The Minuteman was - and still is today - a technological wonder. The first solid fuelled ICBM the U.S. Air Force ever made operational, the Minuteman could stand dormant and unmanned for days, weeks, months and now decades on end, with limited maintenance and upkeep.
Remotely controlled from underground launch control center's miles away from the silos, it was a hair trigger launch repsonse. From the time keys were turned to execute a positive launch command, until the missile left the silo, only took about a minute.
The first Minuteman's were deployed in Montana at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 26, 1962. Over the next five years, 1,000 Minuteman's were placed across the central and northern Great Plains.
The Minuteman has gone through several upgrades over the years, increasing its distance, accuracy and efficiency. At present there are still 450 Minuteman III's operational on the Great Plains.
Did You Know?
South Dakota’s Minuteman Missile field covered 13,500 square miles. An area larger than the state of Maryland.