The U.S. Air Force is looking for a new armored helicopter capable of transporting security troops to nuclear missile silos. The competition has drawn three entrants, including two types of Blackhawk helicopter and a European design offered in cooperation with Boeing.
The United States has 400 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert across the western United States. Sixty feet long and weighing more than 37 tons, each Minuteman III carries a 300 kiloton thermonuclear warhead and has a range of more than 8,000 miles, enough to strike any target in the Northern Hemisphere. The missiles sit in reinforced concrete and steel silos in Wyoming (Warren Air Force Base), Montana (Malmstrom Air Force Base, and North Dakota (Minot Air Force Base.) Each silo is unmanned, with up to ten silos controlled by a nearby manned Launch Control Center.