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Peacekeeper Re-entry Vehicles & Deployment Bus

DAYTON, Ohio - MK-21 re-entry vehicles on display in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - MK-21 re-entry vehicles on display in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Restoration staff assemble the Peacekeeper missile in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Restoration staff assemble the Peacekeeper missile in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (04/2008) - The Peacekeeper missile (bottom right corner) is the most recent missile added to the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (04/2008) - The Peacekeeper missile (bottom right corner) is the most recent missile added to the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. Air Force maintenance personnel training to remove and install the Avco MK-21 re-entry vehicles from the bus of a Peacekeeper missile. (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. Air Force maintenance personnel training to remove and install the Avco MK-21 re-entry vehicles from the bus of a Peacekeeper missile. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The MIRV warhead of the Peacekeeper made it a very powerful weapon. This timed exposure shows 10 MK-21 re-entry vehicles approaching an open-ocean impact zone near Kwajalein Atoll during a flight test. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The MIRV warhead of the Peacekeeper made it a very powerful weapon. This timed exposure shows 10 MK-21 re-entry vehicles approaching an open-ocean impact zone near Kwajalein Atoll during a flight test. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Illustration from the 1980s showing the elements of a Peacekeeper missile. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Illustration from the 1980s showing the elements of a Peacekeeper missile. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The LMG-118A Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was more powerful and more accurate than the Minuteman III. It carried 10 nuclear weapons in its Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) warhead.

The warhead was part of the missile's fourth stage, which consisted of the deployment module, ten cone-shaped Avco MK-21 re-entry vehicles, and an aerodynamic shroud. The shroud covered the re-entry vehicles during launch and was ejected after the Peacekeeper reached space. Each MK-21 held a nuclear weapon and was covered with a heat shield to protect it during re-entry into the atmosphere. 

The deployment module, or "bus," carried the MK-21s and housed the electronics that released the re-entry vehicles. When deployed from the bus, each weapon followed a separate ballistic path to its individual target. The U.S. eliminated Peacekeeper ICBMs as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II), and the last one was retired from alert in 2005.

Click here to return to the Missile Gallery.

 

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Related Fact Sheets
Boeing LGM-118A Peacekeeper
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