What is Minuteman III?

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What is Minuteman III? Blog Image


The US recently conducted an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test from the Californian Vandenberg Space Force Base.

About Minuteman III:

  • The LGM-30G Minuteman III is a solid-fueled, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the United States Air Force (USAF) first deployed in the 1960s.
  • It is the sole land-based component of the U.S. nuclear triad.
  • It was designed and manufactured by the Boeing Corporation
  • Originally, it was only supposed to be kept in service for about ten years, but instead, it has been modernized as its replacement, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), is due to become available for use in 2029.
  • It was the first U.S. missile fittedwith multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).
  • The United States currently has an estimated 440 Minuteman III missiles in its arsenal.
  • Features:
    • It is a three-stage, solid-fuel missile.
    • The missile is 18.2 m long with a diameter of 1.85 m and a launch weight of 34,467 kg.
    • It has a maximum range of 13,000 km and is capable of carrying a payload of three reentry vehicles.
  • It now carries a single nuclear warhead pursuant to arms control agreements between the United States and Russia. 
    • It has a fast launch time, nearly 100 percent testing reliability, and backup airborne launch controllers to preserve retaliatory capabilities.

Q1: What are Ballistic Missiles?

A ballistic missile is a rocket-propelled, self-guided strategic-weapons system that follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver a payload from its launch site to a predetermined target. They are powered initially by a rocket or series of rockets in stages, but then follow an unpowered trajectory that arches upwards before descending to reach its intended target. They can carry conventional high explosives as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions. They can be launched from aircraft, ships, and submarines, in addition to land-based silos and mobile platforms.

Source: On Cam: Nuclear-capable Minuteman III ICBM Lights Up U.S. Skies Amid Tensions With Russia