Author Topic: USAF Minuteman III ICBM system  (Read 1346 times)

Ayoshi

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USAF Minuteman III ICBM system
« on: December 18, 2016, 05:55:46 AM »
nuclearweaponarchive.org
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The Minuteman III was the world's first MIRV'ed ICBM. A MIRV (multiple independent re-entry vehicles) permits each missile to carry multiple warheads, and direct each one at a separate target. The Minuteman III is currently expected to remain in service until the year 2020, a full 50 years after its initial deployment and 65 years from the inception of the Minuteman program (few of the people who worked on the program's early phases will still be alive when it retires). After 2004, when the Peacekeeper missile is expected to retire under the terms of the START II treaty, it will be the sole ICBM deployed by the United States.

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Development History

The Minuteman-III is a direct descendant of the world's first solid-fuel ICBM. Design studies of such a weapon began in the mid-fifties and actual development of the Minuteman was underway by the summer of 1957. The program was first announced publicly 27 February 1958. The first version of the Minuteman to be deployed was the Minuteman Ia, which achieved IOC (initial operating capability) in December 1962 (20 missiles) and a full squadron on alert on 28 February 1963. A modestly improved version of this missile, the Minuteman Ib, was in service by 30 September 1963. The Minuteman I was originally planned for mobile basing which imposed serious limitations on its performance. As a result, larger follow-on versions were soon under development.

The Minuteman II had an improved second stage, a dramatically improved guidance system (CEP was only one-fifth that of Minuteman I), and was equipped with micro-electronic circuitry, rather than discrete electronic components. This was the first missile to make use of microelectronics which, along with the new very high precision guidance system, led to reliability problems that plagued its initial introduction. First launched on 24 September 1964, it achieved IOC on 31 October 1965 at Grand Forks AFB. The 1000th (and last) Minuteman silo was completed (Malmstrom AFB) on 21 April 1967, and the last missile was deployed 2 July 1969 (replacing a Minuteman I that was being retired).

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The first Minuteman III flight took place on 16 August 1968. The first operational missile was emplaced in its silo on 17 April 1970 at Minot AFB, with the first squadron becoming operational on 29 December 1970. As Minuteman III missile were deployed, the last Minuteman I missiles were removed from service (the last Minuteman Ib leaving service on 27 September 1974). Deployment of the Minuteman III was completed on 11 July 1976 with the 550th being emplaced at Malmstrom AFB. Production of the Minuteman ended with the completion of the last missile on 14 January 1977.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 05:57:55 AM by Ayoshi »

Ayoshi

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Re: USAF Minuteman III ICBM system
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 05:57:35 AM »
Lockheed Martin secures a $60 mn USAF contract for Minuteman III ICBM support | Air Recognition - 16 December 2016
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Lockheed Martin won a new contract and extended a second contract to sustain and modernize the U.S. Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) reentry systems, it announced yesterday Dec. on its website The company won a competition in June to produce seven units of reentry field support equipment and four sets of additional support equipment for the Air Force's Minuteman III ICBM system.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 11:01 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Credit: USAF/Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley)