Blue Scout ERCS
Credit: via Andreas Parsch
In September 1961, the Strategic Air Command issued a requirement for a UHF Emergency Rocket Communications System. In the event of nuclear war this was to provide a reliable and survivable communications link between command posts and missile launch control centers. The ERCS UHF transmitters carried prerecorded force execution messages that were transmitted to all units within line of sight of the rocket's apogee.
Air Force Program 279L initiated deployment of an interim ERCS capability on Ford Aeronutronics Blue Scout Junior rockets. The first launch occurred on 31 May 1962 and the system was declared operational in July 1963, with rockets based at three locations in Nebraska under the designation MER-6A. The operational ERCS used modified silo-based Minuteman II ICBMs as carriers. The Minuteman ERCS became operational in October 1967, and by December 1967 the MER-6A was withdrawn from service.