As we continue to mark the Boeing-built Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)’s half century on continuous alert, join us in counting down some incredible figures, statistics and milestones of the nation’s land-based strategic deterrent, according to U.S. Air Force and Boeing information.
In t-minus 3… 2… 1…
- 26,297,280 – The number of minutes the Minuteman III had spent on alert as of Aug. 19, 2020 – 50 years from the exact date the weapon system began its watch – per the Air Force Global Strike Command.
- 79,432 – The weight in pounds of the ICBM – more than three times the maximum load of an H-47 Chinook.
- 15,000 – The top speed of a Minuteman III in miles per hour – faster than a seismic wave and more than 12 times faster than the top-end speed of an F/A-18 Super Hornet.
- > 6,000 – The ICBM’s maximum range in miles – farther than a roundtrip journey from New York City to San Francisco and roughly one and a half times the maximum range of a 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
- 700 – The approximate ceiling in miles of a Minuteman III in flight – around two and a half times higher than the maximum orbit range for the International Space Station.
- 400 – The number of ICBMs strategically located in underground siloes across the Midwest.
- 234 – The number of routine Minuteman III test launches since August 1970 – an average of more than four and a half test launches per year.
- > 99 – The “on alert” percentage of ICBMs in the arsenal at any given moment. This overwhelming, around-the-clock deterrence frees up critical resources and forces to focus on other missions around the world.
- 60 – The number of seconds it takes for a Minuteman III to launch from a silo after ignition – an apt amount of time given the American Revolutionary War militiamen it was named after that were famous for being ready in a minute’s notice.
- 24 – The number of hours each day Air Force launch crews remain on alert inside launch control centers. The Minuteman III never punches out it’s always on the clock.
- 10 – The original planned service life in years of the Minuteman III. The enduring strategic deterrent is currently slated to remain in service until the mid-2030s – more than six times that amount of time.
- 6.2 – The number of feet longer the Minuteman III was than the original Minuteman I.
- 3 – The Minuteman III was the first U.S. ICBM designed to feature the capability to carry and allow for independent targeting for up to three warheads.
- 2.3 – The number of feet longer the Minuteman III was than its predecessor, the Minuteman II.
- 1 – Boeing is the only company that has continuously supported every ICBM subsystem – ground, guidance, propulsion and re-entry – over the lifetime of the Minuteman III.
Click here to learn more about the Minuteman III and Boeing’s broader portfolio of strategic deterrence systems.