MX (Peacekeeper) deployment concepts.

Reading stuff about Minuteman WS-120A and MX basing. Pretty interesting to note that despite 30 years of intensive debates and a bazillion studies they could never beat the basic Polaris system: big solid fuel rockets in a nuclear submarine roaming the ocean depths.
Wish there was more information about the WS-120 in general. A super heavy 20-25 RV solid fuel ICBM with one basing option being deeply buried inside a mountain!!

Largely a function, I assume, that it came and went from the “nuclear discussion” very quickly.
 
Me too. That Sierra-granite-moutain-silo idea was quite... daring.

For those who don't know: WS-120A is kind of "missing link" between Minuteman (1958-1963 IOC) and MX Peceakeeper (early 70's to the 2000's).

Basing was already a teething problem, and one proposal had a Sierra granite mountain been partially hollowed with missile tubes.

Granite was naturally "superhardened" up to thousands of psi of pressure - of course, boring the tunnels would be horrendously expensive.
 
Me too. That Sierra-granite-moutain-silo idea was quite... daring.

For those who don't know: WS-120A is kind of "missing link" between Minuteman (1958-1963 IOC) and MX Peceakeeper (early 70's to the 2000's).

Basing was already a teething problem, and one proposal had a Sierra granite mountain been partially hollowed with missile tubes.

Granite was naturally "superhardened" up to thousands of psi of pressure - of course, boring the tunnels would be horrendously expensive.
Sounds like the perfect job for a Nuclear Subterrene, the dates match up pretty well too: http://atomic-skies.blogspot.com/2012/07/those-magnificent-men-and-their-atomic.html

Subterrene Schematic #2.png
Interior of Penetrator Tunnel.png
 
Andreas Parsch notes that the MGM-118 designation was re-used for the rail-mobile variant of the LGM-118 after having been initially assigned to the MPS (Mobile Protective Shelters) plan (in which 200 MX missiles would be shuttled around between 4,600 soft shelters), which was canceled in 1980 due to high costs, prompting the redesign of the Peacekeeper as a silo-launched missile and its redesignation as LGM-118..
 
...
 

Attachments

  • official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (3).jpg
    official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (3).jpg
    179.9 KB · Views: 88
  • official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c.jpg
    official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c.jpg
    194.6 KB · Views: 98
  • official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (1).jpg
    official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (1).jpg
    170 KB · Views: 89
  • official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (2).jpg
    official-peacekeeper-missile_1_8bc2a587955065cf05e10ffc3921388c (2).jpg
    203.2 KB · Views: 93
1982 Senate hearing on MX basing. Downloadable PDF at the link (large file)


Sferrin you link to the full document you attached early in the thread doesn’t work is there an alternative?
 
Further to this, here is a paper describing an elaborate sea-based concept for MX, consisting of a force of 30 SL-7 or similar fast container ships, initially just as MX launch platforms with 8 MX missiles per ship, and later with just 15 container ships (still with their own MX missiles) acting as mother ships for a force of 45 surface effect ships, each carrying up to four MX missiles.

 
There's actually a HYDRA Corporation? :D

It looks like a one-man consultancy, most likely. (9310 Telfer Court is a private home.)

I get the impression it was probably someone who was closely connected to the 1960s Hydra floating launch concept referenced in the report. Seems like they really wanted to put that idea forward again for MX.
 
Man, it looks like everybody wanted a shot at MX basing. In the Navy SES thread, I describe an 11,000-ton surface effect ships that would carry 20 MX missiles at high speed.
Most likely Navy just wanted to mess with program - persuading Congress to move in into the Navy's jurisdiction, then cancel it as "redundant to superior Trident missiles". After all, the MX program was essentially the USAF desperate last shot facing the probability of losing the nuclear deterrence role completely...
 
Man, it looks like everybody wanted a shot at MX basing. In the Navy SES thread, I describe an 11,000-ton surface effect ships that would carry 20 MX missiles at high speed.
Most likely Navy just wanted to mess with program - persuading Congress to move in into the Navy's jurisdiction, then cancel it as "redundant to superior Trident missiles". After all, the MX program was essentially the USAF desperate last shot facing the probability of losing the nuclear deterrence role completely...

Nope. Not when you look at the folks presenting these ideas. This wasn't Navy leadership, it was some mid-level technologists who saw a chance to put some spotlight on their pet ideas.
 
Man, it looks like everybody wanted a shot at MX basing. In the Navy SES thread, I describe an 11,000-ton surface effect ships that would carry 20 MX missiles at high speed.
Most likely Navy just wanted to mess with program - persuading Congress to move in into the Navy's jurisdiction, then cancel it as "redundant to superior Trident missiles". After all, the MX program was essentially the USAF desperate last shot facing the probability of losing the nuclear deterrence role completely...
Given they had over a 1000 ICBMs, two types of bombers (and a third in development), AGM-86s, AGM-129s, AGM-69s (with SRAM2 in development), and thousands of nuclear bombs, you could hardly be more wrong if you tried.
 
It would make sense in the 1950's tbh, when the branches were still trying to legislate each other out of existence, but by the 1980's the DOD had settled into a triad.
 
It looks like a one-man consultancy, most likely. (9310 Telfer Court is a private home.)

I get the impression it was probably someone who was closely connected to the 1960s Hydra floating launch concept referenced in the report. Seems like they really wanted to put that idea forward again for MX.

Just had the idea to look up John E Draim, and yep, he was the guy who basically invented the Hydra floating launch idea.


From 1958 through 1961, at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA, he was the Director of the Space Research Division. In that post, he originated and managed the Navy''s Project Hydra, developing new technology and receiving a number of patents for water-based vertical floating launch of rocket vehicles.
 
MX essentially was marketed to be superior to Minuteman because cold launches allowed the silo to be re-used without rebuilding its interior. Not sure if that was ever true, but the siloes themselves were built to a higher standard than Minuteman. Airforce magazine had a nice article about superhardening siloes in anticipation for the needs of the MX Peacekeeper. Might have been in 1984 or 1985.
 
Unfortunately for MX, the most important factor is cost, as every other factor can be waived.

And yeah MX's booster was probably too spicy for the decrepit Minuteman silo. The same thing happened with the R-36 and R-36M.
 
Last edited:
Actually no, because USSR commissioned the orbital-capable ICBM - R-36orb (orbitalnaya) - as early as 1968. For them, the mountain shadow silos would not be much problem.
I think the ballistic RVs actually drop at a sharper angle than Orbital RVs, though.

Find a good valley bottom with sufficiently-tall mountains/ridges on both sides.
 
I think the ballistic RVs actually drop at a sharper angle than Orbital RVs, though.

Find a good valley bottom with sufficiently-tall mountains/ridges on both sides.
Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada should all have some good sites. Eastern Oregon may as well.
 
Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada should all have some good sites. Eastern Oregon may as well.
I think somewhere in this thread (or somewhere I saw) was a concept of hard rock basing of MX on the south side of east-west mountain ranges. This was also similar to the hard rock basing concept of the proposed WS-120A
 
Also, because the USN rules the waves. SSBNs don't work as well if you're the Soviets or Chinese.
More because the Soviets/Russians didn't really crank up the silencing efforts on their boats, instead relying on a bunch of escorts to keep the Americans and British out of their boomer bastions. While the Chinese don't even trust their submarine captains to go out to sea and NOT LAUNCH... (there's a reason the US awards a combat service pin for going on a strategic deterrent patrol and not launching). Seriously, the Chinese do not regularly have their SSBNs loaded with live birds...


If the French and British had to worry about the USN, SSBNs would be seen as a far riskier option.
Given that the two have had a pair of SSBNs collide with each other, I can only assume that British and French quieting efforts are pretty dang good, given that they tend to put the best passive sonar they can build on a boomer. Really wish I could read the report on how close they were when the Brits detected the French.
 
Given that the two have had a pair of SSBNs collide with each other, I can only assume that British and French quieting efforts are pretty dang good, given that they tend to put the best passive sonar they can build on a boomer. Really wish I could read the report on how close they were when the Brits detected the French.
And if y'all don't think the USN tries to get sound signatures of the British and French SSBNs, I'd like some of whatever you happen to be smoking.
 

Similar threads

Please donate to support the forum.

Back
Top Bottom