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LGM-118 Peacekeeper

Intercontinental ballistic missile

Peacekeeper missile

The Peacekeeper was the most capable US land-based intercontinental ballistic missile

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1986
Basing Silo-based
Missile
Missile length 21.8 m
Missile diameter 2.3 m
Missile launch weight 88.45 t
Number of MIRVs 10
Warhead yield 300 kT
Range of fire 14 000 km
CEP 40 m

 

   A 1970′s nuclear deterrent, the LGM-118 Peacekeeper was a land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that could carry up to 12 re-entry vehicles (RVs). The Program was usually called Missile Experimental, or MX Missile. Development of the new US ICBM began in 1971. The missile was first tested in 1983. Initially there were plans to build and deploy 100 of these missiles, however eventually only 50 entered service due to budgetary concerns. Deployment of the Peacekeeper began in 1986. The program suffered massive delays and cost overruns, and the missiles themselves were hard to maintain and expensive to build. The MX programme had costed the US government over $25 billion.

   The Peacekeeper was a silo-based missile. There were also proposed other deployment concepts, including mobile launcher and railway cars, in order to increase its survivability. Another proposed deployment concept was a complex system of deeply buried silos that would quickly dig themselves out after an attack. Another proposed deployment concept was airborne drops from cargo aircraft.

   The Peacekeeper was designed to carry 12 RVs, armed with W78 335-350 kT thermonuclear warheads, plus decoys. Although the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed between the United States and Soviet Union in 1972 limited ICBMs to 10 RVs each. So instead each Peacekeeper carried 10 RVs, armed with a 300 kiloton W87 warheads. This missile could deliver a devastating blow to the Soviet mainland and could essentially win a nuclear war in one blow. The program was cancelled and restarted several times due to issues with housing the missiles.

   However in the late 1980s the United States and Soviet Union were already negotiating the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (or START II). Under this treaty all intercontinental ballistic missiles were allowed to carry only a single warhead each. This effectively nulified advantages of the Peacekeeper over a smaller and less expensive LGM-30G Minuteman III missile. Eventually United States agreed to remove Peacekeeper missiles form their inventory.

   The Peacekeeper missile had a range of 14 000 km and was pretty accurate. It was designed for precision nuclear strikes against Soviet missile silos and had a CEP of only 40 m.

   Even though United States withdrew from the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001 and Russia withdrew from the START II treaty in 2002, the Peacekeeper program was decommissioned in 2003. The last Peacekeeper missile was deactivated in 2005. With the retirement of the Peacekeeper, the Minuteman III has become the only US land-based ICBM in service, and remains an important member in the US nuclear trinity.

 

 
Peacekeeper missile

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Peacekeeper missile

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Peacekeeper missile

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Peacekeeper missile

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