"The Triad" Top 5 Page for this destination Wall Travelogue by Toughluck

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The Triad-Part 1 Land missiles

The Triad was the joint operation of 3 types of nuclear deterrence. Two were Air Force (Missiles and bombers) the third was the Navy's missile submarines.

Minuteman II waiting in the launch silo (Minuteman Missile NHP)

Navy's contribution-Part 2 of the Triad

The Polaris missile system has grown from it's original design to a larger and faster missile. While not having the range of the land based ICBM's, the Polaris have the advantage of being carried close to the shores of the target country.

Transport of missiles is a heavy task and the missile boats are designed to do just that. With a reach into the worlds oceans, missile boats can be anywhere. They are constantly on the move, thus hard to target.

Part 3-Bombers

Fleets of bombers were stationed around the U.S. and in some foreign countries. Ready at all times.


The B-52 replaced the earlier B-47's (which were few) and operated on 24 hour constant flights. Operating from around the U.S. the Strategic Air Command (SAC) was controlled from Offitt Air force base, south of Omaha, NE. I know of four bases that provided continuous air cover (Lowery - Denver; Ellsworth - Rapid City; Wright-Patterson - Dayton; and Offitt - Omaha). The practice was to have about half of the bombers in the air at all times. Thus any attack on the air bases, would still leave a sizable force flying with plenty of fuel to reach targets in Asia and Europe.

The habit was to launch the replacement plans and then to bring the plans that had been up back down. Thus at the end of any duty shift, all aircraft would be airborne (and spread across the sky's) as the tired and low on fuel planes were beginning their return to base.

Neat idea, but very expensive.


The B-2 was designed to replace the B-52. Changes in tactics and the end of the cold war have seen much of the aircraft fleet reduced in size and without as many aircraft in continuous airborne service.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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