Last Minuteman III Missile Silo Destroyed

Arms Control Today, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Last Minuteman III Missile Silo Destroyed


On August 24, the United States destroyed its last Minuteman III missile silo slated for dismantlement under START I. Demolition of the silo, located at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, takes Washington one step closer to meeting an upcoming treaty implementation deadline.

The START I accord requires the United States and Russia to deploy no more than 6,000 nuclear warheads on 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles by December 5. To help meet this deadline, the United States began destroying 150 Minuteman III silos in October 1999. It plans to retain 501 of these missiles, according to an administration official.

Washington intends to make other significant nuclear force reductions over the next few months to meet its START commitments, the official said. These include destroying one decommissioned Poseidon submarine and 15 B-52 bombers configured to carry air-launched cruise missiles. Washington will also reduce the number of warheads on each of its 192 Trident I missiles from eight to six and the number of warheads on 150 of its remaining Minuteman III missiles from three to one. …

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