LGM-30 Minuteman II Missile
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|First Operational Use:||Not Yet!|
|Specifications (Boeing Minuteman II)|
|Length:||6' 9" to 59' 10"|
|Diameter:||6' 2" (first stage)|
|No. of Engines:||3|
|Powerplant:||1st Stage: Thiokol; 2nd Stage:Aerojet General; 3rd Stage: Hercules|
|Range:||6,000 to over 7,000 miles|
|Max Speed:||Mach 22 at burnout|
The Minuteman missile (USAF designation - LGM-30) was designed as a simplified second-generation Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with solid propellant motors. For years the mainstay of the USAF ICBM force it is a three-stage weapon for launching Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) containing nuclear warheads from hard-pad underground sites. After deployment each was capable of delivering its payload anywhere in the world in less than 30 minutes.
The first stage engine, developed and manufactured by Thiokol, exhausted through four swiveling nozzles. The second-stage engine, by Aerojet General, had only one nozzle, while the third stage by Hercules Powder Co. had four nozzles. The inertial guidance system was produced by the Autonetics Division of North American. The reentry vehicles were normally fitted with Avco MK 5 or MK 11 or General Electric MK 12 thermo-nuclear weapons.
Boeing received the contract in October 1958 to assemble and deliver the complete weapons system and to train USAF technicians and launch crews. In September 1959 the full-scale firing of a tethered live, first stage was conducted at Edwards AFB. The first firing of a pre-production missile was from Cape Canaveral on February 1961. All three stages fired successfully, and the re-entry vehicle impacted about 4,3000 miles down-range.
The first production missile was assembled at Hill AFB in April 1962. All 800 Minuteman 1's had been delivered and were operational by June 1965. They were followed by 200 Minuteman II's in 1966. Minutemen were deployed in five wings at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, Minot AFB, North Dakota, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Warren AFB, Wyoming.
The silo launcher was approximately 80 ft. deep and 12 ft. in diameter, with two underground equipment rooms around the silo casing, extending some 28 ft. below the surface. Each launch site was two to three acres. Each flight of 10 launchers had a launch control center approximately 50 ft. below the surface in the form of a blast-resistant shock-mounted capsule manned by two Strategic Air Command officers.
For 35 years the missile stood near the 15th Air Force Combat Operations Center on March AFB. When the base was downsized in 1992 the missile was moved to the Museum.