UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



Minuteman (MM) III Sustainment/Deactivation (U)

Overview (U):

(U) The LGM-30 Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile is the United States' main strategic ballistic missile system. The "L" in LGM is the Department of Defense designation for silo-launched; "G" means surface attack; and "M" stands for guided missile. As a result of U.S. initiatives to cancel development programs for new intercontinental ballistic missiles and retire the Peacekeeper ICBM, the Minuteman will become the only land-based ICBM in America's nuclear Triad.

Description (U):

(U) The LGM-30G Minuteman weapon system was conceived in the late 1950s and deployed in the early 1960s. The Minuteman was a revolutionary concept and an extraordinary technical achievement. Both the missile and basing components incorporated significant advances beyond the relatively slow-reacting, liquid-fueled, remotely-controlled intercontinental ballistic missiles of the previous generation. From the beginning, Minuteman missiles have provided a quick-reacting, inertially guided, highly survivable component to America's nuclear Triad. Minuteman's maintenance concept capitalizes on high reliability and a "remove and replace" approach to achieve a near 100 percent alert rate.

(U) Through state-of-the-art improvements, the Minuteman system has evolved to meet new challenges and assume new missions. Modernization programs have resulted in new versions of the missile, expanded targeting options, significantly improved accuracy and survivability. Today's Minuteman weapon system is the product of almost 35 years of continuous enhancement.

(U) The current Minuteman force consists of 530 Minuteman III's located at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. To compensate for termination of the Small ICBM and Peacekeeper Rail Garrison programs, the Department of Defense will conduct an extensive life extension program to keep Minuteman viable beyond the turn of the century. These major programs include replacement of the aging guidance system, remanufacture of the solid-propellant rocket motors, replacement of standby power systems, repair of launch facilities, and installation of updated, survivable communications equipment and new command and control consoles to enhance immediate communications.

(U) Under START II, all Peacekeeper missiles will be retired from service and the U.S. ICBM fleet will consist solely of Minuteman III missiles. The Treaty also requires that all land-based ICBMs must be de-MIRVed, therefore, the Minuteman IIIs would be modified to carry only a single re-entry vehicle. Some Minuteman missiles would be deployed with MK21 re-entry vehicles removed from retired Peacekeeper missiles.

(U) General Characteristics:
- (U) Power plant: - (U) Three solid-propellant rocket motors
- (U) Thrust: First stage, 202,600 pounds (91,170 kilograms)
- (U) Length: 59.9 feet (18 meters)
- (U) Weight: 79,432 pounds (32,158 kilograms)
- (U) Diameter: 5.5 feet (1.67 meters)
- (U) Range: 6,000-plus miles (5,218 nautical miles)
- (U) Speed: Approximately 15,000 mph (Mach 23 or 24,000 kph) at burnout
- (U) Ceiling: 700 miles (1,120 kilometers)
- (U) Load: Re-entry vehicle: MK 12 or MK 12A
- (U) Warheads: Three (downloaded to one as required by the Washington Summit Agreement, June 1992)
- (U) Unit cost: $7 million
- (U) Date deployed: June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
- (U) Inventory: Active force, 530; Reserve, 0; ANG, 0

User Impact (U):

(U) None.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

Images (U):

(U) None.

Related Initiatives (U):
CBM with Common Aero-VehicleConventional Ballistic Missile (CBM) with Common Aero-Vehicle (CAV)
CBM with MNNRVConventional Ballistic Missile (CBM) with Maneuverable Non-Nuclear Reentry Vehicle (MNNRV)
EMATS-REmergency Message Automated Transmission System - Replacement (EMATS-R)
ICBM EHF TerminalsIntercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) EHF Terminals
ICBM FOT&EIntercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Follow-On Test and Evaluation (FOT&E)
Missile Nav & Re-Entry VehiclesMissile Navigation and Re-entry Vehicles
MM Guidance Replacement ProgMinuteman Guidance Replacement Program (GRP)
Modified Miniature Rec TerminalModified Miniature Receive Terminal (MMRT)
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
ICBM SustainmentIntercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sustainment
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

1997 Force Applications MAP
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

(U) DoD: USD (A&T), Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: Chief of Staff, Air Force; Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Offut AFB, NE
(U) Program Management: HQ AFPEO/SP, Pentagon, Washington, DC; ICBM System Program Office, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, UT

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj Mike LaPointe, NSSA, Open Phone: (703) 325-6422, DSN 221-6422.
(U) National Security Space Road Map Team, NSSA, Open Phone: (703)808-6040, DSN 898-6040.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 21 November 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list