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Rocketry

  MILITARY ICBM DEVELOPMENT

At the end of this block of study, you should be able to:

5.45 Discuss the development of the Titan I, Titan II, Minuteman, and Peacekeeper missiles.
5.46 Discuss the U.S. Navy's Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) development.


In 1957, in an attempt to correct some deficiencies of the Atlas, development began on the Titan I. It became operational on 1962; however, it was only slightly better. Work quickly proceeded on the Titan II which also went operational in 1962.

The U.S. Air Force, learning from the U.S. Navy's solid­fuel Polaris program, quickly developed the Minuteman series. By 1966, America's land­based ICBM force consisted of Atlas Is, Titan IIs, and Minuteman.

In the late 1970s, preliminary work began on the Peacekeeper ICBM. This missile was developed to counter the Soviet Union's increased hardening of their fixed ICBM silos. As of April 1990, the land­based ICBM force of the Strategic Air Command consisted of 1,000 missiles-450 Minuteman II, 500 Minuteman III, and 50 Peacekeeper.

A recent night operational test launch of Minuteman III from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.

After conducting experiments with liquid­fuel V­2s in the late 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Navy realized liquid­fuel rockets would be too danger dangerous to put aboard ships. The Navy launched the Polaris program in early 1957, and by November 1960, the ballistic missile submarine U.S.S. George Washington went to sea carrying 16 of the missiles. The Polaris system was phased out by 1983 and was replaced by the Poseidon. The Poseidon first went to sea on March 31, 1971, aboard the U.S.S. James Madison. In October 1979, the Trident I became operational aboard the U.S.S. Francis Scott Key. Presently, there are approximately 400 Poseidon and 192 Trident I SLBMs on alert. The newest SLBM is the Trident II which became ready for deployment in February 1990.

An early D-5 Trident missile submerged launch off of Cape Canaveral, FL.

 

REVIEW EXERCISE


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