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

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



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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?

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