Mutual Assured Destruction

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After a breakfast-of-champions (left-over Chinese food), I checked the tire pressures, and rode out of Phoenix.

First port-of-call was Tuscon. But what to look at? Nothing had really caught my eye when I was browsing last night. So I checked the GPS, and an old cold-war missile silo was open. I filled up, and ran on down, past the “hill-forts”.

Heading south from Tuscon on Hwy19, in Sahuarita, on the west side, are what look like hill-forts, or terraced reservoirs. Upon asking, I found these to be the tailings from open cast copper mining. Nice thing is that these hills look like some ancient buildings.

Meanwhile, back at the museum. $9 gets you a tour of the 150ft missile, silo and bunker. You get to see an actual Titan II rocket, that could deliver a 9 megaton enriched-uranium warhead, the equivalent of 623 Hiroshimas.

For me there these items had my attention
(1) there are (literally) bomb-proof buildings, with huge springs to ensure no vibrations affect the living area. I loved the springs. Huge. All around the command floor.
(2) the hydrazine fuel (in place of the kerosene and liquid oxygen), was so toxic that you had to be in full NBC kit with separate oxygen source when handling the stuff. Hydrazine could be left in the rocket, so it was ready to go, whereas the liquid oxygen took 25mins to load into the rocket.
(3) the stand-by generator was set to use the air in the shelter, if the outside air was unavailable. This is akin to running your car in the attached garage during winter. Ouch.

There were 54 such silos across 3 states in the USA.

This was part of the Mutual Assured Destruction philosophy, or MAD for short.