The Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been on alert since 1962, serving as the most responsive element of the nation’s nuclear deterrence triad by remaining safe, secure and effective. Boeing has partnered with the U.S. Air Force to design, develop, produce, deploy and sustain the reliable Minuteman fleet since 1958, working as a team to successfully accomplish the mission of strategic deterrence.
Oct. 9, 1958 – The U.S. Air Force selected Boeing as the prime contractor and original equipment manufacturer for the Minuteman ICBM. Within a year, Boeing launched the first tethered Minuteman I mockup. Minuteman was the first ICBM to use solid rather than liquid propellant in its rocket motors, and it was smaller in size. Minuteman I could be launched more quickly than earlier ICBMs.
Oct. 24, 1962 - The first Minuteman I missile field went on alert a year ahead of schedule, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Minuteman I achieved initial operational capability in November of 1962.
July 1963 - Minuteman II went on alert. Minuteman II deployment was complete by the summer of 1965. Boeing designed Minuteman II with greater firepower, improved range and greater targeting flexibility.
June 1968 – The first Minuteman III training missile shipped from Air Force Plant 77 — operated by Boeing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — to Boeing in Seattle, Wash., for acceptance testing and checkout. Air Force Plant 77 was the final assembly point for all Minuteman missiles.
1970 - Minuteman III began deployment, and full operational capability was declared in April 1975. It had an expected lifespan of 10 years.
1980s – Boeing modified Minuteman silos for the Peacekeeper ICBM, which deployed in 1986.
August 1993 – Boeing began to redesign the Minuteman III guidance electronics to extend the service life of the missile beyond 2020. Boeing completed 82 months – or nearly seven years – of consecutive on-time or early deliveries of the upgraded missile guidance sets (MGS) to the U.S. Air Force, delivering the final upgraded MGS in February of 2009.
June 24, 1998 – A Minuteman III ICBM equipped with the upgraded guidance system completed its first successful test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.