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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Transporter Erector Loader

A unique vehicle, the Boeing Transporter/Erector Loader (TEL) semitrailer was used to transport the Minuteman I missile and emplace/remove it at the launch facility. The container was sixty-five feet long, ten feet wide, thirteen feet tall, and contained 8,030 cubic feet of interior space. It weighed 24,700 pounds when empty and cost just under $700,000. It was environmentally controlled by the tractor when on the road and by the onboard air conditioner when stored. Power to operate the trailer when emplacing/removing the missile also came from the tractor. The Transporter/Erector Semitrailer was pulled by a specially-designed 1963 GMC tractor. The container could also be used (without the tractor) to transport the missile by rail.

With a very unique "cab-under" design, one version of the transporter erector was brought into service in the early 1960s to emplace and remove the original Minuteman I missiles assigned to Warren. Beginning in 1973, the transporter erector underwent minor modifications to transition to the newer Minuteman III missile being deployed here.

Commonly known as the "old TE," its container is 65 feet long, 10 feet wide, 13 feet tall, and has around 8,030 cubic feet of interior space available to work with. It weighs approximately 24,700 pounds when empty and around 107,150 pounds loaded and originally cost just under $700,000. In late 1989, the old transporter erector was retired as the new and improved one came onboard to not only take its place but to continue the lasting legacy set by the original.

Paragraph 5 of Article IV of START I limited the number of transporter-loaders for ICBMs for road-mobile launchers of ICBMs. Restricting transporter-loaders constrains a Party's ability to reload mobile launchers rapidly after they have been fired. For road-mobile ICBMs with a single warhead, the Treaty allows two transporter-loaders per type per deployment area or test range, and a total of six transporter loaders in other areas, provided that the total does not exceed thirty. Note that paragraph 7 of Article V of the Treaty bans transporter-loaders for road-mobile launchers of ICBMs with multiple warheads and for rail-mobile launchers of ICBMs.

On June 4, 2013 DRS Technologies, Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced that it received a $25 million contract from the US Air Force for the design, development and delivery of two Transporter Erector Replacement Program [ERP] Vehicles to support the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Minuteman III fleet. If all options are exercised by the Air Force, the total program value for up to 26 mobile vehicles under this contract could reach over $92 million.

The Transporter Erector is a vehicle used for transporting, positioning and removing the Minuteman III booster at launch facilities at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; Hill AFB, Utah; and Vandenberg AFB, California. The current Transporter Erector used by the Air Force was fielded in 1988. The Air Force Global Strike Command, overseeing this replacement, requires a modern and forward-looking system that will sustain booster handling operations through 2030.

Under the Air Force Transporter Erector Replacement Program, DRS Environmental Systems in Cincinnati, Ohio, will redesign and build new transport vehicles that will fully modernize the operational system. The design and development of the first two Transporter Erectors to be used in system qualification are due to be completed in November 2015. If all production options are exercised, 26 Transporter Erectors will be delivered to the Air Force through September 2019.

“DRS will draw upon its 40 years of experience with system engineering, design, and production of mission-critical mobile shelters and transport trailers for the military,” said Roger Sexauer, president of DRS Power and Environmental Systems. “The Environmental Systems Team has been supporting the Air Force ICBM program office for over 20 years and is committed to providing continued support to a critical part of the our Nation’s strategic deterrent forces,” according to Sexauer.




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