Watch a C-5 Galaxy drop a Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile during a test

May 10 2015 - 9 Comments

Although it didn’t make it to something more than a test, the mobile ICBM concept saw C-5 carry and drop a Minuteman missile.

In 1974, the U.S. thought that the best way to preserve its ICBMs (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) from Soviet nuclear strikes was to load them in C-5 Galaxy airlifters and keep them on the move.

A three-stage Minuteman, 56 feet in length and 86,000 pounds in weight, was attached to some parachutes that could drag it out of the cargo hold and then point it upward, then it was loaded into a Galaxy and air launched over the Pacific from the aircraft: a timer ignited the rocket motor and the missile flew for about 25 seconds before it cascaded into the Pacific Ocean.

This video shows the ICBM loaded into the C-5 Galaxy and air launched during the unique test. Cool.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force



  • ph

    Crazy! Didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    Skybolt would have been the first purpose-built ALBM (air launched ballistic missile), had it made it into service.

  • This was truly an awesome idea back in the 1970s. It was just a shame it was nothing more than a feasibility test. There weren’t any operational plans for it. For whatever reason, the decision makers hated putting ICBMs on anything mobile – save for a submarine.

  • Michael Rich

    This was a 1970’s feasibility test for this, it was never put in service so I don’t know why you would say that.

  • Pepe Le Cox

    Yes he is watching, with a picture of the brand new SA-26 ABM hanging in one of his office walls! :)

    • Michael Rich

      Considering there is no current weapon system under the designation of “SA-26”, you must be implying he likes to hang up imaginary systems on his wall.

    • Jan Schmidt

      hm did you mean the brand new RS-26 Rubezh / Avangard – Road Mobile ICBM ? it will be combat ready late 2015, early 2016 in irkutsk, sibiria

      or the s-500 ABM and its s-600 follow up ABM system?

  • FlyingBarrister

    An ICBM figures into a no-win calculus of mutually assured destruction. It is not apposite to what Putin and Russia have done or will do. Rather, what will concern them is what the west did in response to the conventional proxy wars in the satellite, client states. If the west were distributing improved MANPADS and anti-tank missiles on a large scale while providing training, technical assistance, and intelligence, those things would be more harmful to Putin’s ambitions. Similar to Afghanistan in the 1980’s, but happening closer to Russia.

  • Jan Schmidt

    interesting idea. there were tests to roll off of fire icbms from surface ships. also trains and mobile road platforms