LGM-25C Titan II Missile

filed under | military | space


The Titan II was an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and space launcher developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company from the earlier Titan I missile. Titan II was originally used as an ICBM. It was later used as a medium-lift space launch vehicle to carry payloads for the Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These payloads include the USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), the NOAA weather satellites, and NASA's Gemini manned space capsules. The modified Titan II SLVs were launched from Vandenberg AFB, California up until 2003. The Titan II ICBM was the successor to the Titan I, and carried a payload twice as heavy. It also used storable propellants, which reduced the time to launch and permitted it to be launched from its silo. Titan II carried the largest single warhead of any American ICBM. The missile consists of a two-stage, rocket engine powered vehicle and a Re-entry vehicle (RV). Provisions are included for in-flight separation of Stage II from Stage I, and separation of the RV from Stage II. Stage I and Stage II vehicles each contain propellant and pressurization, rocket engine, hydraulic and electrical systems, and explosive components. In addition, Stage II contains the flight control system and missile guidance set. The Titan II also used storable propellants, Aerozine 50 and dinitrogen tetroxide. The Titan I, whose liquid oxygen oxidizer must be loaded immediately before launching, had to be raised from its silo and fueled before launch. The use of storable propellants enabled the Titan II to be launched within 60 seconds directly from within its silo. Their hypergolic nature made them dangerous to handle; a leak could lead to explosions, and the fuel was highly toxic. It is a common misconception that the Titan IIs were decommissioned because of a weapons reduction treaty, but in fact were simply aging victims of a weapons modernization program. Because of the volatility of the liquid fuel, and the problem with aging seals, the Titan II missiles had been scheduled to be retired beginning in 1971. After two accidents, deactivation of the Titan II ICBM system finally began in July 1982. The last Titan II missile, located at Silo 373-8 near Judsonia, Arkansas, was deactivated on May 5, 1987. The deactivated missiles are now in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. A single Titan II complex escaped destruction after decommissioning and and is open to the public as the Titan Missile Museum at Sahuarita, Arizona. The missile resting in the silo is a real Titan II, but was a training missile and never contained fuel, oxidizer or a warhead. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

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