LGM Minuteman III ICBM - United States Nuclear Forces
Final NEPA Document. 3. DATES COVERED (From - To). Jan. to . simulations and alternative test locations—all were deemed unreasonable and eliminated from further LGM Minuteman III Missile. URL: The impacts of the proposed MMIII RV flight tests on MMST, caused by sonic boom and. Reproduction Date: As of , the LGMG Minuteman-III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States. .. In the film WarGames a failed Minuteman launch simulation exercise caused by a conflicted launch .. mawatari.info; Minuteman Missile National. Trajectory/Performance Simulation Recommendations. Minuteman III system requires system solutions that provide required . The LGMG evolved from the older F version, and it is the newer MM III which will serve as First, for the MMIII and Stage 1 of the 2-stage design, the thrust is calculated using the.
Hall's superiors were interested in short and medium range missiles with solids, especially for use in Europe where the fast reaction time was an advantage for a system that might be attacked by Soviet aircraft. Adapting a concept developed in the UK, they cast the fuel into large cylinders with a star-shaped hole running along the inner axis.
This allowed the fuel to burn along the entire length of the cylinder, rather than just the end as in earlier designs. The increased burn rate meant increased thrust. This also meant the heat was spread across the entire motor, instead of the end, and because it burned from the inside out it did not reach the wall of the missile fuselage until the fuel was finished burning.
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In comparison, older designs burned primarily from one end to the other, meaning that at any instant one small section of the fuselage was being subjected to extreme loads and temperatures. Too much thrust and the warhead will overshoot its target, too little and it will fall short. Solids are normally very hard to predict in terms of burning time and their instantaneous thrust during the burn, which made them questionable for the sort of accuracy required to hit a target at intercontinental range.
This appeared at first to be an insurmountable problem, but in the end was solved in almost trivial fashion. A series of ports were added inside the rocket nozzle that were opened when the guidance systems called for engine cut-off. The reduction in pressure was so abrupt that the last burning fuel ejected itself and the flame was snuffed out. They had been involved in a joint program with the US Army to develop the liquid-fueled Jupiter missilebut had always been skeptical of the system.
They felt that liquid fuels were too dangerous to use onboard ships, and especially submarines. Rapid success in the solids development program, combined with Edward Teller 's promise of much lighter nuclear warheads during Project Nobskaled the Navy to abandon Jupiter and begin development of a solid fuel missile of their own. Aerojet's work with Hall would be adapted for their Polaris missile starting in December SM Atlas and SM Titan ICBMs were progressing, and "storable" liquids were being developed that would allow the missiles to be left in a ready-to-shoot form for extended periods.
But Hall saw solid fuels not only as a way to improve launch times or safety, but part of a radical plan to greatly reduce the cost of ICBMs so that thousands could be built. He was aware that new computerized assembly lines would allow continual production, and that similar equipment would allow a small team to oversee operations for dozens or hundreds of missiles.
A solid fuel design would be much simpler to build, and easier to maintain in service. Each farm would support between 1, and 1, missiles being produced in a continual low rate cycle. Systems in a missile would detect failures, at which point it would be removed and recycled, while a newly built missile would take its place. Ramo-Wooldridge pressed for a system with higher accuracy, but Hall countered that the missile's role was to attack Soviet cities, and that "a force which provides numerical superiority over the enemy will provide a much stronger deterrent than a numerically inferior force of greater accuracy.
Hall's goal of dramatic cost reduction was a success, although many of the other concepts of his missile farm were abandoned. Missile guidance Autonetics D guidance computer from a Minuteman-I missile.
Previous long-range missiles used liquid fuels that could only be loaded just prior to firing. The loading process took from 30 to 60 minutes in typical designs. Although lengthy, this was not considered to be a problem at the time, because it took about the same amount of time to spin up the inertial guidance systemset the initial position, and program in the target coordinates.
While solid fuel eliminated the fueling delays, the delays in starting and aligning the guidance system remained. For quick launch, the guidance system would have to be kept running and aligned at all times, which was a serious problem for the mechanical systems, especially the gyroscopes which used ball bearings.
Conventional solutions used a shaft with ball bearings at either end that allowed it to rotate around a single axis only.
Autonetics design meant that only two gyros would be needed for the inertial platform, instead of the typical three. Previous missile designs normally used two single-purpose computers; one ran the autopilot that kept the missile flying along a programmed course, and the second compared the information from the inertial platform to the target coordinates and sent any needed corrections to the autopilot.
To reduce the total number of parts used in Minuteman, a single faster computer was used, running separate routines for these functions.
With older designs this had been handled by external systems, requiring miles of extra wiring and many connectors. In order to store multiple programs, the computer, the DBwas built in the form of a drum machine but used a hard disk in place of the drum.
The Air Force and Autonetics spent millions on a program to improve transistor and component reliability times, leading to the "Minuteman high-rel parts" specifications. The techniques developed during this program were equally useful for improving all transistor construction, and greatly reduced the failure rate of transistor production lines in general.
This improved yield, which had the effect of greatly lowering production costs, and had enormous spin-off effects in the electronics industry. With Minuteman, the targeting could be easily changed by loading new trajectory information into the computer's hard drive, a task that could be completed in a few hours. Earlier ICBMs' custom wired computers on the other hand could only have attacked a single target, whose precise trajectory information was hard-coded directly in the system's logic.LGM-30 Minuteman III ICBM - US Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [Review]
If the Soviets were building missiles in the numbers being predicted by the CIA and others within the defense establishment, by as early as they would have enough to attack all SAC and ICBM bases in the US in a single first strike. It was later demonstrated that this " missile gap " was just as fictional as the " bomber gap " of a few years earlier, but through the late s it was a serious concern.
The Air Force responded by beginning research into survivable strategic missiles, starting the WS program.
Initially, this focused on air-launched ballistic missileswhich would be carried aboard aircraft flying far from the Soviet Union, and thus impossible to attack by either ICBM, because they were moving, or long-range interceptor aircraftbecause they were too far away.
In the shorter term, looking to rapidly increase the number of missiles in its force, Minuteman was given crash development status starting in September Advanced surveying of the potential silo sites had already begun in late WS was expanded to develop a maneuvering reentry vehicle MARVwhich greatly complicated the problem of shooting down a warhead.
These used long and skinny arrow-like shapes that provided aerodynamic lift in the high atmosphere, and could be fitted to existing missiles like Minuteman. To allow for this future expansion, the Minuteman silos were revised to be built 13 feet 4. Although Minuteman would not deploy a boost-glide warhead, the extra space proved invaluable in the future, as it allowed the missile to be extended and carry more fuel and payload. During Minuteman's early development, the Air Force maintained the policy that the manned strategic bomber was the primary weapon of nuclear war.
Blind bombing accuracy on the order of 1, feet 0. The USAF had enough bombers to attack every military and industrial target in the USSR and was confident that its bombers would survive in great enough numbers that such a strike would utterly destroy the country. Their accuracy was known to be low, on the order of 4 nautical miles 7. Since there was no system to detect the ICBMs being launched, the possibility was raised that the Soviets could launch a sneak attack with a few dozen missiles that would take out a significant portion of SACs bomber fleet.
ICBMs, especially newer models that were housed in silos, could be expected to survive an attack by a single Soviet missile. In any conceivable scenario where both sides had similar numbers of ICBMs, the US force would survive a sneak attack in sufficient numbers to ensure destruction of all major Soviet cities in return.
The Soviets would not risk an attack under these conditions.
Larger attacks raised these numbers only slightly, as all of the larger targets would have already been hit. This suggested that there was a "finite deterrent" level around megatons that would be enough to prevent a Soviet attack no matter how many missiles they had of their own. All that had to be ensured was that the US missiles survived, which seemed likely given the low accuracy of the Soviet weapons. While still pressing for development of newer bombers, like the supersonic Bit appeared the countervalue role was served by the Navy's UGM Polaris.
Polaris had enough range that the submarines could roam open areas of the ocean, and would be essentially invulnerable to attack no matter how many missiles the Soviets had, or how accurate they were.
Based on the same equivalent megatons calculation, they set about building a fleet of 41 submarines carrying 16 missiles each, giving the Navy a finite deterrent that was unassailable. It suggested that Polaris negated any need for Air Force ICBMs if they were also being aimed at Soviet cities; if the role of the missile was to present an unassailable threat to the Soviet population, Polaris was a far better solution than Minuteman.
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The document would have long-lasting effects on the future of the Minuteman program, which, bywas firmly evolving towards a counterforce capability. Kennedy entering the White House. His new Secretary of DefenseRobert McNamarawas tasked with producing the world's best defense while limiting spending. Atlas and Titan were soon scrapped, and the storable liquid fueled Titan II deployment was severely curtailed.
The Army's Nike Zeusan interceptor missile capable of shooting down Soviet warheads, provided another way to prevent a sneak attack. This had initially been proposed as a way to defend the SAC bomber fleet. The Army argued that upgraded Soviet missiles might be able to attack US missiles in their silos, and Zeus would be able to blunt such an attack. Zeus was expensive and the Air Force said it was more cost-effective to build another Minuteman missile.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Given the large size and complexity of the Soviet liquid-fueled missiles, an ICBM building race was one the Soviets could not afford. Zeus was cancelled in Counterforce and Pre-emptive nuclear strike Minuteman's selection as the primary Air Force ICBM was initially based on the same " second strike " logic as their earlier missiles: But Minuteman had a combination of features that led to its rapid evolution into the US's primary weapon of nuclear war.
Chief among these qualities was its digital computer. This could be updated in the field with new targets and better information about the flight paths with relative ease, gaining accuracy for little cost.
One of the unavoidable effects on the warhead's trajectory was the mass of the Earth, which is not even, and contains many mass concentrations that pull on the warhead. Through the s, the Defense Mapping Agency now part of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency mapped these with increasing accuracy, feeding that information back into the Minuteman fleet.
The Minuteman was deployed with a circular error probable CEP of about 1. Additionally, the computers were upgraded with more memory, allowing them to store information for eight targets, which the missile crews could select among almost instantly, greatly increasing their flexibility. The Air Force began to offer a number of reasons why the bomber offered value, in spite of costing more money to buy and being much more expensive to operate and maintain.
Newer bombers with better survivability, like the Bcost many times more than the Minuteman, and, in spite of great efforts through the s, became increasingly vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles.
A variety of communication systems provide the National Command Authorities with highly reliable, virtually instantaneous direct contact with each launch crew. Should command capability be lost between the launch control center and remote missile launch facilities, specially-configured EC airborne launch control center aircraft automatically assume command and control of the isolated missile or missiles. Fully qualified airborne missile combat crews aboard airborne launch control center aircraft would execute the NCA orders.
Peacekeeper missile deployment affected the Minuteman force. The current Minuteman force is structured in a wing squadron, and flight concept. Each missile wing consists of three or four squadrons. Missile wings at F. Each missile squadron has five flights interconnected by a network of hardened, buried electronic cables. Any MAF within a squadron can monitor status, command tests and launch any of the missiles within its own squadron.
Each MAF is staffed 24 hours a day by a missile combat crew of two officers. Strategic Air Command expected Minuteman to play an important role in the command's force structure through the year To ensure the reliability and maintainability of the Minuteman force into the new century, the Air Force initiated a major Minuteman upgrade and modification program.
Through state-of-the-art improvements, the Minuteman system has evolved to meet new challenges and assume new missions.