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Snark Missile Launch Complex

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The Snark Missile Launch Complex (Environmental site ME500, 46°42′17″N 68°2′28″W) is a Formerly Used Defense Site that was the only operational launch complex for Northrop SM-62 Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile (ICM) and was built adjacent to Maine's Presque Isle Air Force Base. "Operational Snark Launching Site I" was selected by SAC's Strategic Missile Site Selection Panel on 21 March 1957, land for the "new base [with] 740 men" was acquired in January 1958, and construction of the $12,000,000 base began in May 1958 by the J.R. Cianchete Construction Company.

The 702d Strategic Missile Wing was activated on 1 January 1959, the first Douglas C-124 Globemaster II with a Snark arrived on 27 May 1959, and the complex had 6 corrugated hangars ("missile assembly and maintenance buildings") each of 420 ft × 80 ft (128 m × 24 m) with 2 fixed outdoor launch pads. For each launch pad with diameter 160 ft (49 m), a missile was stored within the building on a launcher trailer attached to a tow vehicle, 1 at ready storage to launch from the outdoor pad within 15 minutes and behind it, 1 capable of launch in 30 minutes. Each building had 3 additional missiles in line behind the first wave (readiness of 4 hr, 3 days, and 5 days), and the missile launch control center was a hangar balcony. In addition to the hangars and pads, the complex included "a jet engine run-up building, the warhead maintenance and inspection building, missile maintenance and guidance lab", a dormitory for night alert personnel, and a compressor house for each hangar.

First alert status was 18 March 1960, and 30 missiles were available in December with 4 on alert. After the 702d SMW was declared operational on 28 February 1961, 20 Snarks were on alert in the summer of 1961, and on 25 June 1961 the wing was inactivated following President Kennedy's earlier announcement for "73 military establishments" to be closed (Congress was informed on 30 March.) The Snark Missile Launch Complex was purchased by the city in early 1962 for $56,000 (the city also bought "other parts of the former Presque Isle Air Force Base, ...known as the Skyway Industrial Park" in 1962) and some of the remaining AFB area was redesignated "Presque Isle Air National Guard Facility". Four of the hangars were used for woodworking in 1962 and in 1995, one was used as a flax mill.

References

Snark Missile Launch Complex Wikipedia


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