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A Few Questions about Missile Silos

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 02:31 PM
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I have a few questions about missile silos.

When a missile is launched from them does the rocket do damage to the silo?

How quickly can they be reloaded after firing a missile?

Are test firings of missiles ever conducted from them anymore?




posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by Hyperen
I have a few questions about missile silos.


How quickly can they be reloaded after firing a missile?



I'll add one. How does the missile get in in the first place? is it loaded or constructed inside the silo?

[edit on 26-6-2004 by minimi]



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by minimi
I'll add one. How does the missile get in i the first place? is it loaded or constructedinside the silo?


Great Point. Can't begin to imagine how they would load it. I guess it would have to be vertically but those things are huge.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 02:57 PM
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i'm using common sense for these answers (sorry best i can do)

Missile is loaded in (or it would be a single shot silo- total waste of money)
The missle would do minor internal 'burn' damage to the silo (nuclear missile silos are design to withstand a 'indirect' nuclear hit
I think it takes a while to 'reload them' because of the size of the missles

(they would be used in the event of nuclear war so the reloading and damage wouldn't matter as a enemy nuke would land on you before you could reload it)

hope that was helpful



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:25 PM
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Regarding damage and reuse:

I found a little information specific to the Peacekeeper missile at the Western States Legal Foundation website. The quote (below) indicates that silos were designed for reuse.

www.wslfweb.org...

"The Peacekeeper ICBM utilizes a "cold launching" method which utilizes a gas generator to eject the missile from the missile silo to a height of 20 to 30 meters, at which point the first stage solid propellant motor ignites. This method reduces damage to the silo on launch, facilitating the refurbishment and reuse of the silo."

The START treaty also defines a "rapid reload" as reloading an ICBM silo in less than 12 hours after a launch or removal action:

www.state.gov...

"Less than 12 hours" seems pretty quick turnaround if there is "refurbishment" involved. Maybe refurbishment is just wiping the soot off the walls...


E_T

posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:32 PM
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I think launch directly from silo burns all equipment there.

And there seems to have been other techniques like this:
fas.org...

And other technique is "cold-launch".

The Peacekeeper was the first (and only) U.S. "cold launched" ICBM. Instead of igniting the main engine immediately in the silo for lift off, a thermochemical gas generator creates pressure to eject the missile from its launch tube. The main engine ignites after it as left the launch tube and is 150 feet in the air. This was originall attractive for launching from mobile transporters, but it allows the rapid reloading a reuse of silos for multiple launches. Cold launch is used on all U.S. submarine missiles, and the Soviet SS-17, 18, 24, and 25.


nuclearweaponarchive.org...
www.designation-systems.net...


And missiles are placed to silos after they are build.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by Amiga_de_los_Gatos
The Peacekeeper ICBM utilizes a "cold launching" method which utilizes a gas generator to eject the missile from the missile silo to a height of 20 to 30 meters, at which point the first stage solid propellant motor ignites.


Wow. Must be some powerful gas if it can propel a 90 tonne missile that high. I know they use a gas generator for the Trident missiles so the missiles don't even touch the water when they are fired from underneath the surface.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by E_T
And there seems to have been other techniques like this:
fas.org...


What is happening in this picture?

Is that how it launches?

Or does it lift up so it can be reloaded?



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:51 PM
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Found some drawings and photos of the truck that carries the missile and loads it into the silo.

Drawing:
www.cr.nps.gov...

The transporter-erector photo:
www.cr.nps.gov...

Placing the missile in the silo:
www.cr.nps.gov...



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by Hyperen
I have a few questions about missile silos.

When a missile is launched from them does the rocket do damage to the silo?

How quickly can they be reloaded after firing a missile?

Are test firings of missiles ever conducted from them anymore?


1) The Peacekeeper - a cold launch ICBM destined for deactivation soon - does not do much damage to the silo. However, the much more common Minuteman ignites in the silo and litterally burns everything inside.

See the pictures here: www.geocities.com...

2) An operational minuteman silo is not reloadable. Peacekeepers could be - but it would take several days of continuous work . This point is pretty much moot - becuase if we are launching the missiles pretty soon an enemy nuke will probably be destroying the silo anyway.

3) Yes, the US conducts a Minuteman test about 4 times a year from Vandenberg AFB, CA. Peacekeepers are also tested - but that will soon stop with the missiles deactivation. The most recent Minuteman test launch was only a couple of days ago (June 23, at 1:32 AM Pacific time). For test launches they coat everything inside the silo with a thick layer of goo that burns off during launch and protects a lot of equipment. It still takes about a year to prepare each silo for another launch. SLBM tests are conducted off the coast of Patrick AFB, FL.

4) The missiles are lowered in via specially designed trucks (see link above). The act of putting the booster in the silo only takes an hour or two. And with upgrades and maintinance they are being removed and replaced fairly often (currently there is a major program in place to replace the propellant with a more "environmentally friendly" rocket fuel - which is less powerful BTW) - by fairly often I mean once every 10 years or less.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:56 PM
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do they use under ground storage of nukes near the silo so it can be transported and placed in the silo all underground?



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by Hyperen

Originally posted by E_T
And there seems to have been other techniques like this:
fas.org...


What is happening in this picture?

Is that how it launches?

Or does it lift up so it can be reloaded?


That picture was of a really old Titan I ICBM, which had to be lifted out of the silo prior to launch. It also used a cryogenic fuel - so hopefully you aren't in a hurry when you want to launch. Starting with the Titan II (storable liquid fuel) and continuing through our current solid propellant ICBM's the launch happens very quickly and from below ground.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
do they use under ground storage of nukes near the silo so it can be transported and placed in the silo all underground?


No. First, the Re-entry system (including warheads) is never transported with - or even close to - the missile.

One could also assume that the convoys that transport the weapons are very well protected.

Here are a couple of interesting links:
30th Space Wing (VAFB, CA) launch page - including videos of MMIII test launches: www.vandenberg.af.mil...
af.mil story about recent test launch: www.af.mil...



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 01:33 AM
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Well the convoys are not as protected as you would think. But, don't get me wrong they are pretty well off. The coolest team to be on in a convoy is the helicopter team, where if need be you would provide fire from the sky. One thing that sucks about convoys is most likely you're gonna get stuck in a Humvee, unless your're lucky enough to be the recon team. Anyone who has rode in an uparmored humvee knows the pain of them. Freezing in the winter and scalding in the summer, and there's always that one damn spring hittin you in your arse! Sorry I got off topic with the ranting. You're wrong though the RS/RV can be present while transporting a nuclear warhead. It called a CAT 1. Nuclear convoys suck! Have to wake up so early!
No, the extra missiles are not kept underground near the silo. They are kept in a very well guarded building on base. The Convoy goes there first and then out to the LF (launch facility) where the missile that was repaired is put back in the hole. Hope this helped.

[edit on 27-6-2004 by USAFSF]

[edit on 27-6-2004 by USAFSF]



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 02:13 AM
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I was driving from Colorado to Minnesota and while driving through Wyoming I passed a Nuclear convoy. Out in front of the convoy was a bunch of State Trooper Police cars. Behind them were a couple of Humvees followed by a Semi-truck where you could tell the trailer wasn't an ordinary trailer, followed by a couple of more Humvees. There was one helicopter that was sweeping around the convoy.

Its not like there was any heavy armor, and they don't make you keep your distance or anything. I guess it was pretty cool. Helped pass the time on my 13 hour drive.



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 09:59 AM
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Originally posted by USAFSF
Well the convoys are not as protected as you would think. But, don't get me wrong they are pretty well off. The coolest team to be on in a convoy is the helicopter team, where if need be you would provide fire from the sky. One thing that sucks about convoys is most likely you're gonna get stuck in a Humvee, unless your're lucky enough to be the recon team. Anyone who has rode in an uparmored humvee knows the pain of them. Freezing in the winter and scalding in the summer, and there's always that one damn spring hittin you in your arse! Sorry I got off topic with the ranting. You're wrong though the RS/RV can be present while transporting a nuclear warhead. It called a CAT 1. Nuclear convoys suck! Have to wake up so early!
No, the extra missiles are not kept underground near the silo. They are kept in a very well guarded building on base. The Convoy goes there first and then out to the LF (launch facility) where the missile that was repaired is put back in the hole. Hope this helped.

[edit on 27-6-2004 by USAFSF]

[edit on 27-6-2004 by USAFSF]


I am quite familiar with the guarding requirments for a Cat 1 Convoy. The response force with the convoy is intentionally minimalist to keep a low profile. If something ever does happen to the convoy the response wold be quite signifigant.



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 10:40 AM
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I'll add one. How does the missile get in in the first place? is it loaded or constructed inside the silo?

Im 99% sure it is constructed in it. As for Hyperen's questions:
1) What damage could it do? It's solid steel, or some type of really storng metal, the base of where the missle is launched from anyway.
2) Im pretty sure the missles get constructed insdie them not reloaded
3)I think the missles get test fired out of silos



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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No they get loaded in the pics above showed that also its a waste of money if its a one time use only. and greenkoolaid what more security do you want there were troopers 5-6 humvees cars and the truck and a helicopter they are not going to fight a war they are going across America how much resistance will they face what do you want them to have Abrams tanks and F-15 flying over head that's overkill.






West Point
Out

[edit on 27-6-2004 by WestPoint23]



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by Hyperen

Originally posted by minimi
I'll add one. How does the missile get in i the first place? is it loaded or constructedinside the silo?


Great Point. Can't begin to imagine how they would load it. I guess it would have to be vertically but those things are huge.


If I recall they are transported by rain and then lowered into the silo. The Russians move thier space vehicles to the pad horizontaly then lift them vertically onto the pad



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by AD5673



I'll add one. How does the missile get in in the first place? is it loaded or constructed inside the silo?

Im 99% sure it is constructed in it. As for Hyperen's questions:
1) What damage could it do? It's solid steel, or some type of really storng metal, the base of where the missle is launched from anyway.
2) Im pretty sure the missles get constructed insdie them not reloaded
3)I think the missles get test fired out of silos




I'm 100% sure they are put in the silo after constuction. The silo itslef contains many things that are vulnerable to heat. The launch tube itself would be reusable - but there is a bunch of electronics, etc. just outside of the tube that are destroyed during a launch.

Additionally, the launcher closure door (which weighs about 120 tons) is blown off by a set of blast actuators during normal launches. Not only must the blast actuators be replaced - but the door is literally thrown off the silo (normally several hundred feet) - and is normally damaged. Obviously even if it is not damaged putting a 120 ton door back is not easy.



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