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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

References[]

  1. http://www.nmdc.org/Planning/webber/Presque_Isle_Webber_Oil_Property_Phase_I_ESA_2010.pdf
  2. http://wikimapia.org/13872001/Former-SNARK-missile-hangers-and-launch-pads
  3. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=21865249
  4. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=UoFPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9AQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7016,5287165&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  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. http://www.denix.osd.mil/cr/upload/94-1264-LEGACY-US-COLD-WAR-MISSLE-PROGRAM_0.PDF. 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.)
  6. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=p4YeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jMsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5811,2404724&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=aIo_AAAAIBAJ&sjid=V1UMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5623,5405872&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  7. "Air Force To Build Snark Base" (Google news archive). December 16, 1957. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vdgtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Q9oFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6566,2381580&dq=snark+presque&hl=en. Retrieved 2013-08-13. "Scheduled for construction...in 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." 
  8. http://books.google.com/books?id=AbgsZUS3ugcC&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=presque+%22SNARK%22+pads&source=bl&ots=YN9DWlCE5u&sig=ooAQruZ8-YZi0aUQC5olYtQU1ZQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PJcJUpWhA-jgyQHV6oGgDQ&ved=0CFcQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=presque%20%22SNARK%22%20pads&f=false
  9. 9.0 9.1 http://www.oocities.org/usaf463/SNARK.html
  10. "Plans for Construction Bidding on Presque Isle Snark Base Within a Week" (Google news archive). April 4, 1958. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3XEgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RGcFAAAAIBAJ&pg=959,3539385&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." 
  11. http://books.google.com/books?id=AmjfAAAAMAAJ&q=%22February+1960%22+snark&dq=%22February+1960%22+snark&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kTcKUrv_OObkyQH51oHADQ&ved=0CFMQ6AEwBw
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Northrop SM-62 "Snark" - Deployment". Strategic Air Command.com. http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Snark/Snark_deployment.htm. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  13. http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/46/1962-04-30.pdf
  14. http://www.denix.osd.mil/cr/upload/94-1264-LEGACY-US-COLD-WAR-MISSLE-PROGRAM_0.PDF
  15. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=KxMgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=TWYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1309,2847321&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  16. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6qtJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cQ4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=1739,4176521&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  17. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qxkgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=imYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2925,6814&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  18. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=A0ApAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XGYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2861,2281172&dq=snark+presque&hl=en
  19. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=KKdJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FQ4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=3112,1880638&dq=snark+presque&hl=en

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