Titan II missile silo
In September 1987, this Titan II missile silo at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas was just about to be deactivated with extreme prejudice. Its missile removed, the silo was filled with 7,500 pounds of explosives placed in holes drilled in the concrete.
The Titan II marked a step forward from the earlier ICBMs in that it could be launched from inside its silo in approximately 60 seconds, in part because of the use of "hypergolic" liquid fuels that could be stored at room temperature in the missile and that ignited on contact with each other. (By contrast, the Titan I had to be raised to the surface in a launch procedure that took more than 15 minutes; for fuel, it used a combination of super-chilled liquid oxygen oxidizer and RP-1 kerosene fuel.) The Titan II also did not need to be controlled by computers on the ground, since it carried an advanced "all-inertial" guidance system.
October 19, 2009 11:00 AM PDT
Photo by: TSgt. Mark Clagg/U.S. Department of Defense
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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