Differences between A and B models

For general discussion with your fellow Minuteman I crewdogs, maintainers and cops. Formerly Based at Ellsworth AFB, SD, Malmstrom AFB, MT, Minot AFB, ND, Whiteman AFB, MO, F. E Warren AFB, WY. On alert frm 22 Oct 1962 to 27 Sep 1974. Share your stories and meet up with an old friend.

Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby SAC Killer on Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:28 am

Tim wrote:I seem to recall the 94% figure while working in the Codes Division at Grand Forks. Of course the percentage could and would vary on a annual basis based upon numerous reasons. I believe that the alert rate for the bombers was in the low to mid 40%, I could be wrong on this. In MM II and IIIs no DCM worth his salt would stand idle for any sortie to be off alert....always chasing green time! At the Forks, I would get phone calls in the dead of night from job control asking for LFLC kits to be generated. Spent alot of three in the morning sessions in the CIV vault.

Tim, 490th SMS, Malmstrom, 1981-1985


What SAC never seemed to understand was that the system reliability, whatever it was, depends on the design and not on the maintenance. You cannot repair a system to higher levels of reliability than the design can achieve. With more maintenance you can get higher (or lower) availability, which is not the same thing. When I was in maintenance, time after time we got whacked by evaluators who claimed "the wing is still not maintaining the system properly." In fact we were; but the system was performing as designed regardless of our efforts.
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Capt. Bill on Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:43 am

SAC Killer wrote:Don't know about either the WS-133A or the LGM-30A or B, in terms of MMI. Maybe they added the LF motor-generator later. My earliest experience was the WS-133A-M with LGM-30F at Malmstrom. That system had Mo-Gens in the LCCs and the LFs.

It is also quite possible that the LGM-30A & B MGS design was more prone to failure. I got a look at one once. A lot of wired circuitry, because the printed circuit card was still in the future! It took up a lot of space, far more than the later designs. All those soldered joints were likely less reliable than the later MGS configurations, which used printed circuits.


My MM I LGM-30B - 1 shows that the LFs had a motor-generator. Of course the LCCs had them also. I heard years ago when I was building Heathkits that electronic failure rates were based on the number of solder joints. Back then most were hand soldered.
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Scruge on Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:02 pm

SAC Killer wrote: A lot of wired circuitry, because the printed circuit card was still in the future! It took up a lot of space, far more than the later designs. All those soldered joints were likely less reliable than the later MGS configurations, which used printed circuits.

Mil handbook 217 page 16-1 reflects improvements with printed circuits. However as printed circuits shrink in geometry and lead (Pb) is removed, a new failure mode arises, tin (Sn) migration. For system designers its a never ending battle with mother nature's regenerative ways. 8)
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Weapons Loader on Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:17 pm

From 00:55 to 1:22 there's decent footage of Minuteman I crews going through launch procedures. I find it interesting the Launch Control Panel doesn't have tamper detection indicators taped over its clear plastic door, the first crew has their launch keys around their neck, and the early-style chairs in the second crew's LCC. It's also unusual that the second "DMCCC" is wearing fatigues and a blue hardhat. Probably just stock footage of a maintainer at work spliced-in to represent a second LCC crew in launch procedures. Then again, the guy doesn't have stripes on his sleeves.

I also remember seeing a completely different black and white Air Force newsreel of a Minuteman I crew where the MCCC would call out "LF2!" or "Missile 2!" and the DMCCC would flip up the Enable switch, with its resulting "buzz" sound and he'd reply, "Armed!" and they did this for all ten missiles, and turned keys.

Its cool to see images of a brand-spanking-new LCC or MPT.

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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Capt. Bill on Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:13 am

Weapons Loader wrote:From 00:55 to 1:22 there's decent footage of Minuteman I crews going through launch procedures. I find it interesting the Launch Control Panel doesn't have tamper detection indicators taped over its clear plastic door, the first crew has their launch keys around their neck, and the early-style chairs in the second crew's LCC. It's also unusual that the second "DMCCC" is wearing fatigues and a blue hardhat. Probably just stock footage of a maintainer at work spliced-in to represent a second LCC crew in launch procedures. Then again, the guy doesn't have stripes on his sleeves.

I also remember seeing a completely different black and white Air Force newsreel of a Minuteman I crew where the MCCC would call out "LF2!" or "Missile 2!" and the DMCCC would flip up the Enable switch, with its resulting "buzz" sound and he'd reply, "Armed!" and they did this for all ten missiles, and turned keys.

Its cool to see images of a brand-spanking-new LCC or MPT.

Pulsing Heart of SAC Part Three
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEj8YHsiTG0

Sometime prior to 1969 the keys were moved to the red safe with the SAS. The second crew in that video is odd. In Minutman I the deputy would arm each LF at the direction of the commander as outlined in Command Time Launch Summary.

You might find this interesting. A CBS documentary made in 1979. The crew scenes were filmed at Minot in Oscar 1, it is Minuteman MOD post Command Data Buffer. The yellow scarf crew is an Instructor crew and the orange scarf crew is Standboard. The crew scenes were used in the 1983 movie "The Day After"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlPEBROvR9w
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MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
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GT 07,08,09GM - Nov 1971 (key turned all three)
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby tkchris on Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:01 pm

Just to clear up some ramblings in this thread over the last year.

The 1st stage Thiokol M55 is the same on A, B, F and G. Although the propulsion program in the late 90's repacked the M55s and they took on a new M55A/TX-55/Tu-122 naming.

The LGM-30A 2nd stage Aerojet-General M56 was the limiting factor in the range. The first 142 sorties put in at Malmstrom were 'A' variety. The M56 on these birds used a steel casing which is not quite twice as heavy as titanium used on the LGM-30B M56A-1. It is possible the titanium also took less volume for given structural strength and they got a little more fuel pressed in for a slightly longer burn-time. Somewhere I saw a 59 seconds burn for the A and a 60 second burn for the B. So the weight of the steel casing was a factor, but something about the swivel port engines had problems in Aerojet's version of the steel case. Not sure what the interaction was. But the solution of the swivel engines was incorporated on the titanium casing. To offset weight, the Mk.5 was used up on top. Information is scarce about warhead/RV usage, but it appears the 'B' sorties at Malmstrom also used the Mk.5.

The 3rd stage was a Hercules M57A-1 which used a glass filament wound casing from the start.

MGS was NS-10 using the D17B on both A and B from what I can find. So I'm not sure why the A was single target and the B was dual target. ?Software?

The last 8 sorties into the 490 SMS were 'B's. Anyone know which LF's these went into?

. . . . .

ALCS... was not available until late 1967 and went in as part of the MM-Mod when when the schedules aligned, but also went in as a separate program. Somebody was always working on one program or the other... much of it blended as MM-Mod, but ALCS was technically a separate program. Thus, ALCS was not present with LGM-30A or B, only F & G.

. . . . .

Did the 'A' birds last at Malmstrom until MM-Mod and the upgrade to 'F'? There are mixed tales. The most definitive and believable compilation from the USAF Ballistic Missile Programs history shows that the 'A's were in place through 1966 at Malmstrom. It is very possible that a few birds here and there at Malmstrom were changed out with 'B's during that time. But the USAF's own history accounts the 'A's being in place up until the MM-Mod at Malmstrom in 1969.

. . . . .

I'd love to see someones definitive chronology of weapon system upgrades. It is rather confusing... did everyone go through Mod, SSAS, and then only Wing 1 & 4 go to ILCS while Wing 3 & 5 went directly to CDB leaving Wing 1 in the SSAS dust? What was the reasoning for screwing Ellsworth?
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Capt. Bill on Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:23 pm

tkchris wrote:
ALCS... was not available until late 1967 and went in as part of the MM-Mod when when the schedules aligned, but also went in as a separate program. Somebody was always working on one program or the other... much of it blended as MM-Mod, but ALCS was technically a separate program. Thus, ALCS was not present with LGM-30A or B, only F & G.



My TO LGM-30B-1 from Minot references ALCC as part of the UHFR addition. As I remember we had ALCC capability at Minot when I got there in 1969 for the B misslile. My -1 TO has a procedure for ALCC radio marked as after UHFR.
MM I, DMCCC 741st, 742nd SMS Oct 69 - Oct 71 3 HQs and a Select Crew rating
MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
MM III MCCC, 742nd SMS Feb 72 - Aug 72
GT 07,08,09GM - Nov 1971 (key turned all three)
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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby hockey85 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:56 pm

tkchris wrote:I'd love to see someones definitive chronology of weapon system upgrades. It is rather confusing... did everyone go through Mod, SSAS, and then only Wing 1 & 4 go to ILCS while Wing 3 & 5 went directly to CDB leaving Wing 1 in the SSAS dust? What was the reasoning for screwing Ellsworth?


This topic topic has good info about ILCS vs SSAS: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=549

It seems the reason why Ellsworth didn't upgrade from SSAS was because it was being "reserved" for possible deactivation in possible future Arms Control Agreements, thus it wasn't upgraded to save money.

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Re: Differences between A and B models

Postby Capt. Bill on Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:16 am

What did the wings have in 1969 when I started at Minot?

I know wings III and V had Minuteman I with the B missile, same -1 TO

I assume wing II had Minuteman with the B missile also but it was not in my Mintueman I TO which was wing III and V only

Wing VI was Deuce with the F missile as was one squadron at Wing I

I assume that the other 3 squadrons at wing I and wing IV were MOD with the F missile.
MM I, DMCCC 741st, 742nd SMS Oct 69 - Oct 71 3 HQs and a Select Crew rating
MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
MM III MCCC, 742nd SMS Feb 72 - Aug 72
GT 07,08,09GM - Nov 1971 (key turned all three)
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