The 91st Space Wing has completed the last modifications to its Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communication Network
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.—2nd Lt. Stephen Grinage, 742nd Missile Squadron intercontinental ballistic missile combat crew deputy commander, left, and 1st Lt. Bill Dyer, 742nd MS ICBM combat crew commander, perform very low frequency keyloading for the Minimum Essential Emergency Communication Network at Oscar-01 Missile Alert Facility here Nov. 11. The completion of Oscar-01 marked the final modification to the last of 50 launch control centers in Twentieth Air Force. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Carla Williams)
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MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. –The 91st Space Wing completed the last modifications to its Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communication Network here at the Oscar-01 Missile Alert Facility in the Minuteman missile complex Nov. 11.
The completion of Oscar-01 marked the final modification to the last of 50 launch control centers in Twentieth Air Force. The other bases where modifications took place include Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
“This brings our higher authority warfighting communcations systems into the 21st century,” said Col. Dan Adams, 91st SW commander.
According to 1st Lt. John Gould, MEECN program manager from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., the $250 million emergency communication system enhances the capability for communications during an unconventional strike against the United States.
“Under the old system, the reception of presidential directives was negatively impacted during certain types of atmospheric nuclear detonations,” he said. “Now, missile combat crew members have a significantly improved capability to receive presidential directives throughout the full spectrum of nuclear conflict.”
Kent Huebner, MEECN technical advisor to the program and communications engineer also from Hanscom AFB, said that in 1999, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the contract for development of the MEECN to replace the Survivable Low Frequency Communications System installed in 1962. The contract also provides a Milstar satellite capability in the extremely high frequency range with a transmission security component the previous system didn’t have.
“The project consisted of two phases,” said Mr. Huebner. “The first phase included installing the topside equipment at each missile alert facility, which included a 40,000-pound, solid-steel antenna shelter and a 60,000-pound, concrete foundation. The second phase included upgrading the communication equipment inside the underground launch control centers so missile crews can communicate to the antennas.”
Mr. Huebner, who has seen the program through its infancy, also said other upgrade program contracts for the MEECN were started but weren’t completed because of various factors, and the last upgrade to the SLFCS was made in 1977.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of the completion of this project, since it’s not very often you get to see the projects you start completed by the same leaders because of funding, testing and the actual set-up of the project for full operational capability,” said Mr. Huebner.