Major Locales of the Titan I Complex

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Equipment Terminals Part I

Overhead view: Basic architecture of the equipment terminals showing the connecting personnel and utilities tunnels.

The Equipment Terminals are cylindrical concrete structures enclosing a space 57'6" high and 40' in diameter containing 4 levels accessed by a personnel elevator and ladders.  The walls are 18" thick and the top and bottom slabs are approximately 6 feet thick-- both are heavily reinforced with steel.

Side aspect of equipment terminals - this shows the numbering of the floors which goes from the bottom up-- Level I at the bottom and level IV at the top.

The levels of the equipment terminals are numbered I through IV from the bottom up and each floor is a free-moving structure designed to move with any ground shocks from enemy strikes


Level I is supported from below by a dampened support structure mounted on spring beams. An elaborate system of beams and pivots allow for 6" of movement horizontally in any direction.


Levels II-IV are instead suspended from above by pivoted vertical steel supports (4 per level) which allow the floors to move laterally in any direction with 6" of rattle space. These vertical supports are in turn connected to overhead beams mounted into the concrete walls and all the moving parts are connected using 2-inch thick steel pins. The whole construction is rather like a hanging basket really.  Like the rest of the complex, neoprene membranes cover the rattle space between the wall and floors on each level.

A more detailed side view showing basic layout of floors and tunnels


Reverse angle of the previous drawing - Note the roof hatch in the top slab and the railings on levels II-IV around the level access openings in those floors.

Access hatches 8' x 7' with removable steel railings were located on levels II-IV and provided means for lowering equipment and construction materials all the way to the lowest level.  Steel hatch covers consisting of eight 12" x 7' panels covered the openings when not in use.  The black and yellow striped areas in the following picture show their location.

Cutaway illustration showing the equipment terminal and general equipment placement.  As this is an early drawing, it bears many differences from the operational configurations in the size and arrangement of services.  However, the general function of the individual floors was not changed.

The equipment terminals are connected to the rest of the complex by two tunnels, only one of which served as the proper ingress/egress to the structure-- the personnel tunnel.  The other tunnel, the Utilities Tunnel, connected to the missile silo to route services to the missile and launcher.

The personnel tunnel connects to the equipment terminals at level III (approximately 48' below ground) and the Utilities tunnel connects to the missile silo from level II (approximately 60' below ground), carrying power, HVAC services, radio signals, hydraulic lines and other resources to the missile and silo.

The top slab has an environmentally sealed access hatch, 10 feet in diameter, aligned with the floor access hatches, and used for installation of equipment during construction.  A corrugated steel liner forms a shaft around the hatch opening from the underground structure to the surface.  Once all the equipment was installed, the hatch was emplaced and sealed and the shaft was filled with sand.

The function of the equipment terminals is so broad and complex that it is hard to explain easily (or concisely).  In general it contained equipment that was chiefly provided for direct support of the missiles and their many support systems.  From climate control and utility air supply to targeting, fuzing and course calculation, the equipment terminals encompassed many critical systems and functions.  Suffice to say, they were (at the time) filled with some of the most advanced technology developed for military use, second only to ongoing projects yet to be deployed.


The Equipment Terminals contained aerospace operating equipment (AOE1), aerospace ground equipment (AGE2), power distribution, switchgear, hydraulic pumps, lines and a myriad of other gear  to support the targeting, checkout, exercise and launch of the Titan I ballistic missile.  Each of the four levels contained equipment geared toward different specific tasks and services needed for support of the Titan I missiles.

1 Equipment that makes the missile able to complete its mission.  e.g. to launch, find its target, etc.

2 Equipment that supports AOE.  e.g. testing, repairing and calibrating AOE.

While placement and type of equipment used tended to vary from site to site, the following describes the systems and facilities installed in the equipment terminal levels according to the Titan I dash-1 technical order publication (T.O. 21M-HGM25A-1-1) which provides a general overview of the operational complex.  The highlighted text sections below are taken directly from the dash-1 Section I.


LEVEL I - Power Pack Room

Level I of the equipment terminal (figure 1-13) is divided into a power pack room and an electrical room.  The power pack room contains the cycling control station and power pack equipment which supplies hydraulic pressure for operating the launcher system.  The electrical room contains the motor control center and the logic racks for the launcher hydraulic equipment.


This was the deepest, darkest and filthiest area of the equipment terminals-- the lowest floor, it was the basin for all the water, dirt and accumulated junk discarded by the salvage crews from the upper levels.  At 724-C, one of the three equipment terminals were completely flooded at this level.  Only equipment terminal #1 was consistently above water and completely dry during my visits.  Equipment terminal #2 showed signs of having been flooded in the past: underneath the floor there was a disgusting slough of thick, dark red water that looked like congealed blood.  A nasty crust had formed on the surface of this sludgy mire and it was speckled here and there with festive colonies of bright white mold visible through large (and hazardous) gaps opening into the sub-floor space below.


My personal estimate would place the dark coagulation at the very bottom in the range of 2 to 3 feet deep-- enough to ruin your tap shoes and trousers and make walking back to the surface a real displeasure unless you had donned waders upon entering.


Equipment Terminal Level I - General operational complex layout as illustrated in the dash-1 tech order


The water had largely devastated level one at E.T.#2, leaving a crust of black mold and water lines marked by heavy corrosion.  Hoses and flexible electrical conduit covered the floor amongst the piles of discarded and sodden fiberglass pipe insulation and jumbles of metallic junk.


Provided for comparison, the Lowry AFB floor plan for Level I of the equipment terminal.  This illustrates some of the differences exhibited between the general descriptions given in the tech order publication and other illustrations and the actual operational sites.  Though not a very clear image, it is clear that the locations of the elevator shaft and the presence of a spiral staircase are a few obvious disagreements between the AF documents and the as-built drawings.  Relative size and locations of equipment given outside of the blueprints are at best guidelines for the operational complexes which tended to differ greatly.


Hydraulic pumps had once dominated the area and piping had been routed under the floor and covered with steel grille-type flooring.  Much of this flooring had been removed or otherwise disturbed leaving ample opportunity to take an inadvertent dive into the scum below.


Just about all the equipment at E.T.#1 had been removed save for the cycling control station for the hydraulic systems and the very large fluid reservoir (a ladder was needed to reach the top).  The metal partition of the largely empty electrical room was still in place and a large shock mounted platform for the air instrument air compressor was still present.  At E.T.#2 one last interesting relic that remained was the sewage ejector-- a squat, green, steel pressure vessel of the utmost importance to my way of thinking.  I was surprised to see only one and no back up unit.  This invaluable device would force all waste water to the surface from about 80 feet below ground and into the sewage spray pond.


A very good illustration of the hydraulic pumps and accumulator (reservoir lower right) and associated equipment on Level I.  Essentially, only the hydraulic accumulator and cycling control station remaining at 724-C today.  The pumps, platforms, motor control and logic racks are all gone at 724-C.  Other sites have some of the logic racks remaining, but they are empty, the components are long gone.


LEVEL II - Air Conditioner Room

Level II of the equipment terminal (figure 1-15) contains the missile air conditioner and the missile silo air conditioning equipment.  The missile air conditioner supplies heated or cooled air to maintain the proper temperature in the Stage II transition compartment, between-tanks compartment, and Stage II engine compartment.  The missile silo air conditioning equipment supplies conditioned air to the missile silo.  Level II also contains a hydraulic pumping unit that supplies hydraulic fluid to fill, bleed, and pressurize the hydraulic equipment in both missile stages.


Level II was crowded with dismantled ductwork, stacked about the floor between large heating and AC units.  The missile air conditioning ductwork had been left in place and ran into the utilities tunnel which was carpeted with rusty muck and mineral salts.  Heavy hydraulic lines with massive square connections emerged from the floor to join the ductwork on its way to the silo.


Equipment Terminal Level II - General operational complex layout as illustrated in the dash-1 tech order


To me, the most puzzling thing about level II was that the ductwork had been taken down and then left behind.  Why did they bother?


This level was dry at E.T.#1 except for some drippage from the surface access hatch above on level IV.  The hatch cover had been removed during salvage of course, and then quickly replaced without concern for the integrity of the environmental seal.  This was the source of most of the water in equipment terminal #1.  


Provided for comparison, the Lowry AFB plan for level II of the equipment terminal.  Though this drawing offers very little detail aside from the location of the floor access hatch and elevator shaft.  Most of the missing detail is heating and air conditioning units and lots and lots of ductwork leading out of the level via the utilities tunnel or to other levels.


LEVEL III - Launch and Checkout Room

Level III of the equipment terminal (figure 1-16) contains launch and checkout equipment necessary to launch a missile or perform checkout of the following subsystems: engine control, flight control, launch sequencer, re-entry vehicle, electrical, missile guidance, and propellant loading and pressurization systems.


During operation, this level had mostly contained large racks filled with logic equipment.  All of them have been removed, and though I did see racks at 725-A back in 1994, they were all empty.  No racks were present at all in the equipment terminals at 724-C by the time I arrived in 2000.


Equipment Terminal Level III - General operational complex layout as illustrated in the dash-1 tech order


There really wasn't much left to see at all on level III.  There was miscellaneous junk and conduit strewn about and little else.  This level does however have a latrine with one sink, one stall and one urinal.  An antique Boraxo dispenser (empty, I checked) hung near the sink.  Not much to see there besides some truly filthy porcelain fixtures reminiscent of the worst public restrooms you've ever been faced with on a long road trip during the 1970's-- in the South.


Provided for comparison, the Lowry AFB plan for level III of the equipment terminal.  This drawing more clearly shows the location of the hangers that supported the structure of levels II-IV.  If you look at the upper right quadrant you can see a reference "TYP. HANGER, SEE 54-S-6" with an arrow showing its location as a small square.  This denotes the vertical support and one is visible in each quadrant.  The thin lines that intersect each of the squares represents a heavy steel I-beam from which the vertical support is suspended.


LEVEL IV - Switchgear Room

Level IV of the equipment terminal (figure 1-17) contains the equipment that supplies and distributes electrical power to the launcher area.  This level contains motor control centers, a power switchboard, a 400 CPS motor-generator, two 28 VDC power supplies, a battery power supply, a 9 KVA transformer, and transformer substations.


Like level III, level IV was pretty barren as well.  There was a large room air conditioner unit and a couple heavy duty battery racks (sans batteries of course) but aside from that there was the just the omnipresent dirt brought in by infiltrating water, and the usual junk, insulation and an odd hose or two laying about.


Equipment Terminal Level IV - General operational complex layout as illustrated in the dash-1 tech order


Looking up at the ceiling, the poorly-replaced hatch cover loomed overhead, ringed with obvious seepage and rust.  I suppose it makes sense that the level closest to the surface had the least left in it since it was the easiest to access.


Some cable trays emerged through the floor and an empty elevator shaft beckoned the clumsy or unwary (the doors were all forced open and the car was on a lower level) through its gaping doorway.


Provided for comparison, the Lowry AFB plan for level IV of the equipment terminal.  Note once again the location of the elevator and the absence of a spiral staircase shown in the previous diagram.


In the next section, we'll take a look at the construction of the equipment terminals and finally get a look at some photos of the inside.


Click the link below to see more about the equipment terminals or select another location from the map below.



Equipment Terminals Part II



Current Location: Equipment Terminals

Blast Lock #1 Blast Lock #2 Main Map Launcher Area Air Filtration Launcher Area Air Filtration Fuel Terminal Power House Air Intake Power House LOX Bay #1 LOX Bay #3 Equipment Terminal #1 Missile Silo #1 Propellant Terminal #1 LOX Tunnel #1 Propellant Terminal #3 Missile Silo #3 Equipment Terminal #3 LOX Tunnel #3 Utilities Tunnel #1 Utilities Tunnel #3 Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels

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