In the 1970s, the Air Force launched a Minuteman ICBM launched from a C-5 Galaxy. Hold on, what!?!?
That was my reaction upon learning that the above sentence is true.
In 1974, the Air Force decided that it could turn C-5 Galaxy airlifters into flying SSBNs. Yup, Air Force planners thought the missile would be tougher for the Soviets to take out with a preemptive strike if it was already aboard a moving target like a C-5 versus sitting in a stationary missile silo.
So, they loaded a Minuteman into a C-5 that parachute-dropped the 60-foot tall missile out of its aft cargo ramp over the Pacific Ocean. After the ICBM fell for a few thousand feet, its rocket motor ignited and the missile flew for ten seconds under its own power. Just to prove it could be done. Wild.
Needless to say, the crazy concept of turning C-5s into flying boomers never made it to the operational stage.
Click through the jump to watch a video of the event. Don’t forget to giggle immaturely at the 24 second mark.