MINUTEMAN III (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     6th June 2024        

Context: The US recently conducted an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test from the Californian Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Minuteman III

  • About: The LGM-30G Minuteman III is a solid-fueled, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) first deployed by the United States Air Force (USAF) in the 1960s.
  • Land-based Component: It serves as the sole land-based component of the U.S. nuclear triad, complementing the sea-based and air-based components.
  • Manufactured by: The Minuteman III was designed and manufactured by the Boeing Corporation, a major aerospace company.
  • Modernization: Originally planned for a ten-year service life, the Minuteman III has been modernized over the years, with its replacement, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), expected in 2029.
  • Pioneer of MIRV Technology: It was the first U.S. missile equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), enhancing its strategic capabilities.

o The United States currently maintains an estimated arsenal of 440 Minuteman III missiles, bolstering its nuclear deterrent capabilities.


  • Three-Stage: The Minuteman III features a three-stage, solid-fuel propulsion system, ensuring reliability and ease of deployment.
  • Dimensions and Weight: With a length of 18.2 meters, a diameter of 1.85 meters, and a launch weight of 34,467 kilograms, it stands as a substantial piece of military hardware.
  • Range: 13000 Km.
  • Payload Capacity: It can carry a payload of three reentry vehicles, enhancing its versatility.
  • Arms Control Agreements: In compliance with arms control agreements, the Minuteman III now carries a single nuclear warhead, reflecting diplomatic efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.

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