Air Force Plant 77
On January 6, 1959, the Air Force named Ogden as the single assembly and recycling point for the SM-80 Minuteman ICBM program. Events leading to this milestone began with the decision of the Thiokol Chemical Company to construct a solid-propellant rocket plant 27 miles west of Brigham City. With this facility operational in late 1957, Thiokol had positioned itself to produce first-stage rocket motors for the new ICBM. When the contract came, construction of Air Force Plant 78 at the Thiokol complex gave Thiokol the capacity to mass produce the rocket motors.
Meanwhile another solid-propellant producer expanded facilities at Bacchus located west of Salt Lake City. The Hercules Powder Company started work on a new solid-propellant plant in March 1958. By mid-year, both Thiokol and Hercules had research and development contracts for the Minuteman. In October 1958, the Air Force selected Boeing Airplane Company to be the prime contractor to integrate and assemble the systems developed by such subcontractors as Thiokol and Hercules.
With Utah's growing aerospace industrial base and OOAMA's experience, Ogden's commander successfully petitioned in April 1958 to have his installation designated as the logistic support facility for the new ICBM. Having acquired responsibility for Minuteman, OOAMA set up the SM-80 Weapon System Management Division, which moved to Building 1245 in the west area in January 1960. This location placed the management division close to Boeing's Minuteman assembly facility at Air Force Plant 77. Construction of this plant began in September 1960. Nine missile assembly buildings were constructed and some 40 buildings were dedicated for rocket motor storage and support. Here Boeing assembled all of the components into missiles ready for launch site deployment.
As the missile production plant neared completion, in 1961 construction began on a series of facilities for disassembly, overhaul, and reassembly work. The new maintenance complex included a Missile Engineering Surveillance Facility, otherwise known as the Aging Laboratory designed to duplicate silo environmental conditions. A Radiographic Inspection Laboratory x-rayed motors to determine if there were cracks in the solid-fuel propellant. In addition, the maintenance facilities housed clean rooms for missile guidance systems calibration and modification work.
The first production Minuteman rolled off the assembly line at Air Force Plant 77 on April 12, 1962. By March 1964, 500 Minuteman missiles had been built; the last Minuteman I came off the assembly line in May 1965. Boeing continued production with Minuteman II and, in 1968, began building the Minuteman III.
In 1972 production of the first version of the Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM) began at Boeing Air Force Plant 77 at Hill AFB.
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