Pima County

Titan II Missile [571-7]


The Titan II Missile is more than meets the eye. By looking at the site back in the 1960's you would not have known all that was underground. 571-7, this Titan II Missile consumes 8 layers underground and hidden behind 3 ton blast doors and 8 foot thick concrete walls. The Titan II Missile Facility was designed as a retaliation launch silo. What does this mean? This means that the missile was designed to withstand a nuclear near miss, or a nuclear attack nearby.  The United States at this time used peace through deterrence. The Soviet Union new that if they attacked us, we would attack them, or mutual annihilation. 571-7 was one of 54 Titan II missile silo's around the country. 18 lie around McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas, 18 around Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, and 18 around Davis Mothan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. The Titan II Missile that lays in the silo in Sahuarita, AZ is considered harmless compared to the fuel oxidizer that would be used to launch it.

The Titan II missile is a unique, the actual missile was never used as a warhead thus fuel was never injected into it because it was for training. However, the one that did sit in there before the demolition of all silo's was just as dangerous as the ones in Arkansas and Kansas. This silo was activated in 1963 and decommissioned when in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan announced his policy for decommissioning the Titan II Missiles. As others were destroyed, this one escaped demolition and was adopted by the Arizona Aerospace Foundation and added in 1994 as a National Historic Place.

     The Titan II is known as the largest operational land based nuclear missile ever used by the United States. The missile had a W53 Nuclear Warhead which yielded about 9 megatons. To put 9 megaton's into perspective for you, this warhead is the most powerful US Nuclear Warhead about 410 times more explosive than the bomb at Nagasaki.

     Perhaps the silo's most heightened state of alert was on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was shot. With this news the key's used to launch were ordered to be placed on the tables near the launch consoles and wait until further instruction. Since the Pentagon later figured out the Soviet Union did not commit the crime, the missiles were never launched. If the Missile would have ever been launched, it would have been to one of three pre-programmed targets. Launching the Titan II  and even maintaining it involved a complicated series of tasks. When crews first arrived on duty, they conducted a thorough search of the facility. Also, lot's of paper work needed to be filled out and logs kept. Since, there is only one silo left, there is only one place to witness the amazing procedures the crews underwent. The Titan II Missile Museum is really an amazing place to relive history and learn a lot as you simulate a Titan II missile launch. For more information on tours, please visit, www.titanmissilemuseum.org.



"Titan II Missile Museum." Wikipedia. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Missile_Museum>.