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Defense Department Prepares To Deploy Intercontinental Missiles

Mar. 23, 1963 - Without fanfare, in fact with as much secrecy as possible, the Defense Department is preparing to deploy at U.S. bases 54 intercontinental missiles of the “doomsday” variety. Many experts think civilization would not survive if they were ever used against Russia. In terms of megatonnage — millions of tons of TNT equivalent — the missiles may pack only a fourth as much power as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s vaunted 100-megaton bomb. But experts said today that that is beside the point. Either the American or the Soviet weapon could level the largest of cities and spew clouds of lethal radioactivity over thousands of square miles. Experts think two of the U.S. missiles would probably do more damage than one 100-megatonner. The missile is the Titan II. It is a more ample and much more efficient version of the Titan I. In addition to its much greater power, the 102-foot-high, 2-stage Titan II has a military advantage over the smaller Titan I in that it can be fired instantly. The fuel is still liquid, but it is “storable.” This means the missiles can be kept fueled at all times.


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