Military Monday: MITO

by Crocker on April 25, 2011, 4:54 am

in History,Military

That’s “Minimum Interval Take Off” for the uninitiated.

In the bad old days of the Cold War, the US strategic deterrent rested on a “triad” of land-based ICBMs (Titan, Minuteman and MX), submarine-launched ICBMs (Polaris, Posidon and Trident) and a strategic bomber force (B-47s, B-52s, B-58s and, later, B-1s). It was the bomber part of the triad that always was the most vulnerable. Even with an alert force ready for takeoff, there was only a few minutes to get airborne before the Soviet’s incoming ICBM’s arrived. In a ‘use it or lose it’ world, doctrine required the ready force to take off at 15-second intervals – a dangerous exercise in the turbulence caused by the giant bombers. It made for a rough ride and – the case of the B-52s – a smoky one with the water-injected J57 engines pouring out the steam and soot.

Here’s a clip from the 1963 film “A Gathering of Eagles” showing B-52s (probably the “G” model) doing MITOs. Being an alert force B-52 pilot required pretty good nerves at the best of times and this sort of thing could challenge the best.

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{ 1 comment }

RapidRay June 24, 2011 at 8:26 am

Served in the U. S. Air Force 1972 – 1980 driving F-4’s . I have been trying to find any video of tanker / F-4 Task force launch from Hickum A. F. B to GUAM . Up to fifty aircraft launch on the reef runway was one big elephant walk , but a beautiful sight into itself. Your video of the movie was outstanding and brought back memories of a different time . Thankx Ray

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