USAF BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMS 1967-1968

bobbymike

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While searching for WS-120a AICBM information this document popped up with the title I have copied above. Here is the table of contents if anyone wants to use the link to read the whole thing.

[font=times new roman, serif]FOREWORD[/font]

[font=times new roman, serif]I. THE OPERATIONAL FORCE[/font]
[font=times new roman, serif]Weapons for Assured Destruction
Titan II
Minuteman: Problems of Men and Money
Difficulties Overcome at Minuteman Operational Sites
Modification to Improve Minuteman Effectiveness
[/font]

[font=times new roman, serif]II. TESTING THE OPERATIONAL FORCE[/font]
[font=times new roman, serif]Flight Tests
Tests at Operational Sites
The Effort to Reduce Missile System Vulnerability
[/font]

[font=times new roman, serif]III. REENTRY SYSTEMS AND PENETRATION AIDS[/font]
[font=times new roman, serif]ABRES Projects
Programs Related to ABRES
Reentry Vehicles
Penetration-Aids
[/font]

[font=times new roman, serif]IV. MISSILES AND LAUNCH FACILITIES OF THE FUTURE[/font]
[font=times new roman, serif]Minuteman III.
An Advanced Ballistic Missile
Hardrock Silos
Other Related Programs
The Short-Range Attack Missile
[/font]

[font=times new roman, serif]NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS
[/font]

http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Documents/USAF/USAF_BM_1967-68.htm
 
Just FYI but this is a cleaned up HTML version of a PDF found online here that Ryan made
www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb249/doc05.pdf
It is one of a series of ICBM files hosted on this page.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb249/

They are fascinating , particularly just how austere the Minuteman I ICBM and control system was and how badly it worked as first built. Also how the USAF tried to resist changes to the system to keep down costs as part of its dream of fielding 10,000 Minuteman.
 
its dream of fielding 10,000 Minuteman

That's a psycho's wet dream. Considering aprox 200,000,000 people population in the USSR by 1960, it is 1 Minuteman for every 20,000 people!!!. And possibly, enough megatons to destroy the Solar System.
 
Keep in mind that a significant fraction of missiles will fail to launch, fail in flight, and fail to detonate....

10,000 is actually a good figure if you needed to destroy a lot of hardened targets in the days before MIRVs.
 
Not to mention ensuring that enough of your missiles survive a suprise First Strike.
 
I wonder if the nuclear weapons production complex would have even been able to produce warheads for 10,000 missiles.
 
GeorgeA said:
I wonder if the nuclear weapons production complex would have even been able to produce warheads for 10,000 missiles.
The original Minuteman had a single warhead, so 10,000 warheads (plus a certain proportion to cover for maintenance) would be required. The US stockpile reached over 32,000 devices in 1967, so I think this level could be maintained, especially as if the USAF got its' 10,000 ICBMs it would probably have involved killing off the USN's SLBM program: between the historical ICBMs and the SLBMs some 8,971 warheads were deployed, so going to circa. 10,000 wouldn't require a huge increase.
 
Remember you also need to wipe out every man in Red China, the Warsaw Pact, North Korea and possibly India, and meanwhile the Minuteman system was so bad as designed the silos were flooding from having undersized sump pumps.

Those files do also talk about some more exotic tactics which could have consumed large numbers of warheads, such as 'pindown' in which a barrage of nuclear radiation is created above enemy ICBM silos preventing them from launching. Nobody was totally sure this would work, but the US did do work to design a high altitude fuse for Minuteman to make it possible. On paper if pindown did work it could immobilized an enemy ICBM force using fewer warheads then destructive attacks on silos would require using inaccurate ICBMs, and buy time for other assets to direct target the silos as the radiation would persist for a while. The US for its part added more radiation shielding to Minuteman guidance systems to protect them from communist pindown, one of many modifications required in service to make the weapon satisfactory. We also had to add a way of canceling or delaying the launch countdown... stock Minuteman did not have this minor feature, in ordered to provide a means of saving the missiles in the event the Soviet warheads started going off before we could fire. Big consideration given the limitations of 1960s early warning and communication equipment. Also yet another reason to demand absurd numbers of missiles.

I'd be interesting now that i think about it, to compare the physical weight of 10,000 Minuteman to the peak total weight of the Soviet ICBM force which had generally heavier missiles, far heavier in the case of R-9/R-36.
 
I am fascinated by the development of ICBM's and SLBM's and the technological advances they took but always within the confines of political realities. The question I always ask is, "Why no heavy solid fueled ICBM like the WS-120A" McNamara canceled it too threatening after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Before I knew that I used to look at pictures of Minuteman compared to the SS-18 and shudder. I was hoping for 200 Peacekeepers but oh well.

There seemed to be much more scrutiny of ICBM's, their basing, etc. while the Navy got a pass to develop and deploy whatever they wanted (to a budgetary point obviously) Initially of course ICBM's "were" the first strike threat and SLBM's were seen as only capable of retaliatory strikes. But then as accuracy improved to now the D5 might be the most accurate missile in the world I rarely hear a single politician decry the "first strike danger" posed by Trident (You did hear a little back in the 80's but not lately)

I posted on another thread of a presentation to be given by a RAND Corp. analyst on ICBM modernization at the Air Force Association Global Warfare Symposium, would be very interested in what he has to say on the subject, would not be surprised if the only option the US has is a "Midgetman" type system due to New Start and budget restraints.

I have obviously compressed decades of strategic thought into a short post so have dramatically simplified things.
 
I looked up the notes I wrote down back when I read all those missile files a year or so ago, some great stuff.

-as built the first Minuteman wings required that all 50 missiles in a squadron be launched together, succession (time delay to avoid fratricide on impact with closely spaced targets) or salvo. No provision existed for firing individual missiles. Each missile had one target and physical changes at the silo were required to switch targets
-no encryption or scrambling on silo to launch control center communications wiring - solution was order people to watch out for communist spies while awaiting scramblers
-as built early sites had a backup generator in a soft building on the surface and six hours of battery power. Upgrades added a hardened generator proof against 300psi for LCFs and 25psi silos. Fuel supply for 9 weeks.
-CINCSAC Powers objected to all improvements of duel targeting and selective launch to keep Minuteman cheap. Powers also favored mobile Minuteman on trains over Lemay who wanted it fixed site so it was less direct competition vs manned bomber
-Minuteman II could have up to eight preset targets, Wing I of Minuteman I could target one, Wings II through V either of two targets. Wing VI also introduced 300-1000psi generator buildings for silo and LCF.
-Destruction of soft support bases was expected to render the Minuteman silo force useless within a matter of weeks from lack of maintenance.
-Generator systems did not work well. In a Blizzard in Feb 1966 in one wing 77 launchers lost grid power, at 30 diesels failed to start automatically, and 12 shut down without switching to battery power. 12 of 15 command bunkers lost grid power but all could start diesels manually.
-Due to numerous design flaws, poor construction and general lack of information on high hardness facilities in the summer of 1965 effective launch control facility hardness was no more then 125psi vs 1000psi design and launchers rated for 70psi instead of 300psi. Planned major revision work to be done to cables, blast valves ect.. was at that point planned through 1972. McNamara ordered work done faster and at whatever the cost and it was completed by the end of 1968.

Of course, the files have a whole lot of other tidbits, but these were some ones that really stood out. The hardness problem BTW was mainly figured out by simply blowing up a couple Minuteman facilities, using a grid of hundreds of pounds of det cord to simulate the rolling blast of a nuclear shock wave passing over.
 
Metal Misille Desk Models

Greetings All -

Interesting - anyone able to ID the missiles?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-High-Quality-Metal-12-Space-Rocket-Missile-Desk-Model-s-/141395255771?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20ebd061db

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Re: Metal Misille Desk Models

The left one seems to be a Boeing LGM-30G (aka Minuteman III), while the right one could be a (rather simplified) Martin LGM-25C (aka Titan II ICBM).
 
Seems like some new information on the WS-120A. (I am always on the hunt for STRAT-X, WS-120A, Golden Arrow ICBM information)

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/bgm-75.htm
 
I looked up the notes I wrote down back when I read all those missile files a year or so ago, some great stuff.

-as built the first Minuteman wings required that all 50 missiles in a squadron be launched together, succession (time delay to avoid fratricide on impact with closely spaced targets) or salvo. No provision existed for firing individual missiles. Each missile had one target and physical changes at the silo were required to switch targets
-no encryption or scrambling on silo to launch control center communications wiring - solution was order people to watch out for communist spies while awaiting scramblers
-as built early sites had a backup generator in a soft building on the surface and six hours of battery power. Upgrades added a hardened generator proof against 300psi for LCFs and 25psi silos. Fuel supply for 9 weeks.
-CINCSAC Powers objected to all improvements of duel targeting and selective launch to keep Minuteman cheap. Powers also favored mobile Minuteman on trains over Lemay who wanted it fixed site so it was less direct competition vs manned bomber
-Minuteman II could have up to eight preset targets, Wing I of Minuteman I could target one, Wings II through V either of two targets. Wing VI also introduced 300-1000psi generator buildings for silo and LCF.
-Destruction of soft support bases was expected to render the Minuteman silo force useless within a matter of weeks from lack of maintenance.
-Generator systems did not work well. In a Blizzard in Feb 1966 in one wing 77 launchers lost grid power, at 30 diesels failed to start automatically, and 12 shut down without switching to battery power. 12 of 15 command bunkers lost grid power but all could start diesels manually.
-Due to numerous design flaws, poor construction and general lack of information on high hardness facilities in the summer of 1965 effective launch control facility hardness was no more then 125psi vs 1000psi design and launchers rated for 70psi instead of 300psi. Planned major revision work to be done to cables, blast valves ect.. was at that point planned through 1972. McNamara ordered work done faster and at whatever the cost and it was completed by the end of 1968.

Of course, the files have a whole lot of other tidbits, but these were some ones that really stood out. The hardness problem BTW was mainly figured out by simply blowing up a couple Minuteman facilities, using a grid of hundreds of pounds of det cord to simulate the rolling blast of a nuclear shock wave passing over.
You know, I always was wondering why the Titan II and Minute I had such limited targeting ability: From what I remember being told (and I could be wrong), it was possible to program in coordinates for the V-2 in a couple of hours.
 
Except V-2 only had range of 300 km and a CEP of 18 km... plus a prehistorical guidance system.
 
So the guidance system complexity made it harder for missile-crews to reliably be able to program in the launch parameters in a way that would be purposeful?

I was just thinking about the Polaris: Were those missiles pre-programmed, or could they be programmed while at sea?
 
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