THE MISSILE SILO REMAINS AN IMPORTANT PART OF NATIONAL DEFENSE
By Buddy Blouin
The Cold War was a wild era that placed heavy importance on missile silos across the U.S. with the idea of an all-out nuclear war. So far, as a species, we’ve done an okay job at avoiding this notion, but the issues still remain. Long before tensions began to rise again following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the missile silo remained an intricate part of our nation’s nuclear defense. There are many different ways to launch a nuke, or any long-range missile for that matter, and the missile launch facilities we have around the United States continue to be an important part in stopping and launching such weapons. Learn more about these sites while we all hope they never need to be used.
How Many Missile Silos Are in the U.S.?Estimates put the total number of active missile silos in the U.S. at around 270. If you are on one of three military bases in the country, you can find one of these three fields filled with a silo missile or two, ready to help defend America. Here is an overview of the three military bases that still play an active role in nuclear defense.
F.E. Warren Air Force BaseFounded in 1867, F.E. Warren Air Force Base is the oldest Air Force base in continuous use. Found in Cheyenne, Wyoming, its proximity to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Peterson SFB, and Schriever SFB, among others, makes it the perfect place to have a nuclear silo ready to defend.
Malmstrom Air Force BaseEast of Great Falls, Montana, lies Malmstrom Air Force Base, yet another unassuming location perfect for holding a missile launch facility. There are around 4,000 people working at the facility, both military and civilian, as well as thousands more Veterans who call the region home. Since 1939 during WWII, this military institution has continued to serve by protecting Americans worldwide.
Minot Air Force BaseCloser to Canada than most of the rest of America, Minot Air Force Base is an installation towards the north portion of North Dakota. Built between 1956 and 1957, Minot AFB is the place you'll find an underground missile silo used as part of America’s Nuclear Triad.
Where Are the Minuteman 3 Missiles Located?The three previously listed military installations are where you’ll find Minuteman III (LGM-30) missiles. Held in a nuke silo, these ballistic missiles can detonate both in the air or by contact with… well, pretty much anything that gets in their way. Throughout the Great Plains, the missile silos found in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana account for the Minuteman III missiles still in use. In total, there are around 400 that are operational across the three sites.
How Many Missile Silos Does Russia Have?When it comes to the Russians and their nukes, it’s estimated that Russian forces have at least 357 missile silos. Each missile silo can be found in one of the six fields used by Russia, which are as follows: Aleysk, Dombarovskiy, Kartaly, Kozel'sk, Tatishchevo, and Uzhur. In total, these represent around 80% of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, as missile silos require much less manpower compared to other mobile options or submarine warheads.
Buy Your Own Missile SiloJust as some choose to own a decommissioned missile bunker, for the right price, you can purchase your own missile silo. These unique pieces of American real estate don’t come with missiles, but they can make for a great collection of history and a one-of-a-kind housing structure. Check out the sites for sale throughout the U.S. if owning a missile silo has always been a dream of yours. For the rest of us, we’ll have to be content with these defense measures staying out of sight and, hopefully, out of mind for the foreseeable future.
f.e. warren afb
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