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Case Studies Defense
Minuteman missile

MTSI Helps Keep the Minuteman Missile Pointed Up

Deriving strategic outcomes with hardware

The Minuteman missile is one of the U.S. Air Force’s oldest but most powerful weapons. When it leaves its silo, it carries a nuclear warhead at more than 17,000 miles per hour – which is not something you want straying off course. 

But there is a delay between the computer ordering course changes and when the hydraulic system steers the rocket motors. The missile’s software compensates for this gap by using a constant found from pre-measuring the response of the motors during ground testing.

Dozens of these custom MTSI systems were used by the USAF to evaluate the missile’s ability to steer the rocket. It works with a Schlumberger Frequency Response Analyzer (FRA) to the USAF test system.

After the first unit was qualified, MTSI was underbid on production units at $1.00 by an unqualified bidder after sending a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for our initial contract. They claimed they could make the unit small enough to fit behind the 23.5” -deep FRA. However, the connectors to do so were 3” long, and that left -2.5” of impossible space to fit the rest of the system on the ANSI standard 24” deep rack.  Nice try, but negative space does not exist, so they were disqualified.

The interface allows the FRA to be programmed from a BCD computer system interface. The range, amplitude, and frequency of the stimulus can be programmed. Results in amplitude and phase are sent to the controlling computer.

The MTSI 703 was contained in a rugged aluminum enclosure, constructed for strength and durability. The 703 was mounted in a standard 19″ rack and can be made into an attractive tabletop enclosure.

The front cover is hinged, and the top panel is easily removable for maintenance or repair. The components are on easily removable plug-in cards and are available individually for replacement or spares. It has a unique cooling system using forced air and a plenum to pressurize the power supply and card system.

MTSI is proud to drive advantage for the U.S. by providing advanced technical capabilities. Hardware makes the difference between success and failure at the strategic edge.