 megaton yield. The Mod-1, Mod-2, and Mod-3 variants weighed 600 pounds, with the...

    's yield of 1.2 megatons
  • It was the first missile in the world that employed multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle
    Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle
    A multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle warhead is a collection of nuclear weapons carried on a single intercontinental ballistic missile or a submarine-launched ballistic missile . Using a MIRV warhead, a single launched missile can strike several targets, or fewer targets redundantly...

     (MIRV). The Minuteman III was originally designed with the capability of carrying three separate warheads, 330 kt each. A single missile was then able to target 3 separate locations. This was an improvement from the Minuteman I and II models, which were only able to carry one large warhead.
    • An RS capable of deploying, in addition to the warheads, penetration aids such as chaff
      Chaff (radar countermeasure)
      Chaff, originally called Window by the British, and Düppel by the Second World War era German Luftwaffe , is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of secondary...

       and decoy
      Decoy
      A decoy is usually a person, device or event meant as a distraction, to conceal what an individual or a group might be looking for. Decoys have been used for centuries most notably in game hunting, but also in wartime and in the committing or resolving of crimes.-Duck decoy:The term duck decoy may...

      s.
    • Minuteman-III still being a missile with three solid-fuel stages, introduced in the post-boost stage (“bus”) an additional liquid-fuel propulsion system rocket engine (PSRE) that is used to slightly adjust the trajectory
      Trajectory
      A trajectory is the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit—the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass...

      . This enables to dispense decoys or – in the past case of MIRV – dispense individual RVs to separate targets. For the PSRE it uses the bipropellant Rocketdyne RS-14 engine.
  • The Hercules M57 third stage of Minuteman I & II had thrust termination ports on the sides. These ports, when opened by detonation of shaped charges, reduced the chamber pressure so abruptly that the interior flame was blown out. This allowed a precisely timed termination of thrust for targeting accuracy. The larger Minuteman III third stage motor also has thrust termination ports although the final velocity is determined by PSRE.
  • A fixed nozzle with a liquid injection TVC system on the new third-stage motor (similar to the second-stage Minuteman-II nozzle) additionally increased range.
  • A flight computer (Autonetics D37D
    D37D
    The D37D Minuteman III flight computer was initially supplied with the LGM-30G missile, as part of the NS-20 navigation system. The NS-20 D37D flight computer is a miniaturized general purpose digital computer. The new NS-50 missile guidance computer is built around a 16-bit high-speed...

    ) with larger disk memory and enhanced capability.
    • A Honeywell HDC-701 flight computer which employed non-destructive read out (NDRO) plated wire memory
      Plated wire memory
      Plated wire memory is a variation of core memory developed by Bell Laboratories in 1957. Its primary advantage was that it could be machine-assembled, which potentially led to lower prices than the hand-assembled core....

       instead of rotating magnetic disk for primary storage was developed as a backup for the D37D, but was never adopted.
    • The Guidance Replacement Program (GRP), initiated in 1993, replaced the disk-based D37D flight computer with a new one that uses radiation-resistant semiconductor
      Semiconductor
      A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

       RAM
      Ram
      -Animals:*Ram, an uncastrated male sheep*Ram cichlid, a species of freshwater fish endemic to Colombia and Venezuela-Military:*Battering ram*Ramming, a military tactic in which one vehicle runs into another...

      .


CGI
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

 videos of the Minuteman III Flight Profile are available.

The existing Minuteman III have been further improved over the decades in service.

Guidance Replacement Program (GRP)


The Guidance Replacement Program (GRP) replaces the NS20A Missile Guidance Set with the NS50A Missile Guidance Set. The newer system extends the service life of the Minuteman missile beyond the year 2030 by replacing aging parts and assemblies with current, high reliability technology while maintaining the current accuracy performance. The replacement program was completed 25 February 2008.

Propulsion Replacement Program (PRP)


Beginning in 1998 and continuing through 2009, the Propulsion Replacement Program extends the life and maintains the performance by replacing the old solid propellant boosters (downstages).

Single Reentry Vehicle (SRV)


The Single Reentry Vehicle (SRV) modification enabled the United States ICBM force to abide by the now-vacated START II
START II
START II was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and Russia on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed by United States President George H. W...

 treaty requirements by reconfiguring Minuteman-III missiles from three reentry vehicles down to one. Though it was eventually ratified by both parties, START II never entered into force and was essentially superseded by follow-on agreements such as SORT and New START, which do not limit MIRV capability.

Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV)


Beginning in 2005, Mk-21/W87
W87
The W87 is an American thermonuclear missile warhead. It was created for use on the MX or Peacekeeper ICBM, 50 of which, with up to 12 warheads per missile, were deployed during the 1986-2005 period...

 RVs from the deactivated Peacekeeper
LGM-118A Peacekeeper
The LGM-118A Peacekeeper, also known as the MX missile , was a land-based ICBM deployed by the United States starting in 1986. A total of 50 missiles were deployed. They have since been deactivated....

 missile will be placed on the Minuteman-III force under the Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV) program. The older W78
W78
The W78 thermonuclear warhead is the warhead used on most of the United States LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles , along with the MK-12A reentry vehicle which carried the warhead. Minuteman III's initially deployed with the older W62 warhead; the W78 was deployed starting...

 currently used is not equipped with important safety features. In addition to adding additional safety features into at least a portion of the future Minuteman-III force, the decision to transfer W87s onto the missile is based on two features that will improve the targeting capabilities of the weapon: more fuzing
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

 options which will allow for greater targeting flexibility and the most accurate reentry vehicle available which provides a greater probability of damage to the designated targets. The first SERV-modded Minuteman III was put on alert status at FE Warren AFB, Wyoming, in 2006.

Current and future deployment


The Minuteman III missile entered service in 1970, with weapon systems upgrades included during the production run from 1970 to 1978 to increase accuracy and payload capacity. , the USAF plans to operate it until at least 2030.

The LGM-118A Peacekeeper (MX) ICBM, which was to have replaced the Minuteman, was retired in 2005 as part of START II
START II
START II was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and Russia on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed by United States President George H. W...

.

A total of 450 LGM-30G missiles are emplaced at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 (90th Missile Wing), Minot Air Force Base
Minot Air Force Base
Minot Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force installation in Ward County, North Dakota, north of the city of Minot. In the 2010 census, the base was counted as a CDP with a total population of 5,521....

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 (91st Missile Wing), and Malmstrom Air Force Base
Malmstrom Air Force Base
Malmstrom Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base and census-designated place in Cascade County, Montana, United States. It was named in honor of World War II POW Colonel Einar Axel Malmstrom...

, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 (341st Missile Wing
341st Missile Wing
The United States Air Force's 341st Missile Wing is an intercontinental ballistic missile unit headquartered at Malmstrom AFB, Montana...

). All Minuteman I and II have been retired. The United States prefers to keep its MIRV deterrent on submarine-launched Trident Nuclear Missiles
Trident missile
The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile equipped with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles . The Fleet Ballistic Missile is armed with nuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines . Trident missiles are carried by fourteen...

 However the flawed Air Force accounting and inventory systems show a total of 555 missiles in service.

Testing


Minuteman III missiles are regularly tested with launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command ....

. The most recent launch was of an unarmed Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., which was safely terminated in flight over the Pacific Ocean in the early morning hours of July 28th, 2011.

Controllers observed an anomaly during the last portion of the mission, prompting them to terminate the test early for safety reasons. An anomaly is any unexpected event during the test.

A launch analysis group was formed to investigate. The LAG included members from the 576th Flight Test Squadron, 30th Space Wing safety office, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and Northrop Grumman, among other organizations.

The current Minuteman III configuration has a reliable test and evaluation track record, with 22 of 24 fully successful flight tests. The last test to be terminated by mission controllers occurred in 1998.

The 576th FLTS, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is responsible for planning, preparing, conducting and assessing ICBM ground and flight tests.

Prior to the July test flight, the most recent was just before 6:40 AM on June 22, 2011. The unarmed missile traveled 4,200 miles meeting its target in the Marshall Islands. Defense officials will use the data collected from the launch to ensure the readiness and capability of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Fleet.

Previous to that, the most recent launch from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base was on September 17, 2010, sent a single re-entry test vehicle into suborbital space on a flight that soared some 5,300 miles (8,530 km) across the Pacific Ocean, successfully landing on target about 200 miles (322 km) southwest of Guam.

Related programs

  • Remote Visual Assessment (RVA) – provides real-time video to ICBM security forces. This video allows forces to respond to threats more quickly, and with appropriate force and situational awareness. RVA will also cut down on “wear and tear” of equipment and personnel, often caused from responding to false alarm threats.
  • Rivet MILE – Minuteman Integrated Life Extension. Included IMPSS security system upgrade.
  • Rivet ADD – Modification of Minuteman-II launch facilities to hold MM III missiles
  • Missile Defense – Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI, “space bullet”)
  • LONG LIFE – launch of Minuteman from 'live' launch facility w/7 sec of fuel
  • BUSY SENTRY – Strategic Air Command exercise for intercontinental ballistic missile units.
  • BUSY SURVEY II – Strategic Air Command
    Strategic Air Command
    The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

     Single Integrated Operational Plan
    Single Integrated Operational Plan
    The Single Integrated Operational Plan was the United States' general plan for nuclear war from 1961 to 2003. The SIOP gave the President of the United States a range of targeting options, and described launch procedures and target sets against which nuclear weapons would be launched...

     (SIOP) 4D missile training assistance program
  • BUSY USHER – Strategic Air Command launch of No. 13 LF-02 missile MK-1 Minuteman II
  • BUTTON UP – Strategic Air Command security system reset procedures used during Minuteman facility wind down
  • DUST HARDNESS – A modification improvement to Minuteman III approved for service use in 1972
  • GIANT PATRIOT – The code name describes an operational base launch program of test flights of Minuteman II missiles. The program was terminated by Congress in July 1974
  • GIANT PLOW – An Air Force Minuteman launcher closure test program
  • GIANT PROFIT – A Minuteman modified operational missile test plan
  • GIGANTIC CHARGE – Program to notify NORAD of all or part of strategic integrated operational plan (SIOP) targeting for Minuteman
  • GIN PLAYER – Strategic Air Command
    Strategic Air Command
    The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

     tests of Minuteman missile for identification and execution
  • HAVE LEAP – A Space and Missile Test Center support of Minuteman III program
  • MIDDLE GUST – An Air Force test conducted at Crowley, CO involving a simulated nuclear overblast of a Minuteman silo
  • OLD FOX – Minuteman III flight tests
  • OLYMPIC ARENA III – Strategic Air Command missile competition of all nine operational missile units
  • OLYMPIC EVENT – A Minuteman III nuclear operational systems test
  • OLYMPIC PLAY – A Strategic Air Command missiles and operational ground equipment program for EWO missions
  • OLYMPIC TRIALS – A program to represent a series of launches having common objectives
  • PACER GALAXY – Support of Minuteman force modification program
  • PAVE PEPPER – An Air Force SAMSO (Space & Missile Systems Organization) project to decrease the size of the Minuteman III warheads and allow for more to be launched by one Minuteman.
  • RIVET SAVE – A Minuteman crew sleep program modification to reduce personnel number
  • SABER SAFE – Minuteman pre-launch survivability program
  • SABER SECURE – A Minuteman rebasing program
  • SENTINEL ALLOY – Land gravity surveys in support of the Minuteman system, cancelled
  • UPGRADE SILO – A modification improvement program for Minuteman III

Influences



The author Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

 worked as a technical writer for the field support unit for the Minuteman missile, something that is probably reflected in the narrative of his novels The Crying of Lot 49
The Crying of Lot 49
The Crying of Lot 49 is a novel by Thomas Pynchon, first published in 1966. The shortest of Pynchon's novels, it is about a woman, Oedipa Maas, possibly unearthing the centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution companies, Thurn und Taxis and the Trystero...

and Gravity’s Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern novel written by Thomas Pynchon and first published on February 28, 1973.The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest...

.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established in 1999 to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile development. This National Historic Site preserves the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States...

 in South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 preserves a Launch Control Facility
Launch control center (ICBM)
A launch control center , in the United States, is the main control facility for intercontinental ballistic missiles . A launch control center monitors and controls missile launch facilities. From a launch control center, the missile combat crew can monitor the complex, launch the missile, or relax...

 (D-01) and a launch facility (D-09) under the control of the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

.

Appearances in media


Footage of Minuteman III ICBM test launches have been featured in several theatrical films and television movies where missile launch footage is needed. The Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 film released for use was mainly drawn from Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command ....

 test shots in 1966, including from a "salvo launch" (more than one ICBM launched simultaneously).

Theatrically released films using the footage include (most notably), the 1978 film Superman (which features the "twin shot"), and more extensively, the 1977 nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 film Damnation Alley
Damnation Alley (film)
Damnation Alley is a 1977 film, directed by Jack Smight, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Roger Zelazny. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.-Plot:...

.
The made for TV film The Day After
The Day After
The Day After is a 1983 American television movie which aired on November 20, 1983, on the ABC television network. It was seen by more than 100 million people during its initial broadcast....

also features the same footage, although the first stage of flight is completed via special effects. Terminator 3 uses computer generated images of Minuteman missiles launching from the Plains on Judgment Day. Also features in Eagle Strike
Eagle Strike
Eagle Strike is the fourth book in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on September 4, 2003 and in the United States on April 12, 2004.-Chart performance:-Plot:...

, by Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Craig Horowitz is an English novelist and screenwriter. He has written many children's novels, including The Power of Five, Alex Rider and The Diamond Brothers series and has written over fifty books. He has also written extensively for television, adapting many of Agatha Christie's...

, in which fictional power-crazed multimillionaire Damian Cray orders their release from Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

. In the film WarGames
WarGames
WarGames is a 1983 American Cold War suspense/science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy....

a failed Minuteman launch simulation exercise caused by a conflicted launch control officer is the impetus for the conversion of the missiles to full automatic control by the computer system that Mathew Broderick's character later hacks into.

Mobile Minuteman program



While the silo-based Minuteman was in development, the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 released details about a rail-based counterpart. On October 12, 1959, details on the system, called the “Mobile Minuteman,” were released to the public. The system used the United States railroad network to help increase the system's survivability during nuclear attack. A performance test, code named Operation Big Star, was conducted from June 20 to August 27, 1960 at Hill Air Force Base
Hill Air Force Base
Hill Air Force Base is a major U.S. Air Force Base located in northern Utah, just south of the city of Ogden, and near the towns of Clearfield, Riverdale, Roy, Sunset, and Layton. It is about north of Salt Lake City. The base was named in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill of the U.S. Army Air...

, Utah. The United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 then activated the 4062nd Mobile Missile Wing on December 1, 1960. The wing was to have three missile train squadrons, each with ten trains and each train carrying three missiles (30 missiles per squadron). Lack of support by the Kennedy Administration killed the Mobile Minuteman Program; on December 1, 1961, the Department of Defense deleted the three mobile missile squadrons from its budget. The USAF officially deactivated the 4062nd Mobile Missile Wing on February 20, 1962.

The dreams of a rail-based missile system were kept alive through the LGM-118A Peacekeeper Rail Garrison and the Soviet Union’s SS-24 Scalpel rail-based ICBM.
On 24 Oct 1974, the Space and Missile Systems Organization successfully conducted a Air Mobile Feasibility Test where a C-5A Galaxy
C-5 Galaxy
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft built by Lockheed. It provides the United States Air Force with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsize and oversize cargos, including all air-certifiable cargo. The Galaxy has many...

 aircraft air dropped the 86,000-pound missile from 20,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The missile descended to 8,000 feet before its rocket engine fired. The 10-second engine burn carried the missile to 20,000 feet again before it dropped into the ocean. The test proved the feasibility of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile from the air. Operational deployment was discarded due to engineering and security difficulties, though the capability was used as a negotiating point in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

.

Emergency Rocket Communications System (ERCS)



An additional part of the National Command Authority
National Command Authority
National Command Authority is a term used by the Department of Defense of the United States of America to refer to the ultimate lawful source of military orders. The NCA comprises the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense jointly, or their duly deputized successors, i.e...

 communication relay system was called the Emergency Rocket Communication System (ERCS). Specially designed rockets called BLUE SCOUT carried radio-transmitting payloads high above the continental United States, to relay messages to units within line-of-sight
Line-of-sight propagation
Line-of-sight propagation refers to electro-magnetic radiation or acoustic wave propagation. Electromagnetic transmission includes light emissions traveling in a straight line...

. In the event of a nuclear attack, ERCS payloads would relay preprogrammed messages giving the “go-order” to SAC units. BLUE SCOUT launch sites were located at Wisner, West Point and Tekamah, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

. These locations were vital for ERCS effectiveness due to their centralized position in the US, within range of all missile complexes. Later ERCS configurations were placed on the top of modified Minuteman-II ICBMs (LGM-30Fs) under the control of the 510th Strategic Missile Squadron located at Whiteman Air Force Base
Whiteman Air Force Base
Whiteman Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately south of Knob Noster, Missouri; east-southeast of Kansas City, Missouri....

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

.

The Minuteman ERCS may have been assigned the designation LEM-70A.

Satellite launching role


The U.S. Air Force has considered using some decommissioned Minuteman missiles in a satellite launching role. These missiles would be stored in silos, for launch upon short notice. The payload would be variable, and would have the ability to be replaced quickly. This would allow a surge capability in times of emergency.

During the 1980s, surplus Minuteman missiles were used to power the Conestoga rocket produced by Space Services Inc. of America. It was the first privately developed rocket, but only saw three flights and was discontinued due to a lack of business. More recently, converted Minuteman missiles have been used to power the Minotaur line of rockets produced by Orbital Sciences.

Ground and air launch targets


L-3 Communications is currently using SR-19 SRBs, Minuteman II Second Stage Solid Rocket Boosters, as delivery vehicles for a range of different re-entry vehicles as targets for the THAAD and ASIP interceptor missile programs as well as radar testing.

Operator



: The United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 has been the only operator of the Minuteman ICBM weapons system, currently with three operational wings and one test squadron operating the LGM-30G. The active inventory in FY 2009 is 450 missiles and 45 Missile Alert Facilities (MAF)

Operational units


The basic tactical unit of a Minuteman wing is the squadron, consisting of five flights. Each flight consists of ten unmanned launch facilities (LFs) which are remotely controlled by a manned launch control center
Launch control center (ICBM)
A launch control center , in the United States, is the main control facility for intercontinental ballistic missiles . A launch control center monitors and controls missile launch facilities. From a launch control center, the missile combat crew can monitor the complex, launch the missile, or relax...

 (LCC). The five flights are interconnected and status from any LF may be monitored by any of the five LCCs. Each LF is located at least three nautical miles (5.6 km) from any LCC. Control does not extend outside the squadron (thus the 319th Missile Squadron
319th Missile Squadron
The 319th Missile Squadron is the flagship squadron of the 90th Missile Wing based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It operates 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles through five Missile Alert Facilities.-History:...

’s five LCCs cannot control the 320th Missile Squadron
320th Missile Squadron
The 320th Missile Squadron is part of the 90th Missile Wing based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It operates LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. Currently, the 320 MS is one of nine active United States ICBM squadrons.-History:Activated in spring 1942 as a B-26...

’s 50 LFs even though they are part of the same Space Launch Wing). Each Minuteman wing is assisted logistically by a nearby Missile Support Base (MSB).

Active


  • 90th Missile Wing
150 Missiles, 15 MAF
Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, (1 July 1963 – present)
LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1964–1974
LGM-30G Minuteman III, 1973–present
319th Missile Squadron
319th Missile Squadron
The 319th Missile Squadron is the flagship squadron of the 90th Missile Wing based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It operates 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles through five Missile Alert Facilities.-History:...

 "Screaming Eagles"
320th Missile Squadron
320th Missile Squadron
The 320th Missile Squadron is part of the 90th Missile Wing based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It operates LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. Currently, the 320 MS is one of nine active United States ICBM squadrons.-History:Activated in spring 1942 as a B-26...

 "G.N.I."
321st Missile Squadron
321st Missile Squadron
The 321st Missile Squadron is part of the 90th Missile Wing based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It operates Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.-History:...

 "Frontier Warriors"
90th Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
90th Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 90th Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.-Overview:...


  • 91st Missile Wing "Roughriders"
150 Missiles, 15 MAF
Minot AFB, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 (25 June 1968-Present)
LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1968–1972
LGM-30G Minuteman III, 1972-Present
740th Missile Squadron
740th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 740th Missile Squadron is a missile operations squadron of the 91st Missile Wing, 91st Operations Group, located at Minot AFB, North Dakota.-Mission:...

 "Vulgar Vultures"
741st Missile Squadron
741st Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 741st Missile Squadron is an intercontinental ballistic missile unit located at Minot AFB, North Dakota.-Mission:...

 "Gravelhaulers"
742d Missile Squadron
742d Missile Squadron
The 742d Missile Squadron is part of the 91st Missile Wing based at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. It operates Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.-World War II:...

  "Wolf Pack"
91st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
91st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 91st Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Minot AFB, North Dakota.-Overview:...


  • 341st Missile Wing
    341st Missile Wing
    The United States Air Force's 341st Missile Wing is an intercontinental ballistic missile unit headquartered at Malmstrom AFB, Montana...

150 Missiles, 15 MAF
Malmstrom AFB, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 (15 July 1961 – present)
LGM-30A Minuteman I, 1962–1969
LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1967–1994
LGM-30G Minuteman III, 1975-Present
10th Missile Squadron
10th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 10th Missile Squadron is a unit located at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.-Heraldry:On an Air Force Blue disc, an Air Force Golden Yellow demi lion rampant, shaded Golden Brown, his tongue Red, emerging from a hole, Dark Brown, rimmed Red; fimbriated White five Red...

"First Aces"
12th Missile Squadron
12th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 12th Missile Squadron is a missile unit located at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.-Mission:The mission of the 341st Missile Wing is to keep America free and strong by providing combat-ready people and aerospace forces.-Heraldry:...

 "Red Dawgs"
490th Missile Squadron
490th Missile Squadron
The 490th Missile Squadron is part of the 341st Missile Wing based at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. It operates Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.-History:...

 "Farsiders"
341st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
341st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 341st Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Malmstrom AFB, Montana.-Overview:...


Historical



  • 44th Strategic Missile (later Missile) Wing
    44th Missile Wing
    The 44th Missile Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Twentieth Air Force, being assigned to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. It was deactivated on 4 July 1994....

     "Black Hills Bandits"
Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 (24 November 1961 – 5 July 1994)
LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1963–1973
LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1971–1994
66th Missile Squadron
66th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 66th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 66th MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles.-History:Established in early 1941 as...

67th Missile Squadron
67th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 67th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 67th MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles.-History:Established in early 1941 as...

68th Missile Squadron
68th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 68th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 68th MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles.-History:Established in early 1941 as...

44th Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
44th Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 44th Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.The 44th SMW executed the unique 'Long Life' test of a Minuteman ICBM...

Inactivated 1994 when Minuteman II phased out of inventory. All retired between December 3, 1991 and April 1994, with destruction of silos and alert facilities finishing in 1996.

  • 90th Missile Wing
400th Missile Squadron
400th Missile Squadron
The 400th Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 90th Space Wing, based at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, and inactivated on 19 September 2005.-History:...

 (Converted to LGM-118A Peacekeeper
LGM-118A Peacekeeper
The LGM-118A Peacekeeper, also known as the MX missile , was a land-based ICBM deployed by the United States starting in 1986. A total of 50 missiles were deployed. They have since been deactivated....

 in 1987. Inactivated 2005. Peacekeepers retired.)

  • 321st Strategic Missile (later Missile) Wing (later Group)
    321st Air Expeditionary Wing
    The 321st Air Expeditionary Wing is a provisional United States Air Force United States Air Forces Central unit. The unit was reestablished on 1 Nov 2008. The unit is a nexus of all Coalition Air Force Training Teams and the Iraqi Air Force....

Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 (14 August 1964 – 30 September 1998)
LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1965–1973
LGM-30G Minuteman III, 1972–1998
446th Missile Squadron
446th Missile Squadron
The 446th Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 321st Missile Group, stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. It was inactivated on 30 September 1998-History:...

447th Missile Squadron
447th Missile Squadron
The 447th Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 321st Missile Group, stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. It was inactivated on 30 September 1998-History:...

448th Missile Squadron
448th Missile Squadron
The 448th Missile Squadron is an inactive squadron in the United States Air Force. It was most recently assigned to the 321st Missile Group based at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota...

321st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
321st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 321st Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.-Overview:...

Inactivated by BRAC 1995
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

; missiles reassigned to 341st SMW, however in 1995 it was decided to retire the Grand Forks missiles; the last missile was pulled from its silo in June 1998. Destruction of silos and control facilities began in October 1999; the last silo (H-22) was imploded August 24, 2001 (the last US silo destroyed per the 1991 START-I treaty).


  • 341st Missile Wing
    341st Missile Wing
    The United States Air Force's 341st Missile Wing is an intercontinental ballistic missile unit headquartered at Malmstrom AFB, Montana...

564th Missile Squadron
564th Missile Squadron
The 564th Missile Squadron was a unit of the United States Air Force at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. It was inactivated on 19 Aug 2008-Mission:...

 (Inactivated 2008, Minutemen retired.)

  • 351st Strategic Missile (later Missile) Wing
    351st Missile Wing
    The 351st Missile Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit, which was last based at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Assigned to Strategic Air Command for most of its existence, the wing supported LGM-30F Minuteman ICBMs...

Whiteman AFB, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 (1 February 1963 – 31 July 1995)
LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1963–1965
LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1965–1995
508th Missile Squadron
508th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 508th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 508 MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles.-History:Activated in late 1942 as a B-17...

509th Missile Squadron
509th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 509th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 509 MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles.-History:Activated in late 1942 as a B-17...

510th Missile Squadron
510th Missile Squadron
The United States Air Force's 510th Missile Squadron was a missile unit located at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. After the end of the Cold War, and lessening of tensions with Russia, the 510 MS was deactivated along with its contingent of Minuteman II missiles...

351st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
351st Missile Wing LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Launch Sites
This is a list of the LGM-30 Minuteman missile Missile Alert Facilities and Launch Facilities of the 351st Missile Wing, 20th Air Force, assigned to Whiteman AFB, Missouri.-Overview:...

Inactivated under START-I. The first silo was imploded on December 8, 1993 and the last on December 15, 1997.

  • 455th Strategic Missile Wing
Minot AFB, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 (28 June 1962 – 25 June 1968)
LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1962–1968
Replaced by the 91st Strategic Missile Wing in June 1968


Support

  • 532d Training Squadron
    532d Training Squadron
    The 532d Training Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 381st Training Group, stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.-Mission:...

     – Vandenberg AFB, California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     (Missile Maintenance: "the most important piece of the pie")
  • 392d Training Squadron
    392d Training Squadron
    The United States Air Force's 392d Training Squadron is an intercontinental ballistic missile training unit at Vandenberg AFB, California...

     – Vandenberg AFB, California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     (Missile Initial Qualification Course)
  • 328th Weapons Squadron
    328th Weapons Squadron
    The United States Air Force's 328th Weapons Squadron is an USAF Weapons School training unit located at Nellis AFB, Nevada.The squadron's origins trace back to the 328th Bombardment Squadron activated on 28 January 1942...

     – Nellis AFB, Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     (ICBM Weapons Instructor Course)
  • 526th ICBM Systems Wing – Hill Air Force Base
    Hill Air Force Base
    Hill Air Force Base is a major U.S. Air Force Base located in northern Utah, just south of the city of Ogden, and near the towns of Clearfield, Riverdale, Roy, Sunset, and Layton. It is about north of Salt Lake City. The base was named in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill of the U.S. Army Air...

    , Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

  • 576th Flight Test Squadron
    576th Flight Test Squadron
    The 576th Flight Test Squadron is a United States Air Force direct reporting unit assigned to Air Force Global Strike Command...

     – Vandenberg Air Force Base
    Vandenberg Air Force Base
    Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command ....

    , California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     – "Top Hand"
  • 625th Strategic Operations Squadron – Offutt AFB, Nebraska
    Nebraska
    Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

     – Strategic Nuclear Targeting

Photo gallery



File:Minuteman comparison.png|Family of Minuteman missiles
File:Minuteman12.png|Minuteman-I Line Drawing
File:Minuteman3.png|Minuteman III Line Drawing
File:Minuteman II.jpg|Minuteman-II launch
File:Mark 5 warhead.png|Mark 5 Re-entry vehicle for Minuteman IA
File:Minuteman I launch color.png|Color Photo of MM I
File:Minuteman I launch mockup.png|Mockup MM on test stand
File:Minuteman I static test.png|Static firing of downstage
File:Minuteman I test inspection.png|Inspection of MM I
File:Minuteman I test sequence.png|Test Sequence
File:Minuteman I test silo.png|Test Silo
File:Minuteman I test silos at Edwards AFB.png|Silos at Edwards AFB
File:Minuteman I transport.png|MM I being transported by rail
File:Mobile Minuteman train.png|Mobile Minuteman Train

See also


External links