MINOT, N.D. — The number of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in northern North Dakota will shrink from 150 to 133 by next February under a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.
The New START requirements treaty was signed in April 2010 by former President Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the Minot Daily News reported. It went into effect Feb. 5, 2011, and is expected to last until 2021. Under the treaty, both nations are to comply with the reduction of nuclear arms by February 2018.
Capt. Christopher Mesnard, chief of Public Affairs Operations at headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, said the Minot Air Force Base will still maintain 150 missile silos. Seventeen of them will be empty but usable.
"We'll still maintain 150 Minuteman III silos at Minot with about 17 of those in a non-deployed status, meaning there won't be a missile in it, allowing us to rotate the silos we use and further enable our ability to conduct maintenance and upgrades to the silos without impacting our operational capabilities," said Mesnard.
The Minuteman I ICBM missile complex was created by 1964.
Minot's base is the only one with dual nuclear-capable wings, the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing.