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The Snark Missile Launch Complex (Environmental site ME500,[1] 46°42′17″N 68°2′28″W / 46.70472°N 68.04111°W / 46.70472; -68.04111[2]) is a Formerly Used Defense Site that was the only operational launch complex for Northrop SM-62 Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile (ICM) and was built adjacent to Maine's Presque Isle Air Force Base.[3] "Operational Snark Launching Site I"[4] was selected by SAC's Strategic Missile Site Selection Panel[5] on 21 March 1957, land for the "new base [with] 740 men" was acquired in January 1958,[6] and construction of the $12,000,000 base[7] began in May 1958[8] by the J.R. Cianchete Construction Company.[5] The 702d Strategic Missile Wing was activated on 1 January 1959, the first Douglas C-124 Globemaster II with a Snark arrived on 27 May 1959, and the complex had 6 corrugated hangars ("missile assembly and maintenance buildings") each of 420 ft × 80 ft (128 m × 24 m) with 2 fixed outdoor launch pads. For each launch pad with diameter 160 ft (49 m),[5] a missile was stored within the building on a launcher trailer attached to a tow vehicle, 1 at ready storage to launch from the outdoor pad within 15 minutes and behind it, 1 capable of launch in 30 minutes. Each building had 3 additional missiles in line behind the first wave (readiness of 4 hr, 3 days, and 5 days), and the missile launch control center was a hangar balcony.[9] In addition to the hangars and pads, the complex included "a jet engine run-up building, the warhead maintenance and inspection building, missile maintenance and guidance lab", a dormitory for night alert personnel,[9] and a compressor house for each hangar.[10] First alert status was 18 March 1960, and 30 missiles were available in December[11] with 4 on alert.[12] After the 702d SMW was declared operational on 28 February 1961, 20 Snarks were on alert in the summer of 1961,[13] :28 and on 25 June 1961 the wing was deactivated[14] following President Kennedy's earlier announcement for "73 military establishments" to be closed[15] (Congress was informed on 30 March.)[16] The Snark Missile Launch Complex was purchased by the city in early 1962 for $56,000 (the city also bought "other parts of the former Presque Isle Air Force Base, ...known as the Skyway Industrial Park" in 1962)[17] and some of the remaining AFB area was redesignated "Presque Isle Air National Guard Facility".[12] Four of the hangars were used for woodworking in 1962[18] and in 1995, one was used as a flax mill.[19]

External images
row of hangars when new
map of complex with dimensions
modern hanger photo


  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Lonnquest, John C.; Winkler, David F. (November 1996). To Defend and Deter: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Missile Program (Report). Project 94-1264: USACERL Special Report 97/01. Champaign, IL: U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN n96-88039. OCLC 035600289. Retrieved 2013-08-13. "power and water pumping plant measuring 160 by 102 feet; an engine run-up facility that was 99 by 61 feet; a two-story launch and surveillance building measuring 44 by 39 feet, and a 15,000-gallon fuel tank farm with a pump house and truck filling stand."  (cites the “Installation Plan, SM-62 (Snark) for Presque Isle, Maine,” in the archives at the U.S. Strategic Command, History Office, Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE.)
  7. "Air Force To Build Snark Base" (Google news archive). December 16, 1957.,2381580&dq=snark+presque&hl=en. Retrieved 2013-08-13. "Scheduled for northern Maine near the Canadian border is a $12,000,000 base, equipped with the rocket launched, jet propelled Snark... Work on the Presque Isle base is due to get underway a few months before ground is broken for a $65,000,000 intercontinental ballistic missile base near Cheyenne, Wyo." 
  9. 9.0 9.1
  10. "Plans for Construction Bidding on Presque Isle Snark Base Within a Week" (Google news archive). April 4, 1958.,3539385&dq=snark+presque&hl=en. Retrieved 2013-08-13. "one contract. It calls for six assembly and checkout buildings, each about 420 by 86 feet, a power and water pumpting plant, an engine run-up building, six compressor houses, a fuel oil tank, a fuel pump house, water distribution and sanitary sewer systems, and rehabilitiation of the existing adminstration [sic] and control building." 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Northrop SM-62 "Snark" - Deployment". Strategic Air Retrieved 2013-08-13. 

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