Missile launch facility
Under a missile is meant an underground launcher rockets for military, especially nuclear ICBMs. Purpose of a silo is to allow rapid firing of the missile and to protect against external influences, including an enemy's attack with nuclear weapons. As a measure of the curing of a silo against external explosion, the unit is psi in the United States - used ( pound -force per square inch pounds per square inch). This number indicates to which pressure a rocket is protected in the silo.
In the Cold War, the development of missile silos in the late 1950s began both in the U.S. and in Great Britain and the Soviet Union. The first suitable for silos missiles of the United States were so-called silo -lift variants of the Atlas F and Titan I ICBMs. In this variant, the rocket is mounted vertically on a large hydraulic lifting system. After a start command the rocket is fueled in the silo, the cover opens, the rocket is lifted to the surface and started from there. These silos were hardened pressure up to 100 psi.
Parallel began the development of the Titan II missile silos, which should enable start directly from the silo. The U.S. intervened in this case back to British developments under the set - Blue Streak intermediate range missiles program. The first successful launch of a rocket from a silo on May 3, 1961 by the Silo Launch Test Facility at Vandenberg AFB in the U.S. with a modified Titan I. This generation of missile silos were designed for a hot start, ie the engines ignite in silo, and the exhaust gas stream is deflected at the bottom of the silo by a flame deflector into one or two exhaust slots. Titan II missiles were deployed since 1963 in such silos. The Titan II silos were hardened pressure up to 300 psi. Both the first silo -lift versions as well as the silos for the Titan II had in common that the launch control center was connected directly to the silo (in the case of the Titan I even 3 silos) and guard duty teams had contact with "their" rockets daily. The first Soviet missiles in missile silos were the R- 12U - 14U - R and medium-range missiles, followed by the R- 16U and R -9 ICBMs in the mid- 1960s.
As of 1964, the U.S. stationed its compact Minuteman missile. Like the Titan II was deployed in silos for the hot in- silo launch, by the smaller size but this could be hardened to 1,000 psi pressure. Unlike the previous missile complexes, the Minuteman silos were no longer directly connected to a start control center. In the Minuteman a central starting center controlled ten silos around each other at a distance of several kilometers.
The third type of silo was introduced by the Soviet Union in the 1970s for the MR UR -100 and R -36M and is based on the starting system of rockets on a submerged submarine. The rocket is installed in a start canister which in turn is inserted into a silo. At the start of the rocket is fired from the silo by means of a cold gas system and the rocket engines ignite only after leaving the silos. This has the advantage that one can construct the silos easier because you have no exhaust gases derived from the silo. Furthermore, existing silos of older missiles could easily make available for the new systems and it was a relatively quick reloading of the silo allows. The U.S. introduced this system for the Peacekeeper missile in 1988. This starting system is also used for the imported from the 1970s mobile missile systems of the Soviet Union, only that the launch canister not hooked with the rocket in a silo, but is mounted on a vehicle.
In addition to medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Soviet Union and the United States also stationed interceptor missiles and rockets for emergency communications in silos. Thus, the Ground Based Interceptor Missile Defense in the National Alaska stationed in silos. Russia is also satellite launches from silos by using the Dnepr rocket, based on the R -36M.