Travel Blog


Titan Missile Museum, Arizona

We visited the Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson Arizona. This is an excellent museum to visit and well worth the $18.00 for the one hour tour.  The museum offers 3 kinds of tours. Every day there are one hour tours that stat at 9 a.m. and run Titan Missile Museumon the hour. There are also 4 hour tours on special days, check the web site to confirm what days these tours are being offered. There is also an over night tour were you spend the night inside the missile launch center 6 stories under ground. For us the one hour tour was sufficient, however if you are an enthusiast, I think the longer tours would be of interest to a lot of people. The picture above is an old warhead without the nuclear material of course. The entrance to the museum is via the old elevator shaft that takes you deep into the ground where the control center etc was. your tour begins at the top where someone from the military will guide you through the museum.

The address is : 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd., Sahuarita, Arizona

We arrived first thing in the morning for the first tour and ended up having our own private tour of the facility. A normal tour can have as many as 20 people so we were very fortunate.

The picture on the left is one of the fuel trucks that provided the fuel for the missile. There were two of them, kept on opposite sides of the property to avoid accidental mixing and of course explosions.

The following is a summary of what we picked up during the tour and can also remember.

These Titan missiles carried a nuclear war head that was considered to be 100 times stronger than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and would flatten an area of 945 square miles.

Our guide emphasized that the US followed a deterrence strategy, which meant that they would never launch a first strike against the Russians. Instead they apparently advised the Russians of how many missiles they had, were they were aimed and their capacity along with the time it would take to launch them from time of detection of a launch against the US. What it meant is that both countries would be annihilated if the Russians launched a first strike which was a huge deterrent for them both.

The picture on the left is the missile in the silo taken from about 30 feet underground.

From the time the crew was given the order to launch, the missile would be in the air in less than one minute. The president of the United States is the only one who can give the order to launch these missiles. Before the crew can even begin the launch process, they must first receive a coded order from the president. Once the order was transmitted and received by the Titan Missile Launch Crew team, they referred to a very specific process to prepare to launch the missile. This process was put in place to protect everyone from premature launches of a devastating missile.

The crew followed a very secure process to ensure that the order was real and that it would always take two members to launch the Titan missile. There were two codes that needed to be entered from different sources and two crew men must turn separate keys to launch the missile. There was a 4 man crew and none of them could be alone while inside the installation  other than the kitchen or the head to ensure that a missile could never be launched by a single person.

The crew had sufficient food and water to last a month and an air supply that would last up to 10 days. If there was an attack, the crew was expected to survive, although there may not be much left top side for them afterwords.

When this site was decommissioned, the blast doors had to secured in such a manner that it is impossible to launch the missile. This was done to convince the Russians that this site was decommissioned. The Russians are watching via satellite and observing that nothing has changed at this site even today.

The crews launch quarters and control center is sound, blast  and vibration suppressed. There are 3 foot steel and concrete doors, the entire crews quarters and launch center are on giant springs that will dampen any vibration when the missile launches.

There was a four man crew, with a senior commander in charge and 3 other people responsible for various operations. They completed a 12 hour shift and there was intense security around the site for entry and exit to this facility.

Our guide demonstrated for us how the launch took place and specific steps that the crew would go through. My wife got to be the senior commander for an hour and launched the missile after following these specific steps. I am never going to be able to live this down. One of the keys that needed to be turned was located in this console shown on the picture to the left.

The location of these missiles in Arizona was chosen because of the arid climate and now that it is a missile museum, there are lots of retired military people to act as guides for this site.

If you have been to the museum and would like to make comment that will assist our readers please do so. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

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