by Sarah Swan
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
7/15/2011 - DAYTON, Ohio -- Restoration staff recently installed the Boeing LGM-30A Minuteman IA in the Missile & Space Gallery.
The missile came to the museum in 1971 and was displayed outdoors for several years. To prepare the missile for indoor display, four restoration specialists repaired the outer layer and the cableways, in addition to cleaning and treating the rocket section attach points.
The Minuteman missile concept pushed rocket technology to a new level, and it vastly improved U.S. nuclear strategic deterrence. The first Minuteman missiles became operational in late 1962, and the one now on display at the museum is a symbol of those early missiles.
"Minuteman represented a significant advance in USAF ballistic missile technology when it came into service in 1962," said Dr. Doug Lantry, a research historian at the museum. "It was America's first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, and it was quicker to launch and easier to protect and maintain that its contemporaries. The Minuteman system was a mainstay of Cold War nuclear deterrence, and through a long series of improvements, Minuteman remains operational today."
The Minuteman IA joins seven other missiles on display in the Missile & Space Gallery -- Jupiter, Thor, Titan I, Titan II, Thor Agena A, Minuteman III and Peacekeeper. Current plans call for two other missiles to eventually be added to the gallery.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Friends Journal. To receive the Journal and other benefits, become a member of the Air Force Museum Foundation.
7/18/2011 9:02:58 AM ET I suggest you take a closer look at capability of the Titan II. Although it was liquid-fueled it was loaded and on static alert for close to 20 years. It had a launch time from turnkey equal to Minuteman.