Titan II Guidance

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Titan II Guidance

Postby Penson on Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:29 pm

Somewhere, recently, I read a comparison of the guidance systems for Titan II and Minuteman. I was amazed to learn that Titan II's guidance set only provided 180 degrees of azimuth. In other words, it could only strike targets north of an east-west line through the silo. Can anyone confirm this AND point me to a reference? So far, I have been unable to locate where I read this. This is what I get for not writing things down immediately!

Thanks for any help.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby hockey85 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:09 am

I checked all the books I have about the Titan II and checked the Titan II TO I have and I didn't see anything in them. But, what you are asking sounds like it would be found in a specific manual pertaining to the Titan II guidance system. I know with Minuteman that there are seperate manuals containing all the specifics about either the NS-20 or NS-50 guidance systems, so I would think Titan II might have the same. Not sure what you all have in the archives though. Might want to try a targeting manual too.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby Penson on Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:38 pm

Thanks, Cory. I probably saw the reference somewhere in the archives while looking for something else, and it's importance didn't sink in at the time. We have precious little on guidance, but it has to be there somewhere.
I'll just keep digging!

This info is important in trying to address the contention by some that at least one Titan II was aimed at Cuba.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby hockey85 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:08 pm

Penson wrote:I was amazed to learn that Titan II's guidance set only provided 180 degrees of azimuth. In other words, it could only strike targets north of an east-west line through the silo.


Penson wrote:This info is important in trying to address the contention by some that at least one Titan II was aimed at Cuba.


hmm. I never thought about that. I guess the question about the Titan II guidance system is rather important concerning Cuba. One definetly would have been enough. I wouldn't be surprised if an exact reference concerning what Titan II targeted specifically is still classified. But if the 180 degree azimuth restriction is true, then that solves that mystery, unless you could trick the missile into thinking that South was North. I don't think the Titan II would have been capable of a Fractional Orbit Bombardment System (FOBS) like some versions of Soviet Missiles, so that rules that option out.

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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby D Preidis on Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:53 pm

hockey85 wrote: I don't think the Titan II would have been capable of a Fractional Orbit Bombardment System (FOBS) like some versions of Soviet Missiles, so that rules that option out.

Cory


Since the Titan II put Gemini into orbit I do not see why it could not have been programmed and the proper amount of fuel loaded to make it a FOBS.

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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby D Preidis on Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:00 pm

Penson wrote:Somewhere, recently, I read a comparison of the guidance systems for Titan II and Minuteman. I was amazed to learn that Titan II's guidance set only provided 180 degrees of azimuth. In other words, it could only strike targets north of an east-west line through the silo. Can anyone confirm this AND point me to a reference? So far, I have been unable to locate where I read this. This is what I get for not writing things down immediately!

Thanks for any help.

Was this reference for the AC Sparkplug system or USGS?

When I used to visit the USGS engineer's office at McConnell when they were installing the new system we talked about targeting and how the system was designed. I bugged them all the time trying to get inside technical information because I wanted to know as much as I could about the system.

It seemed to me that we could target anywhere in the world with USGS but since I never got to grill anyone with extensive knowledge of the AC system I could not tell you anything.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby Penson on Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:21 pm

Sorry to say I am not sure, but likely you are correct in thinking that USGS would go anywhere you pointed it. Now that I think about it, I may have been researching some info on the old AC Sparkplug system. Had a request from a guy with the museum at Wright Pat. I'll have to see if I can retrace my footsteps. Thanks for jogging my memory!
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby hockey85 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:50 pm

D Preidis wrote:Since the Titan II put Gemini into orbit I do not see why it could not have been programmed and the proper amount of fuel loaded to make it a FOBS.

Doug


Good point. I forgot about that.

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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby Penson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:19 pm

Assuming you launched to the north so as to hit Cuba arriving from the south (ascending node) you would need a system to de-orbit at the appropriate time. Titan II had no such system. So that rules out FOBS. Your only other option would be to launch toward the south.

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that all Gemini launches were to the north of east.

I found a lot of stuff on the AC Sparkplug system today, but azimuth specs so far.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby SAC Killer on Thu May 01, 2008 12:19 pm

Penson wrote: <snip> I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that all Gemini launches were to the north of east. <snip>


The Geminis were launched from the Cape with an inclination no higher than about 30 degrees south. I can't remember the exact limit but due to range safety considerations orbital launches cannot be done at zero inclination (i.e., parallel to the equator). And never with a northerly inclination.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby Penson on Thu May 01, 2008 5:40 pm

SAC Killer wrote: The Geminis were launched from the Cape with an inclination no higher than about 30 degrees south.


I stand corrected. That certainly suggests that you could aim at Cuba if you wanted to, unless the guidance set had been specifically modified for Gemini. That seems unlikely but is not out of the question.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby SAC Killer on Fri May 02, 2008 1:02 am

Please don't forget, for missiles without FOBS (which I guess is all of ours), there is also a minimum range. Not sure how that is calculated and likely differs for each ICBM.

I seem to recall in my very young days as a missileer, there was some discussion of FOBS and the basic conclusion was at the time, it did not have sufficient accuracy to hit interesting targets. It was possibly useful because it was essentially a stealthy ICMB launch, since observers theoretically would think it was a space launch. But who knows. That was now, and this is then. Old warriors like me can say what we think, but try to hide what we know. It is still a dangerous solar system out there.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby bedbug on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:32 am

Am I missing something hear.

Were their not some 40+ test launches down the pacific test range?
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby SAC Killer on Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:47 pm

D Preidis wrote:
hockey85 wrote: I don't think the Titan II would have been capable of a Fractional Orbit Bombardment System (FOBS) like some versions of Soviet Missiles, so that rules that option out.

Cory


Since the Titan II put Gemini into orbit I do not see why it could not have been programmed and the proper amount of fuel loaded to make it a FOBS.

Doug


Seems to me that there is a lot more to FOB-ing an RV than adding propellant and programming the INS. Because such a system would need some sort of an upper stage engine to very accuratly nudge the RV into the proper orbit, thrusters to orient it properly, and some sort of method of retro fire to de-orbit. Presumably you would fire retros, then re-orient the RV for re-entry, and then release it from the bus. So there is extra hardware required. And on top of that you are still dealing with the inherent accuracy limitation of that big subsonic RV. I doubt if such a system was ever built, and its existence was likely classified if it was.

Besides, it seems to me that using an ICBM of any size on Cuba would be a complete waste of a perfectly good weapon. Have you looked at it on Google Earth? A single napalm attack would take out their entire air force (which doesn't look airworthy anyway). Leave it for the air breathers.
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Re: Titan II Guidance

Postby bedbug on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:47 pm

A nuke launch was not like a space launch.

Were their any T-II on alert during the Cuba thing?

I would assume that Cubas big bro. would have gotten into it if nukes were used. it would have been left to the B-52.
Last edited by bedbug on Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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