Minuteman IV and Other ICBM Subsystem Programs From GlobalSecurity.org

bobbymike

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LGM-30H Minuteman IV
Ongoing modernization will keep the Minuteman III viable until approximately 2020. The extensive life extension program replaces aging guidance and stand-by power systems, rebuilds solid-propellant rocket motors, repairs launch facilities, and installs the latest communication equipment and command and control consoles for combat missile crews. This system is safe, secure and reliable until 2020. At that time, the Air Force will move to the next stage of ICBMs -- a Minuteman IV.

The Air Force Systems Command (AFSPC) led the Ballistic Missile Requirements (BMR) Study (1998 to 2000) which documented a number of needs beyond the current baseline ICBM mission, such as extended range, trajectory shaping, strategic relocatable targets, and hardened deeply buried targets, that the next generation ICBM could address. The Land Based Strategic Nuclear Deterrence Mission Needs Statement (MNS) drew from the analysis done in the BMR study in documenting the need for ICBMs beyond 2020. To expand on the MNS and address alternatives for the follow on ICBM, AFSPC plans to conduct an analysis of alternatives in FY04 and FY05 with an IOC by 2018. This work will ensure the requirements generation process and the acquisition process remain on track for the future ICBM force.

The new missile could be dropped into current silos, or require current silos to be revamped. Work on an all-new Minuteman IV ICBM could begin as early as 2004, possibly a mobile version of the missile. The force applications team has secured SMC's role in the future missile system commonly referred to as Minuteman IV that hopes to be a $20-30 billion procurement between 2004 and 2040. New missions for the system include holding both hardened and deeply buried targets and strategic relocatable targets at risk. Concepts being evaluated for these missions may include an earth penetrator reentry vehicle or a "smart" maneuvering reentry vehicle. With respect to force applications, the Minuteman IV activity is simply the first initiative, among many, for possible future space weapon systems.

In 2002 AEDC's upgraded H2 Arc Heater facility provided heat shield material testing for the potential successor of the Minuteman III (MMIII) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The potential successor, the Minuteman IV (MMIV), is under study by the USAF Space Command (SPACECOM) as a possible next-generation ICBM system. The tests supported the Reentry Vehicles Application Program (RVAP) and the Air Force Advanced Vehicles Studies (AVS) programs sponsored by the RVAP at Hill AFB, Utah. During one test, the AEDC test team exposed multiple flow-field calibration probes to the arc freejet and exposed two prototype heat shield material samples to material surface temperatures up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit during 10- to 15-second exposure times, simulating the high-temperature and high-pressure arc jet conditions a reentry vehicle would experience upon reentry.

One option under consideration for the MMIV reentry vehicle (RV) is maneuvering capability to provide additional mission flexibility. The maneuvering RV provides significant advantages with respect to mission targeting footprint and vehicle survivability versus countermeasures. However, because maneuvering RVs can fly a variety of reentry trajectories with long glide segments, onboard thermal protection materials are subjected to extremely high total heat loads.

The H2 nozzle facility upgrade, funded by the RVAP sponsor, provides a key segment of the maneuvering reentry trajectory simulation envelope previously not available to DoD RV designers for thermal protection material development. During fiscal year 2002, the Hill AFB RVAP office sponsored a series of three nozzle calibration runs for the new H2 nozzle flow field, followed by eight test runs in H2 to evaluate preliminary candidate materials for the AVS program. During these runs, the material samples were exposed to heat loads and exposure times typical of those expected for the maneuvering RV terminal dive phase. These tests provide data on candidate heat shield material survivability and thermal insulation properties of materials exposed to the high temperatures and pressures that occur during flight at relatively low altitudes where aero thermal heating is most severe.

Prompt Global Strike (PGS)
In parallel with the Minuteman IV is another effort addressing conventional prompt global strike needs which is referred to as the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV).

Air Force Space Command 2001 Industry Days was held 25-26 July 2001 at Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs CO. The event is supported by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association. Sessions and tentative topics include: Space Control -- Defensive counterspace and Offensive Counterspace. Force Applications -- Minuteman IV and Prompt Global Strike.

The Advanced Missile System Division (LMX) part of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) System Program Office (SPO) is seeking sources for a possible five year contractor support effort for long range planning in the arena of technology advancement and future ICBM systems. The support effort may include, but is not limited, to Land Based Strategic Deterrent (LBSD), Integrated Applications Program (IAPs), Prompt Global Strike (PGS), ICBM Long Range Requirements Planning Studies (ILRP) and any other LMX workload. The support sought is primarily Advisory and Assistance Support (A&AS) and System Engineering Technical Assistance (SETA) with emphasis on program objectives, acquisition program management support, systems engineering and analysis.

In early 2003, AFMC, AFSPC, AFRL, and the Product Center Commanders established an Enterprise Leadership (EL) Long Range Strike (LRS) Task Team (LRS-TT) whose charter is to build roadmaps to describe the integrated development of LRS capabilities/solution options. Task teams uniquely bring together expertise from across enterprises & MAJCOMs to attack horizontal integration issues & produce integrated solutions in response to identified shortfalls. ACC had conducted several studies to research, assess and define LRS options. AFSPC has initiated the Operationally Responsive Space lift (ORS) Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) as part of the drive towards responsive space capabilities.

A Prompt Global Strike (PGS) AoA is planned by AFSPC in FY05/06. USSTRATCOM has a newly defined Global Strike mission to provide Global Strike forces/options as a supporting or supported Combatant Commander. The Air Force needs to develop integrated air and space LRS capabilities to present forces for JTF/CC-directed Global Strike missions. LRS solutions must be developed to address shortfalls in current LRS capability. Operationally responsive space enables rapid access to space and power projection, space superiority, and enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
 

Skybolt

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Sure, but nothing of these happened.
 

bobbymike

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Why I put it in this category with the subheading "Unbuilt Missile Projects" B) My hopes is that many of these research projects/research divisions still exist and still have the capabilities to produce this vital ballistic missile technologies.
 

sferrin

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At least in ICBM developement in the US it doesn't appear they're doing much of anything. KEI would have enabled ATK at least to keep researching relatively large motors. When it got cancelled they laid the people off or shuffled them off onto existing programs (know someone who was working on the motor). I know another guy working for Northrop Grumman up at Hill AFB on ICBM stuff but the impression I get is it's pretty stagnant with few people working on anything research related. (On a sidenote, much in the way that air bases have aircraft for gate guards, Hill AFB has a Minuteman and Peacekeeper as gate guards on the West Gate.)
 

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Interesting article. Yet with all of the changes they are talking about I don't see why they would keep the LGM-30 designation. Sounds like it would be a virtually new design.

Of course at this rate we will have to keep the Minuteman III in service far beyond 2020.
 

bobbymike

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I would love a job in the Advanced Missile Systems Division although they would probably get tired of my idea to deploy a heavy solid fueled ICBM as both a nominal MMIV and to carry a large hyper accurate conventional payload for prompt global strike :D
 

Colonial-Marine

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Well if launched, I imagine everybody would panic as if the missile was carrying nuclear MIRVs , even if it was just a conventional version going to level some Al-Qaeda cave complex.
 

sferrin

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Looks like at least something is being done.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/108842/advanced-second-stage-(a2s)-motor-passes-test.html

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- Aerojet, a GenCorp company, and the U.S. Air Force successfully conducted a full-scale, full-duration static test of Aerojet's Advanced Second Stage (A2S) motor. All test objectives were fully achieved.

Aerojet developed the large solid propellant rocket motor on the Propulsion Application Program (PAP) under contract to the 526th ICBM Systems Group at Hill AFB, Utah. The test was conducted at simulated altitude conditions, essentially zero atmospheric pressure, by the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tenn. The purpose was to measure true motor performance in a flight-like environment. This was the second successful static test of the A2S motor following a flawless sea-level test at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards AFB, Calif. in June 2009.

The PAP program's primary goal is to develop a new generation of ICBM-sized motors with increased propulsion performance and lower manufacturing and operational costs. In order to meet these goals, the A2S design consists of numerous new technologies and manufacturing materials and processes including a graphite composite case fabricated with environmentally friendly materials, a low-cost movable nozzle capable of six degrees of thrust vector control, Honeywell-supplied electrical-mechanical actuators and digital controller, and high energy solid propellant developed at Aerojet's Sacramento, Calif. facility.

Initial post-test inspection indicates that the motor performance was excellent and the component design was robust. This is the final static test of the A2S motor under the PAP program as the design has been validated under both sea-level and altitude conditions.

The successful test culminates a multi-year effort that applies technology pertinent to the sustainment of strategic strike missile architecture," said Mark Kaufman, executive director of Strategic Propulsion Programs at Aerojet. "The Propulsion Applications Program has proven to be a worthwhile initiative for balancing design, technology and methods of manufacture with overall weapon system life cycle cost. The A2S can now be added to the Air Force portfolio of ICBM propulsion options as they weigh alternatives for the sustainment of strategic strike. The A2S program also provided an excellent venue for engaging a new generation of propulsion engineers."


The performance bit is good to hear as regraining the Minuteman III's motors apparently reduced it's performance (the new propellant isn't as "hot").
 

bobbymike

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sferrin - good article find. I posted a DTIC article about the Integrated High Performance Rocket Propulsion Program under the "Missile Projects" thread. I believe they are trying to achieve a 25% or so increase in the mass fraction for solid rocket fuels. Work on this program may be related to the "fill" in this Aerojet test.

Colonial-Marine - a simple coastal launch would suffice. A much different trajectory for those countries that can detect these things and for the countries that can't detect it, it won't really matter now will it ;D
 

bobbymike

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Another sign maybe there are some rational thinkers that understand the US must continue to have state of the art R&D facilities for key military technologies.

Funds Released for New U.S. Plutonium Lab
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009

Washington has made $47 million available for construction of a new nuclear research complex at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the Associated Press reported yesterday (see GSN, May 5).

One completed, the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement building would assume the duties of an aging Los Alamos facility used for studying various radioactive substances such as plutonium. The site could also be capable of manufacturing plutonium nuclear-weapon cores, Obama administration officials have indicated.

The new funds would cover equipment acquisitions and additional planning for the facility, which is scheduled to begin hosting personnel in late 2011 and to start nuclear materials work two years later. A 2008 U.S. Senate analysis determined that the facility would cost $2.6 billion to build, but no official cost estimate exists pending completion of a U.S. nuclear strategy review (see GSN, Sept. 24).

The site would be used for civilian research and to assess the composition of substances like plutonium metal, not necessarily for building new weapon components, said Rick Holmes, the official overseeing the project.

"[The] scope for this project is not to expand capabilities but to replace existing capabilities," Holmes said.

"The [facility's] size isn't driven by numbers (of weapons) in the stockpile," he added. "If we want to have a scientist who understands plutonium or americium in 50 years, we have to have a place to do science."

Upgrading the existing site is less cost-effective than building a new facility that would take up less space and provide additional safety and efficiency, according to officials at Los Alamos and the Energy Department.

The head of a local watchdog group, though, warned that the facility would enable the Los Alamos laboratory to mass-produce the plutonium "pits" that serve as triggers in nuclear weapons.

"We view this building as grotesque misallocation of taxpayer money and a poke in the eye to our disarmament obligations," said Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group in Albuquerque (Sue Major Holmes, Associated Press, Oct. 7).
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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What is the name of the new nuke that won't be needing any testing (by using data from old testing combined with plutonium research and super computers) and the new über-safe missile that will carry it? I've heard about them a lot a few years ago and I can't re-call any names, acronyms or numbers.
 

bobbymike

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The new nuke is just known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore produced designs, won by LLNL. Some have speculated that it is a more "robust" W89 warhead ??? It was to get its "warhead number designation" sometime in 2009 but with the constant delays and the fact it is yet to be determined whether it will even go ahead who knows when/if this will happen.

I don't know what missile you are talking about. I have just read numerous corporate press releases and other bits and pieces, odds and ends about certain missile components being tested for "future strategic strike" applications. Not sure if there is a definitive program as such.

Anyone else at Secret Projects have other information on future nukes and their delivery systems it will be very welcome.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
The new nuke is just known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore produced designs, won by LLNL. Some have speculated that it is a more "robust" W89 warhead ??? It was to get its "warhead number designation" sometime in 2009 but with the constant delays and the fact it is yet to be determined whether it will even go ahead who knows when/if this will happen.

I don't know what missile you are talking about. I have just read numerous corporate press releases and other bits and pieces, odds and ends about certain missile components being tested for "future strategic strike" applications. Not sure if there is a definitive program as such.

Anyone else at Secret Projects have other information on future nukes and their delivery systems it will be very welcome.

W89 was something else. Sea Lance warhead IIRC. W90 was to be a nuke for Standard to replace the nuke that got retired when Terrier left.
 

bobbymike

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I thought W89 was the warhead for the SRAM II? From the Wall Street Journal - http://www.opinionjournal.com/wsj/

Another link to the Nuclear Weapons archive seems to confirm this. W - warhead, developed 1989 ?

From GlobalSecurity.org - The warhead development programs for the SRAM II (W89) and SRAM T (W91) were compatible with missile development schedules. In response to a request from the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy, the Air Force and the Department of Energy had completed a study in June 1991 to determine the feasibility of replacing the W69 warhead on the SRAM A missile with the W89 warhead that was being developed for the SRAM II. The study concluded that, while there were technical risks in using the SRAM A missile due to its age, the W89 warhead baseline design could be incorporated on the SRAM A.
 

bobbymike

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From Insidedefense.com (subscription required) - KEHLER: AIR FORCE INVESTIGATING MINUTEMAN III FOLLOW-ON SYSTEM
The Air Force is investigating what a follow-on system for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile might look like, the chief of Air Force Space Command said this week. Studies regarding the nuclear ICBM’s successor are due out next summer, he said.

"When you wish upon a star makes no differences who you are......" See sferrin wished can come true :D
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
I thought W89 was the warhead for the SRAM II? From the Wall Street Journal - http://www.opinionjournal.com/wsj/

Another link to the Nuclear Weapons archive seems to confirm this. W - warhead, developed 1989 ?

From GlobalSecurity.org - The warhead development programs for the SRAM II (W89) and SRAM T (W91) were compatible with missile development schedules. In response to a request from the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy, the Air Force and the Department of Energy had completed a study in June 1991 to determine the feasibility of replacing the W69 warhead on the SRAM A missile with the W89 warhead that was being developed for the SRAM II. The study concluded that, while there were technical risks in using the SRAM A missile due to its age, the W89 warhead baseline design could be incorporated on the SRAM A.








From Chuck Hansen's nuke book:

"W-89

The W-89 was the warhead for the Navy's canceled Sea Lance ASW SOW/NDB (ASW Stand-Off Weapon/Nuclear Depth Bomb). The Sea Lance was very streamlined with an extremely high fineness ratio (in excess of 9:1) for a high subsurface sink rate to minimize "blind time".

The W-89 NDB reached baseline design development definition by the beginning of 1986. A number of airdrops of instrumented test units over a range of impact angles and velocities verified the NDB's structural integrity and underwater stability.402 Complete designs of the Sea Lance were made in 1986 using two different existing nuclear packages. Sixteen design changes were made to trade off design parameters and cost.403

In July 1986, a full-scale development contract for the Sea Lance missile was awarded to the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington; later in the year, the program was redirected: the Sea Lance was to have been a nuclear one-for-one replacement for the SUBROC, but a decision was made to use the non-nuclear Mark 50 ASW torpedo as the primary Sea Lance payload and to defer the nuclear warhead option at least until production of the Sea Lance begins in December 1990.404

The NDB and the Sea Lance nuclear warhead were effectively canceled in 1986 when Congress denied requests for further development of both systems (the estimated development and deployment cost of 1,000 submarine-launched ASW SOWs was $2.6 billion).

The NDB was 13-1/2 in. in diameter, 129 in. (10 ft. 9 in.) long, and weighed 785 lbs.405 The Sea Lance used a 5-1/4 ft.-diameter Sandia-developed Kevlar-and-nylon parachute to decelerate the bomb for water impact. The parachute generated a bomb deceleration load of 52,000 lbs. at twice the dynamic pressure of any other nuclear bomb parachute system currently in the stockpile. The chute was tested during 20 rocket-boosted test flights at the Tonopah Test Range during 1986.406"


W-90

The W-90 is a new Livermore-designed thermonuclear warhead for the Air Force's SRAM II air-to-surface missile.

Thirteen designs submitted in 1984 and 1985 by Los Alamos and Liver-more were considered for the SRAM II warhead, and a Livermore design was chosen in November 1986. Missile deployment was originally scheduled for March 1992 with first warhead production in July 1991. A thirteen-month delay was ordered by DOD to allow adequate missile and warhead testing; the SRAM II is currently slated for service in April 1993 with warhead production starting sooner.

Production engineering of the W-90 started late in 1987. The weapon will have a lower explosive yield than originally requested by the Air Force; the W-90 will use PBX 9502 insensitive HE (IHE) in its primary.

The new SRAM II is smaller than the old AGM-69; twelve can be stowed in a B-1 weapons bay as opposed to only eight SRAMs that can be carried now. This reduction in missile size has not seriously hindered warhead design because high-powered two-stage nuclear weapons are now smaller and more efficient than they were in the mid-1960s when the W-69 was designed."



"W-91

The W-91 is a new Livermore-designed warhead for the Air Force's planned Small ICBM (SICBM) also known as the Midgetman.

The W-91 is a modified version of the W-87; yield will be in excess of 300 kilotons. One or two warheads will be deployed on each SICBM along with decoys. Production engineering on the W-91 is expected to begin by late 1987 or early 1988."


On the Standard Missile warhead that was the W-81.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
From Insidedefense.com (subscription required) - KEHLER: AIR FORCE INVESTIGATING MINUTEMAN III FOLLOW-ON SYSTEM
The Air Force is investigating what a follow-on system for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile might look like, the chief of Air Force Space Command said this week. Studies regarding the nuclear ICBM’s successor are due out next summer, he said.

"When you wish upon a star makes no differences who you are......" See sferrin wished can come true :D

I'll believe it when I see it. As anyone on this board knows, history is absolutely littered with "talk". "Studies" are due in a year. True, that's better than absolutely nothing but a long, LONG ways from hardware. :(
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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bobbymike said:
The new nuke is just known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore produced designs, won by LLNL. Some have speculated that it is a more "robust" W89 warhead ??? It was to get its "warhead number designation" sometime in 2009 but with the constant delays and the fact it is yet to be determined whether it will even go ahead who knows when/if this will happen.

Thanks bobbymike and sferrin. :)

I don't know what missile you are talking about. I have just read numerous corporate press releases and other bits and pieces, odds and ends about certain missile components being tested for "future strategic strike" applications. Not sure if there is a definitive program as such.

Anyone else at Secret Projects have other information on future nukes and their delivery systems it will be very welcome.
All I know - or more precise all I've heard of - is that this hypothetical missile - with its warhead - would be as fool-proof as possible. You would be able to use a sledgehammer and it wouldn't explode, it would be impossible to break into machine to sabotage or steal parts, and possibly it would have safety measures I don't remember now.

It was in a popular science tv-series which in the same program told about conventional weapons that would be "eco-friendly", being both bio-degradable (a good way to deal with unexploded ordnance if it works) and having less toxic air pollution from rocket engines.
 

bobbymike

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sferrin - don't want to doubt Mr. Hansen but a simple Google search of "W89 warhead" pulls up literally thousands of hits that it was to be the SRAM II warhead. Midgetman was to get Peacekeeper warheads upgraded to 475 kt.

From the Nuclear Weapons Archive - W89 Warhead 13.3 40.8 324 200 Kt Airburst or contact Canceled Sept 1991 SRAM (short range attack missile) II warhead; LLNL design; safety features: PAL D, IHE, FRP; also considered for Sea Lance ASW missile

Mystery solved ::)
 

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