Fun With the Minuteman III Weapon System: Part 1
by Bad Bobby's Basement Bandits
Otherwise known as the 21M-LGM30G Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
Your typical Missile Wing consists of fifty Minuteman III ICBMs. Each missile is located on its own plot of ground, usually located on part of someone's farmland. There are many articles and videos of individuals exploring abandoned missile sites and missile bases. This article will explore having fun with an active missile site. This article is unclassified and for information purposes only.
Each missile is protected by an approximately eight foot barbed wire fence and hidden sensors. In general, the sensors are divided into two zones: the outer-zone and the inner-zone. When a sensor detects something, it sends an alarm to the Launch Control Center. The most frequent alarm is an outer-zone alarm. Many things cause an outer-zone alarm such as birds, rabbits, blizzards, wind, hail, etc.
Authorized individuals also set off the outer- and inner-zone sensors. However, authorized individuals will communicate with the various monitoring agencies (Flight Security Controller, Maintenance Control, etc.) by using various electronic communication devices (radios - VHF/UHF/whatever, on-site landline phones, etc.). The most common types of authorized individuals are Maintenance Teams.
The Launch Control Center is manned by two individuals called Missileers or Crewdogs or Missile Crew. One Missileer is known as the Commander and the other is known as the Deputy. As the Launch Control Center receives the sensor alarm for a particular missile, the Missile Crew notifies the Flight Security Controller (Main Attack Dog). The Flight Security Controller sends out a couple of attack dogs (otherwise known as the Alarm Response Team). The Alarm Response Team responds to the alarm situation at the Missile Site.
In my opinion, the Alarm Response Team responds to a lot of outer zone alarms... so much so that they tend to be lax in their response to outer-zone alarms. They usually respond slowly to see if an inner-zone alarm is tripped. If no inner-zone alarm, they ease out to the missile site. Depending upon road and weather conditions, it takes anywhere from five minutes to twenty minutes or so for the Alarm Response Team to "strike" the missile site.
If there are no other problems, the Alarm Response Team clears the outer zone alarm. After the Missile Crew conducts successful tests on the missile site, they release the Alarm Response Team to return.
As a Missileer, I was sent out to Missile Sites with Maintenance Teams for various reasons. I went out with a Maintenance Team and Police (Air Force, U.S. Marshal, etc.) to escort a Reentry Vehicle (RV) to a missile site. We were doing a Reentry Vehicle removal and replacement. The Reentry Vehicle contains the thermonuclear warheads. I rode out as the Convoy Commander. It was wintertime, and everyone was cold and miserable.
After a successful RV removal and replacement, the Maintenance Team started to secure the missile site. One final check involved testing the security system. The Maintenance Officer directed his crew to make some snowballs. After the Missile site security sensors reset, he directed his crew to throw snowballs at the outer- and inner-zone sensor areas. The various sensors detected the snowballs and were eventually reset. We returned to the main base.
Now for some real fun. Do not do this. In my opinion, there is not enough security personnel to respond to (nearly simultaneous) security alarms at all the missile sites in a certain area.
If a few individuals were to coordinate tossing objects into a missile site at about the same time and then immediately leave the missile site area, they could monitor the Alarm Response Teams (strike teams) arrival times using stopwatches. In winter, they might toss a couple of snowballs. Snowballs will break up and blend in with the rest of the snow. In summer, they might toss a couple of ice cubes. The ice cubes will melt due to the heat. Be sure to always aim for hitting only the corner areas of the missile site.
Warning: Never hit the launcher lid. The launcher lid is located in the center of the missile site and will cause an inner-zone alarm. The strike team will arrive very fast for an inner-zone alarm.
Warning: Do not attempt to talk or interact with the strike team. You should be far enough away from the missile site to monitor the strike team's arrival, but not so close that they would report you as a possible suspect.
The idea is to toss items at the sensor areas that will not leave evidence (disappear) and will not damage equipment. With a little coordination, someone could have the strike teams running around the missile field all night.
The real exploit is draining missile resources and gaining a general understanding of how the security system of an active missile site operates.
In closing, I have one final admonition: Do not do this!
Finally, remember to have fun!