Original U.S. Cold War Air Force Combat Missile Crew LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM Collection

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind Set. The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2020, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States and represents the land leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, along with the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

Development of the Minuteman began in the mid-1950s when basic research indicated that a solid fuel rocket motor could stand ready to launch for long periods of time, in contrast to liquid-fueled rockets that required fueling before launch and so might be destroyed in a surprise attack. The missile was named for the Colonial Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War, who could be ready to fight on short notice.

The Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a deterrence weapon that could hit Soviet cities with a second strike and countervalue counterattack if the U.S. was attacked. However, the development of the United States Navy (USN) UGM-27 Polaris, which addressed the same role, allowed the Air Force to modify the Minuteman, boosting its accuracy enough to attack hardened military targets, including Soviet missile silos. The Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a host of upgrades to improve its accuracy and survivability in the face of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system the Soviets were known to be developing. In 1970, the Minuteman-III became the first deployed ICBM with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV): three smaller warheads that improved the missile's ability to strike targets defended by ABMs. They were initially armed with the W62 warhead with a yield of 170 kilotons.

By the 1970s, 1,000 Minutemen were deployed. This force has shrunk to 400 Minuteman-III missiles as of September 2017 deployed in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. Minuteman III will be progressively replaced by the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM from 2027 onwards to be built by Northrop Grumman.

This collection was obtained from a Minuteman Combat Missile Crew veteran who served in the early 1970s. The collection contains Minuteman parts, manuals, collectibles, a music record released by a Combat Missile Crew group called the Groobers, and so much more.

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