Dec. 11, 1962 - The Minuteman intercontinental missile (pictured) was declared operational today. In a ceremony at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont., the Air Force revealed that 20 of the slender 54-foot rockets were in place in underground silos in central Montana. Each is aimed at a specific target and ready for firing on a moment’s notice. Ten of the missiles were ready for combat during the Cuban crisis. The ceremony was attended by high-ranking military men, political officials, and representatives of the industries that put the Minuteman together. The three-stage Minuteman, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to targets 6,300 miles away, is the nation’s first solid-fuel missile. The Minuteman marks a departure from the liquid-fuel missiles such as the Atlas and Titan in its fast reaction and high degree of reliability. It costs far less to produce, maintain, and operate.
top of page
bottom of page