USAF removes last of 50 Minuteman III ICBMS and meets NST requirements


The US Air Force (USAF) has removed the last of 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from the final launch facility located in the F E Warren Air Force Base missile complex, Wyoming, US.

As part of the New START Treaty (NST) agreement signed with Russia in 2010, the US is reducing its nuclear arsenal across the airforce and the navy.

The US and Russia must meet the treaty’s central limits on strategic arms by 5 February next year, the US Department of State stated.

To meet NST requirements, the US military must deploy 400 ICBMs, 60 bombers and 240 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

To date, a total of 50 deployed ICBMs have been removed from the three missile complexes in the US states Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

Air Force Global Strike Command senior arms control analyst Ken Vantiger said: “This last pull completes all of the Air Force initiatives.

"We finished six major NST force structure initiatives in a six-year period at a cost of $52m."

“We finished six major NST force structure initiatives in a six-year period at a cost of $52m. This was $30m under budget and ahead of schedule from what was initially programmed.”

The treaty also restricts the US to have 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

The US must also have only 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

Each empty launch facility remains connected to the ICBM network and fully operational.  All maintenance and security requirements will be performed on these 50 empty sites, the USAF stated.


Image: The USAF met their NST requirements when the 50th Minuteman III ICBM was removed from a silo in the 90th MW missile complex. Photo: courtesy of the USAF, photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter.