Minuteman Technical Troubles

bobbymike

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This story scares the bejeebees out of me. :eek: The MMIII has been refurbished almost completely with new components. If this is system wide the US has no land based strategic deterrent. I have been posting far and wide on the web about replacing the MMIII for both industrial base needs and to insure a reliable deterrent. From Strategy Page:

Mysterious Minuteman Malfunction
January 27, 2010: The U.S. Air Force test program for its Minuteman III ICBMs has been interrupted by a "mechanical problem" that will delay the next test seven months. The missile, selected at random from those stored in Midwest silos, was brought to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, placed in a silo there, and readied for firing into the Pacific. But during the installation of the missile in the silo, a problem was encountered. The air force won't say what exactly the problems is, or if it is something common to other Minuteman missiles.

This kind of testing is not as realistic as what the Russians do, which is to just pick a missile at random, remove the nuclear warhead and replace it with one full of monitoring and radio equipment, and then fire it. The U.S. can't do that because American silos are surrounded by inhabited areas. Thus if the missile ran into trouble, and had to be destroyed (all such missiles are equipped with explosives for this, that can be set off by remote control), the debris could come down on people. The Russian silos are in more isolated areas, and Russians are more tolerant of their government showering them with missile debris.

American ICBM tests are different in other ways. For example, a test three years ago was unique because for the first time, the test silo had the 105 ton doors closed, and then blown open just before launch. Repairing the doors is expensive, so the doors are usually kept open during preparations for the test, and plastic sheeting spread over the open silo to keep rain out. But a previous test was screwed up by a heavy rain, that flooded, and damaged, the silo despite the plastic sheeting. Another first for the test three years ago was the use of GPS guidance in the test warhead.

The tests are a form of quality control, and the current problems are actually beneficial. The test preparation process often uncovers problems that would cause the missiles to fail if used in a combat situation.
 

Byeman

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bobbymike said:
The MMIII has been refurbished almost completely with new components. If this is system wide the US has no land based strategic deterrent. I have been posting far and wide on the web about replacing the MMIII for both industrial base needs and to insure a reliable deterrent.

The refurbishment with new component does exactly that, it supports industrial base needs and insures a reliable deterrent. As part of the refurbishment, new motor and avionics are built
 

bobbymike

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Byeman said:
bobbymike said:
The MMIII has been refurbished almost completely with new components. If this is system wide the US has no land based strategic deterrent. I have been posting far and wide on the web about replacing the MMIII for both industrial base needs and to insure a reliable deterrent.

The refurbishment with new component does exactly that, it supports industrial base needs and insures a reliable deterrent. As part of the refurbishment, new motor and avionics are built

Well if this is a system wide problem the reliable part is not really working out. A new program would undergo rigorous testing prior to deployment. Also, a totally new system would be much better for the industrial base. It would allow the training of new missile scientists and engineers giving a truly hands on experience designing a system from the ground up. The same reason you have totally new platforms such as the F-22, etc. you cannot just refurbish forever. It is incredible that we have a missile first deployed over 40 years ago and have not replaced it with a state of the art system. Topol, Topol M, RS-24, Russian systems much newer than MMIII. The US needs a new ICBM right now IMHO.
 

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bobbymike said:
1, It would allow the training of new missile scientists and engineers giving a truly hands on experience designing a system from the ground up.

2. you cannot just refurbish forever.

3. It is incredible that we have a missile first deployed over 40 years ago

4. have not replaced it with a state of the art system. Topol, Topol M, RS-24, Russian systems much newer than MMIII. The US needs a new ICBM right now IMHO.

1. The refurb does this and also the new launch vehicle systems that had and are coming on ling

2. See B-52. Also refurb is a misnomer. The parts are being replaced. There are few pieces left of the original vehicles

3. See B-52

4. the replacement parts are state of the art

The program was a way of providing a new ICBM under the guise of refurb
 

bobbymike

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Obviously we can go round and round on this one and never agree.

1. Every study on industrial base requirements I have read especially when it talks about training the next generation of engineers says nothing can replace the expertise learned from a "clean page" design process.
2. While the B-52 is a good example of an effective weapon system having undergone numerous refurbishments and systems upgrades I wouldn't want to send it into a high threat environment. Besides we don't just have B-52's we have developed new systems like the B-1 and B-2. Don't bother mentioning Trident because the sea based leg cannot replace the the unique responsiveness of the land based leg of the Triad.
3. The difference between a B-52 and the MMIII is that we can easily test and retest in real world scenarios much more than an ICBM. Does a B-52 take off, hey it works (yes being simplistic for the sake of brevity) an ICBM is little different.
4. Leaving politics and money aside with the nuclear arsenal downsized as much as it has been shouldn't we really have TOTAL assurance we have deployed the most effective system possible?
 

Byeman

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1. They can work new launch vehicles.
2. We had the MX
3.And you do realize that more than 1/2 as many MMIII have been flight tested that are deployed in silos?
4. that is why we have test flights.
 
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