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9. ARMY / Nekoma

Last modified: 24 Apr 2022, submitted by: Joker

Country: United States    Region: N Dakota

Locale: Nekoma

Latitude: 48° 35' 26" N     Longitude: -99° 38' 17" E

Area use / Military Branches: Closed.


Mickelsen SAFEGUARD airdefense complex construction started 1972. Its mission: delivering an anti ballistic missile system defending the Minuteman missile launchers at AFB Grand Forks in the event of a sudden ICBM strike.

Depending on threatlevels, the ABM system could also provide limited defense of a wider geographical area, including other Minuteman missile fields as well as cities in its vincinity. The ABM system consisted of:
- a command & control unit and a Spartan missile syatem launchfacility at the Mickelsen complex connected with
- a large Perimeter Aquisition Radar system (see USAF-SC Cavalier) and
- 4 remote controlled Sprint missile launchfacilities (see Safeguard launchersites below).

Safeguard was a 2-layer defense system. The long-range Spartan missile would intercept outside the Earth's atmosphere. The missile's long range allowed protection of a large geographic area. If the Spartan failed to intercept the incoming offensive missile, the high performance and high speed short range Sprint missile would attempt an interception within the atmosphere. Both missiles used nuclear warheads, and they relied on destroying or damaging the incoming warhead with radiation rather than heat or blast. The Spartan carried a 5 Megaton warhead; the Sprint was in the 1 kiloton range.

In 1975 it reached its operational capacity but due to budgetcuts from the Congress the facility was deactivated. The complex was only operational for appx. 6 months! Although the ABM's were removed the authorities kept the facility in a caretaker status ever since. However in 2012 the premises was for sale and in 2013 sold to a christian society; so from govt. into private property.

The Sprint launchersites were:
- Hampden at grid 4831'58"N 9834'56"W. (RLS #1)
- Langdon at grid 4850'57"N 9825'59"W. (RLS #2)
- Olga at grid 4845'50"N 9759'5"W. (RLS #3).
- Fairdale at grid 4828'28"N 9815'20"W. (RLS#4)
All have been deactivated and closed.

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