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2nd Gen Ballistic Missiles

MINUTEMAN I The Minuteman was the first American intercontinental ballistic missile to use solid rather than liquid fuel. It possessed all the virtues of the Titan II, and its use of solid fuel gave it two additional advantages: greater simplicity and economy. The first Minuteman flight test missile was launched on 1 February 1961, and the first two flights of Minuteman missiles were turned over to the Strategic Air Command on 11 December 1962. By the end of 1965, Minuteman missiles had been deployed at four bases in the north central United States, and the older, less efficient, and less economical Atlas and Titan I missiles had been retired from the active inventory. MINUTEMAN II AND III Just as the Atlas and the Titan I had been replaced by the Titan II and the Minuteman, the original Minuteman was itself replaced by the more advanced Minuteman II and Minuteman III. The Minuteman II incorporated a new, larger second stage, improved guidance, greater range and payload capacity, and greater resistance to the effects of nuclear blasts. The Minuteman III, for its part, possessed an improved third stage, employed more penetration aids to counter anti-ballistic missile defense systems, and was equipped with up to three independently targetable warheads. By the end of 1975, 450 Minuteman IIs and 550 Minuteman IIIs were in place and ready for operation at six bases in the north central United States. (USAF photo)

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