First the Bombers, Now the Missile Silos

The Air Force has begun to eliminate 50 Minuteman III ICBM silos and five launch alert facilities associated with the now-inactive 564th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., according to a base release. The United States is getting rid of this infrastructure so that the silos no longer count as launchers for strategic nuclear warheads under the inventory limits imposed by the New START agreement with Russia. Bryan Construction of Colorado Springs, Colo., will eliminate the silos and alert facilities by filling them with earth and gravel, states Malmstrom’s Jan. 24 release. Estimates call for completing this work by early 2015. To help meet New START’s limits on warheads and launchers, the United States is eliminating a total of 103 silos and 10 missile alert facilities. In August, the Air Force began to demolish 50 inactivated Peacekeeper ICBM silos and five launch alert facilities at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. That demolition is scheduled for completion in December. The service is also eliminating three silos at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The Air Force last month completed cutting up the last of its retired B-52G bombers as part of the New START drawdown.