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MX (Peacekeeper) deployment concepts.

sferrin

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Numerous methods of deploying the Peacekeeper were investigated and I wish somebody had all the details. Here's a few things I turned up:

"One of the first MX projects was the Vertical Shelter Ground System Definition Program which required
construction of an 18-foot diameter, 130-foot deep vertical silo for missile loading and egress (exit)
tests.
The egress mechanism was built to thrust a 348,000-pound simulated missile and canister out of the
silo to a height of 40 feet above ground after it burst through a 50,000-pound layer of soil."


"Extensive prototype tests were conducted at the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station to adapt Corps of Engineers (CE) flexible pavement design criteria to pavements to be used in the MX missile program. The initial shell game concept for dispersing the MX missiles required construction of approximately 8,000 miles of roads capable of sustaining numerous passes of a missile transporter weighing about 1,500,000 lb. This research resulted in increased knowledge of the performance of pavements subjected to heavy loads. Prototype test sections of bituminous surface-treated roads and gravel-surfaced roads were designed and constructed using current CE criteria. The test sections were trafficked to the design number of operations using a trafficking rig simulating the MX missile transporter. The trafficking rig was equipped with two load tires in line, each approximately 8 ft tall by 3 ft wide, inflated to 65 psi, and having a loaded weight of 62,500 lb. Test traffic was placed on the pavement and conditions were monitored for pavement distress. Analysis of the resulting test data led to the connclusion that existing CE criteria can be modified to provide a more economical pavement than was previously expected for very heavy loads. Most distress appeared in the form of deeper consolidation caused by the very heavy loads on the unusually large tires. Other load parameters such as contact area and contact pressure were in more typical ranges and, therefore, gave more typical results. (Author)"



There were a LOT of different methods investigated. One would have them in a long concrete tunnel maybe ten feet under the ground and if the alarm came hydraulic rams would raise the canister into position shoving aside the concrete roof and overlying dirt in the process. I remember seeing footage of this test on the news back in the day and it was pretty impressive.

Another was the shell game. Imagine each missile deployed on a "racetrack" with 23 hardened shelters dispersed around it and a giant transporter shuffling a missile between them randomly. If it got caught in the open it would simply raise the missile and fire it. If not, it would back up to the front of the shelter like a semi backing up to a loading dock and the canister would be "fed" into the shelter. Each shelter could also raise the canister into position and fire the missile.

"Case Against the MX, a Shell Game That Could Misfire; MX: Prescription for Disaster, by Dr. Herbert Scoville Jr. Cambridge: The MIT Press. $6.95 (paperback)

By Burke Wilkinson

In the jaunty jargon of Armageddon, the delivery vehicle for the hotly debated MX missile is called "the bus," and the independently targetable missiles themselves are the "passengers." In the same ghoulish lexicon, the cluster of 23 shelters that would conceal one live and mobile missile is the "race course."

On the drawing board, the race course is being supplanted by a series of clusters (hardened silos) in line ahead, connected by straight roads. But the nightmarish shell game remains the same. The Soviets must guess which silo contains the live missile. In order to be absolutely sure that they knock it out, they would have to saturate all 23 clusters in the area.

The size and cost of the project -- approved in principle during the Carter administration -- are staggering. The number of proposed cluster areas is 200. They would require 50,000 square miles in Utah and Nevada, a slice of America the size of Alabama. Cost as of today's fast escalating estimate: $120 billion. "



Another was the "super hard silo". From what I recall they tested silos that could withstand up to 50,000 psi (today's are about 2,000 psi). There was a photo in Airforce Magazine back in the day of one of the tests. There was a huge crater in the ground and there sticking up in the middle of it was the concrete silo unscratched.


Don't remember exactly what they were using the tunnel machine for but it was in the mix somewhere too.

There was also the rail garrison (which had previously been kicked around for the Minuteman)
 

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sferrin

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I found this very interesting and extensive report here:

http://www.wws.princeton.edu/ota/disk3/1981/8116.html


Talks about the various methods they investigated and has some pretty interesting drawings. I didn't know that with the racetrack method they'd considered having LoADS missiles and phased array radars mixed in with the dummies.
 

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Good find, sferrin. Just some weeks ago I searched for information about the LoADS system on the net, but didn't find anything useful.
 

elmayerle

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*Chuckle* Some of us semi-jokingly put forward a way of hiding the rail-mobile version in plain sight; put 'em on the end of Amtrak passenger trains and give the USSR a timetable. As "accurate" as those timetables appeared to be, they'd never find them.
 

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I remember when the "Dense Pack" idea was put forth for MX deployment. I was in school at the time and some of us christened the cheerleading team the "Dense Pack" and it stuck. Unfortunately the humor of it got lost on those who weren't major aviation geeks like myself and those who started calling them the "Dense Pack".
 

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If the missiles carried one warhead, a force of 100 missiles was not powerful enough to justify the cost of turning a mountain into a doomsday missile base. To bring military capability into line with cost, Aerospace proposed a huge new missile known as ICBM-X, a weapon with destructive potential that matched well with the cost of superhard basing. Developed under a separate Golden Arrow investigation for a new hardened and dispersed missile, ICBM-X had a massive 156-inch diameter (Minuteman I was sixty-six inches at its widest), an unspecified number of stages, a CEP of .16 to .20 nautical miles, thixotropic propellants, a gross weight of 1,100,000 pounds, and multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Given a payload capacity of 24,000 pounds, this meant that it could have carried twenty or more MIRVs, a staggering number. Aerospace believed that it could not provide accurate cost figures for the superhardened ICBM-X weapon system, but construction efforts alone qualified the proposal as monumental architecture and made other options look relatively cheap.
ECHOES THAT NEVER WERE: AMERICAN MOBILE INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES, 1956-1983, pages 136-137. I think someone was a touch envious of R-36.
 

flateric

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Thanks a lot for the link. I still can't stop wonderinng of various crazy basing concepts born at both sides of the Iron Curtain.
 

sferrin

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flateric said:
Thanks a lot for the link. I still can't stop wonderinng of various crazy basing concepts born at both sides of the Iron Curtain.
There's a video clip out there of the buried trench method shown on page 302 being tested. Looks like they missed a few concepts too. Still, nice find. :)
 

Skybolt

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ah, ah, so someone else FOUND it... :D
So you'll enjoy the great ICBM launcher aircrafts...
 

Antonio

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So you'll enjoy the great ICBM launcher aircrafts...
Sure :)

Great document!
Many thanks for sharing it Rosdivan

Cheers,
Antonio
 

flateric

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MX tunnel basing concept - tests of tunnel transporter/launcher breaking concrete
Source: D. Hobbes "An Illustrated Guide to Space Warfare" Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 0-86101-204-6
 

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sferrin

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That's the one. :D Somewhere out there is a really cool video.
 

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One other concept was proposed by some planners in the Naval Reserve (which guaranteed it would be rejected, "Not Invented Here"):

They calculated that if you removed some armor, certain other unnecessary for this mission gear and some fuel, an LCAC could be loaded with an MX missile and its erector/launcher. You could park the things out in plain site, for SALT verification purposes. If the balloon should go up, the LCAC fires up and heads out somewhere at 50+ mph, not worrying about roads, lakes, etc. Since they didn't have GPS in those days it would either use a very precise INS or just head to anyone of dozens of replotted locations (road intersections, etc.), tell the missile where it was, and then erect and fire. This would complicate the targeting of incoming ICBMs so much that a first strike would not be feasible against them.

There was quite a detailed discussion about the concept in the US Naval Institute Proceedings.
 

Abraham Gubler

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That's the best idea for a mobile system I've seen to date. Takes care of a range of issues with ICBM TELs like bridge crossing, controlling a truck with so many wheels and also blast resistance. A hovercraft platform would be easily shaped for low profile to blast thanks to the high surface area inherent in the GEV platform. Do you have any further details?
 

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Yes, a hovercraft-borne Peacekeeper is certainly an intriguing idea!
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
That's the best idea for a mobile system I've seen to date. Takes care of a range of issues with ICBM TELs like bridge crossing, controlling a truck with so many wheels and also blast resistance. A hovercraft platform would be easily shaped for low profile to blast thanks to the high surface area inherent in the GEV platform. Do you have any further details?

Sorry, no. All I remember was that it was kicked around for a while and the only detailed discussion I saw was in the Naval Institute Proceedings.

The hovercraft in question would not be reshaped or extensively modified beyond what I described, that was part of the beauty, it would be very inexpensive relative to other concepts. The LCAC already existed (still in use today), already had the lift capcity, had a payload area whose dimensions could accommodate the MX, its container and launcher and could be produced rapidly.

The concept also enjoyed the same circumstance which protected aircraft carriers from attacks by ICBMs. During the flight time of the incoming missile, the launcher could travel so far in any direction that to insure knocking out our asset the enemy would have to use an enormous of ICBMs just to insure getting one of ours. Assume 30 minutes warning, five minutes to "scramble" the LCACs who could then move out over a 360 degree possible heading and travel for say, 20 minutes, at 50 miles an hour. If I did the math right that means the MX could be anywhere within an 1404 kilometer area. You'd need a lot of warheads to insure getting it, and then you've knocked out a total of one (providing it isn't already flying by the time the warhead arrived).

AS I said, though, it ran into "Not Invented Here", and never went beyond the concept stage.
 

Abraham Gubler

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There is some mention of it here in this AIAA paper:

http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=mtgpaper&gID=60277

LCAC - A R-evolution at sea

ROWLEY, U. H., U.S. Navy, New Orleans, LA; HALE, LYNN W., U.S. Navy,Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC
AIAA-1989-1480
IN: Intersociety Advanced Marine Vehicles Conference and Exhibit, Arlington, VA, June 5-7, 1989, Technical Papers (A89-41551 17-31). Washington, DC, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1989,p. 232-241.

But not much more than F-14D has provided. But certainly it is a great idea for TEL application.
 

Michel Van

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more insane concept found here

" The Future of Land-Based Missile Forces" by Colin S. Gray
Adelphi papers no 140. year 1977
ISBN 0-86079-014-2
ISSN 0567-933X

MX tunnel basing concept - is called
Buried-Trench Mobility
were the MX move random on Rails and brake true tunnel roof in case of War
the BTM needed 3000-6000 miles of Tunnels !

Continuous Mobility : Dispersed Shelter
a Network of 20 Silos and 6 roads
were a lot of Transporters trucks moving real MX and Dummies from Silo to Silo
the trucks moving with 60 mph or more, so Spy don't know in which Silo is a MX
with 300 MX ICBM Plus Dummies in 400 CM complexes,
the USSR need 16000 Nuke to hit this Continuous Mobility system,
to expensive for enemies so the SAC theorize
the cost around $20-25 billion in 1977

Garage Dash Mobility
a central Garage for MX and Transporters trucks
moves MX so fast as possible random to 10-13 harden silos or shelter.
in ring around the Garage
a system of 300 MX deployed in GDM cost $15 Billion in 1977

Off-Road Random Crawling
a MX on truck or "air-coushion Vehicle"
this was consider to problematic
one: logistic, comand communication
tow: Soviet spysat can find the Off-Road easy

Road and Rail Mobility
or simply put the MX Plus Dummies in Transporters/launcher trucks
on US Highways or US Railwaysystem :eek:
last survived as Minuteman III system until 1991

Deep-Pond Mobility
a complex of deep pond are dig connects with roads
and slow moving trucks transport MX to pond to pond
the Deep pond are cheap functional equivalents of semi hard Shelters resistance of 600 psi

Lake-Bottom Mobility
MX in canister are move on back of a "lake bottom crawling vehicles" or "submerging missile barges"

Deploy Air Mobile ICBM
MX or Minuteman III drop from carrier aircraft
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1958.0/highlight,icbm+carrier+aircraft.html

after the book "Raumfahrt Lexikon" by Bruno Stanek
there were also those option:
horizontal ICBM Silos in mountans or cliffs
silos on oceanfloor


after other source, they had also idea to put MX on Moon !
 

flateric

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Abraham Gubler said:
There is some mention of it here in this AIAA paper:

http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=406&gTable=mtgpaper&gID=60277

LCAC - A Revolution at sea

ROWLEY, U. H., U.S. Navy, New Orleans, LA; HALE, LYNN W., U.S. Navy,Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC
AIAA-1989-1480
 

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It's not actually a bad fit. Only plan drawing for the LCAC I could find was for the JEFF-B test vehicle, might've been some changes. But it appears that a single SICBM trailer/launcher conveniently fits... could probably get two with some minimal mods (just narrow the trailer skirts).
 

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Abraham Gubler

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Using the <25m long LCAC vehicle system a customised TEL could have the erector, launcher built into the vehicle and the engines moved inboard to enable angled sides, bow and stern for blast deflection. With the cushion deflated the TELAC [transporter, Erector, Launcher, Air Cushion] would be a low profile target for counter strike nuclear blasts. If you needed to ship the larger MX missile then the >35m long HLCAC vehicle system could oblige. I wonder how well these TELACs would work in relatively flat land like the US Great Plains or deserts of the South West?
 

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sferrin

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If you were going to be out west you'd just use wheels as Midgetman was going to. It's TEL was designed specifically for that environment. A hovercraft wouldn't get you anything other than a lot of unnecessary problems.
 

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sferrin said:
If you were going to be out west you'd just use wheels as Midgetman was going to. It's TEL was designed specifically for that environment. A hovercraft wouldn't get you anything other than a lot of unnecessary problems.
The advantage the air cushion vehicle was you could go in any direction and, unlike wheels, were fairly independent of the bearing strength of the surface underneath you as well as any obstacles, irregularities in the ground. You could also not have to go around any bodies of water in your dash (they do have lakes, rivers, etc. out in the West). Also, since most of the time the LCACs would be doing nothing but sitting, wear and tear would be at a minimum, insuring availability. Remember, like the missile it would launch, operationally it only has to work once.

I'm attaching a schematic of the LCAC.
 

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sferrin

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True, but Midgetman's launcher was built to ride out a near miss. Throw that kind of weight on an LCAC and will it even be able to get off the ground? Not only that, look at it from a maintenance / toughness perspective. One is an offroad truck, the other is effectively an aircraft. And the Midgetman's launcher wouldn't be limited to dirt roads either as there is a lot of terrain out West that is flat enough for it to drive on.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
True, but Midgetman's launcher was built to ride out a near miss. Throw that kind of weight on an LCAC and will it even be able to get off the ground?
Mostly through shaping not mass. The hovercraft platform with its large plenum is inherently well suited to being shaped for a low upper profile to resit being flipped by the blast effects of a nuclear bomb.

sferrin said:
Not only that, look at it from a maintenance / toughness perspective. One is an offroad truck, the other is effectively an aircraft.
Hovercraft are actually built to marine standards. The LCAC serve daily in one of the toughest environments in the world; littoral amphibious operations. Dry desert outbacks should be easy compared to this...

The best arguments for a truck based mobile launcher system are low cost and ease of camouflage. For a country like the USA with a massive omni directional rail system the train based mobile system was one of the most attractive land, mobile basing options.
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
True, but Midgetman's launcher was built to ride out a near miss. Throw that kind of weight on an LCAC and will it even be able to get off the ground?
Mostly through shaping not mass. The hovercraft platform with its large plenum is inherently well suited to being shaped for a low upper profile to resit being flipped by the blast effects of a nuclear bomb.
Right, the trailer could dig into the terrain taking advantage of the venturi effect. Not sure how an ACV could be designed to do the same. The Midgetman trailer actually had a plow on the front of it so they could lower it down and dig into the terrain, making a better seal around the bottom.


Abraham Gubler said:
Hovercraft are actually built to marine standards. The LCAC serve daily in one of the toughest environments in the world; littoral amphibious operations. Dry desert outbacks should be easy compared to this...
I'm not talking about corrosion issues so much as durability and toughness. Also what are the fuel requirements for an LCAC-type vehicle compared to a diesel-powered wheeled vehicle?


Abraham Gubler said:
The best arguments for a truck based mobile launcher system are low cost and ease of camouflage. For a country like the USA with a massive omni directional rail system the train based mobile system was one of the most attractive land, mobile basing options.

I don't know why they didn't do that. The rail system has been kicked around since the Minuteman days.
 

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sferrin said:
True, but Midgetman's launcher was built to ride out a near miss. Throw that kind of weight on an LCAC and will it even be able to get off the ground? Not only that, look at it from a maintenance / toughness perspective. One is an offroad truck, the other is effectively an aircraft. And the Midgetman's launcher wouldn't be limited to dirt roads either as there is a lot of terrain out West that is flat enough for it to drive on.
Depends on your definition of a "near miss". There were any number of questions regarding the ability to climb out through the shock waves and debris clouds following detonations of enemy missiles. Although much of the West is flat, there's still the problem of the range of the missile and you still have the fact that there are areas that restrict your mobility. Plus, what if you wanted to base your missiles other than in the Western desert? The LCAC idea could be put anywhere, including snow. Another factor is that the LCAC ride is m,uch "gentler" than bouncing the missile over uneven terrain in a wheeled vehicle, with the consequent results to the missile's electronics.

I note that Michale Van listed in his excellent summary the arguments raised against an air cushion vehicle (although those objections at the time also costed in the development of a vehicle, ignoring the fact that LCAC R&D was already paid for). Those were actually straw men. Logistics were not a problem since the LCACS would be at a fully equipped base, and would only "take off" when ICBMs were believed inbound. Communication problems were a not particularly troublesome. . Radios worked at least as well as they would with bombers, and a similar check procedure would be in place. On receipt of a coded alert mesage all the LCAC crew had to do was open their orders which would basically say "Go to one of the preplotted locations within travel range, tell the MXwhere it is, and prepare to receive the launch command". Soviet spysats were a non-issue. You actually wanted then to see the LCACs, in order to comply with SALT requirements. The thing is, once the Soviets launched their ICBMs, the spysats were useless. After launch, where the missile was going to go is fixed. Even if there was a way to update where the LCACs had moved to during the flight of the launched Soviet ICBMs (there wasn't), once the missile was on its way its impact point was fixed and the LCAC is no longer there.

The LCAC option would have been much cheaper than any other concept except the one that was actually chosen: stick them in silos just like all previous missiles and give up on the survivability issues.

As far as the weight issues go, an unmodified LCAC can carry 75 tons in an overload operation. Remove the maritime features and a lot of the fuel, as well as the armor, and with upgraded engines you could reach the payload needed to transport Peacekeeper for a limited distance, which is all you need. Midgetman was a different missile, never developed. Had it been, unmodified LCACs had sufficient payload (though not room) to carry five of them.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Right, the trailer could dig into the terrain taking advantage of the venturi effect. Not sure how an ACV could be designed to do the same. The Midgetman trailer actually had a plow on the front of it so they could lower it down and dig into the terrain, making a better seal around the bottom.
The big issue for a Midgetman trailer is height to surface area in touch with the ground. It has to dig itself in because otherwise it has very little stability. A big wide and long hovercraft would still have about the same height as a trailer as it is determined by the missile. So for the hovercraft the side slopes are much more acute and it is a lot more stable on the ground. If it needs to dig itself in it can do something similar to the Midgetman with a plough. It would have the advantage of a lot more mass (a Peackepper carrier not a little Midgetman carrier) and a lot more speed to provide it the momentum to dig.

sferrin said:
I'm not talking about corrosion issues so much as durability and toughness.
I wasn't talking about corrosion either. The LCAC is a very strong beast and absorbs a lot of bumps when it goes over waves.

sferrin said:
I don't know why they didn't do that. The rail system has been kicked around since the Minuteman days.
I would imagine a strong argument against the rail system is it would encourage the Soviets to target the US rail system in particular junctions in an attempt to defeat it. Since most of these are co-located with regional towns it would significantly force up the megadeath count for the US in a nuclear war. Better to isolate the nuclear weapons from the population in hope that a Soviet strike wouldn't kill everyone.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
I would imagine a strong argument against the rail system is it would encourage the Soviets to target the US rail system in particular junctions in an attempt to defeat it. Since most of these are co-located with regional towns it would significantly force up the megadeath count for the US in a nuclear war. Better to isolate the nuclear weapons from the population in hope that a Soviet strike wouldn't kill everyone.
It was said at the time that we could put missiles on Amtrak trains, but that was a double edged sword. On the one hand, the Soviets would never know where the missiles were. On the other hand, though, neither would we! :D
 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a1Kb1LeWPM
 

Michel Van

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on the video

those ood jets of liquit is this a hydraulic malfuntion ?

or this are Waterjets to keep the ICBM clean as is push true soil ?
 

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flateric said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a1Kb1LeWPM
That's the short version of the one I posted a few pages ago. ;)
 

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After the short Youtube video of the "MX breakout" there is another selection that pops up. A video called MX and Midgetman with their numerical missile designations. It sure sounds like a short part of a longer documentary - anyone know what it might be?
 
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