This circuit, called a microelectronic hybrid, was part of the fuzing electronics for a Mark 12A reentry vehicle.
A Mark 12A reentry vehicle was the "business end" of a Minuteman III missile, the mainstay of the U.S. nuclear missile force from the 1970s into the 1990s, and carried a nuclear warhead. After launch, a Minuteman III flew on a trajectory that carried it into space. After passing the top of this trajectory, the Mark 12A reentry vehicle would separate from the missile and be directed towards its target. As the reentry vehicle sped earthward, a circuit like this artifact helped activate the warhead for detonation.
Aluminum plates around the perimeter of the device served as a handling fixure so that technicians could work without contacting delicate internal components or soiling the gold outer casing.
This circuit was made in the late 1970s but represents a design originally developed for the Mark 12A and Minuteman III programs in the late 1960s.
Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.
Gift of Lockheed Martin