To your right lies an ultra high frequency antenna surrounded by concrete. This blast hardening would help withstand effects from a nearby warhead detonation. This antenna provided a link between the missile and the Airborne Launch Control System. Should the missile become electronically isolated or nearby launch capsules destroyed, special aircraft could launch missiles from the air.
An Airborne Command Post aircraft, designated ‘Looking Glass,’ anchored this system. Based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and sharing capabilities of Strategic Air Command’s underground command post, a General Officer headed specialized battle staff teams aboard these planes. Throughout decades of heightened Cold War tensions, a ‘Looking Glass’ mission flew over the central U.S. around-the-clock, seven days a week. Airborne Command Post aircraft from Ellsworth Air Force Base supplemented ‘Looking Glass’ flights and all could launch the Minuteman force if ground-based missile crews were disabled. ‘Looking Glass’ missions began in 1961, flying continuously through 1990 when it assumed ground alert. This mission continues today.