Sunday, January 8, 2012

Titan II Missle Silo 12/26/2011

The concrete doors on top of the silo

My final day in Arizona I visited the last remaining Titan II Missile Silo in the United States. Developed in 1963, today the area is a historical museum chronicling the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Titan Museum is located twenty minutes south of Tucson, Arizona, in Sahuarita, Arizona. Tours start at 9 am and end at 4 pm. They cost $9.50 and are one hour long. Each tour is led by a docent who is very knowledgeable on the development of the Titan II Missle and the Cold War. Special tours including "Beyond the Blast Doors" are avaliable infrequently. Inquire at the museum. I recommend visiting the museum to understand our nation's history.

History: The Titan II missle or Intercontinental Ballistic Missle (ICBM) was developed in 1963 by the Air Force to supplant the Titan I missle. The Titan II was the first liquid propellent missle. It was always at the ready and could reach a target anywhere in the world within 30 minutes. It was propelled by two rocket engines with a nuclear warhead at the tip. Starting in 1963 three sites in the United States had Titans: Wichita, Kansas, Damascus, Arkansas, and Tucson, Arizona. Each location had 18 silos.

The missles were ment to check the spread of communism from the Soviet Union and also to deter the Soviet Union from launching their SS-9 (ICBMs) at the United States and starting a nuclear war. The concept became known as MAD or Mutual Assured Destruction. If the Soviets ever fired ICBMs at us we had the ability to fire our Titans and destroy their country. This deterrence worked and a nuclear war between the two countries never occured. The Titans were decommissioned in 1987 after two accidents at silos in Kansas and Arkansas and a nuclear arms reduction treaty with the Soviets. As a result of the treaty, all silo sites except for this one in Sahurita, Arizona, were destroyed. (Information from,, and

Picture showing the mechanism to open the silo doors. Under the SALT treaty with the Soviets the doors were left open halfway.

Rocket engines which propelled the missle
In the event of nuclear war the silo had three antennas one of which popped up from underground

Backup communication antennas
Security blast doors

Suits used when workers were near the fuel of the missle which was poisonous

The corridor between the command center and silo itself

Control center. Panel in front shows simulated launch

Butterfly Valve Lock. Ment to insure against accidental launch

Another pic inside control room

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