Donate $25 for two DVDs of the Cryptome collection of files from June 1996 to the present

Natsios Young Architects

5 August 2004

See also KUMSC Birdseye:

Maps from
Source of aerial photos: Terraserver-USA and USGS Seamless.

Cryptome erronously published in June 2002 another site at Kirtland Air Force Base as the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex where 2,450 nuclear weapons are stored, the single largest US nuclear repository.

Joseph Alvores <>, McClenny, FL, yesterday called attention to this error and pointed to the correct facility and provided other information about the complex. The site previouly eyeballed is an earlier Kirtland nuclear weapons storage facility at Manzano Mountain which was superceded by the new KUMSC shown here.

Kirtland Air Force Base:

From the report Taking Stock: Worldwide Nuclear Deployments 1998, by William M. Arkin, Robert S. Norris and Joshua Handler, published in March 1998 by the Natural Resources Defence Council.


Rank: No. 1
Nuclear Warheads: 2450


BECAUSE OF A BACKLOG OF WARHEADS awaiting dismantlement at the DOE’s Pantex facility near Amarillo, TX, the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex (KUMSC) at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico has emerged as number one in U.S. nuclear warheads deployed in a single location, a rise from 2nd place in 1992 and 11th place in 1985.

Kirtland AFB serves as one of two main Air Force nuclear weapons general depots in the United States (the other is at Nellis AFB in Nevada). And because of its 300 mile proximity to Pantex, Kirtland serves as a transshipment base and storage point augmenting the disassembly facility. Nuclear weapons are stored in the newly built, partially underground KUMSC facility, managed by the 898th Munitions Squadron of the 377th Air Base Wing (ABW), a unit of the Air Force Materiel Command. The 377th Air Base Wing received excellent and outstanding ratings in its 1994 NSI. They had another NSI on June 21-30, 1997. The 898th MUNS is scheduled to receive an NSI on September 28, 1998.

Kirtland AFB traces its origins to the 1920s when a private airstrip called Oxnard Field was created. In the late 1930’s Albuquerque’s municipal airport began operating in what is now the base’s west side, and in 1939, military activity began with the leasing of 2000 acres. One of the country’s largest bomber crew training bases was created soon thereafter, and a training depot for aircraft mechanics (later known as Sandia Base) was established during the Second World War.

In July 1945, Los Alamos scientific director J. Robert Oppenheimer formed Z-Division to manage the engineering, design, production, assembly, and field testing of the non-nuclear components of atomic bombs. The need for flight support and test facilities reasonably near to the Los Alamos Laboratory led to the movement of the Division to Sandia in September 1945. By July 1946 transfer was almost complete and Z-Division moved into four new buildings, 828, 838, 824 and 839. The unit became the Sandia Corporation in 1949 and later the Sandia National Laboratories, still the largest element and tenant at Kirtland.

During the Cold War, Kirtland became the U.S. military center for nuclear weapons administration and operation. The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP) (later the Defense Atomic Support Agency-DASA, then the Defense Nuclear Agency-DNA, now the Defense Special Weapons Agency-DSWA) operated the Sandia Base from its creation in 1947. In 1949, the Air Force Special Weapons Command (disestablished in 1976) was also established at Kirtland, and in 1949, the Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, a Navy nuclear weapons research and test facility was established. It was joined by the Air Force Weapons Laboratory (which became the Phillips Laboratory in 1990). In 1971, Kirtland and Sandia Base merged.

In 1945, nuclear weapons first came to the Sandia Base, and a special Manhattan District Military Police unit was established to guard the bombs as they were brought down from the Los Alamos laboratory for practice and operational loading on specially modified B-29 bombers. Nuclear warheads came for permanent storage in 1949, when the Manzano Base Weapons Storage Area ("Site Able"), a 2880 acre facility constructed amid a small range of foothills in the Manzano mountains near the southeast end of the base, was opened.

The facility at Manzano Base was a large complex of plants where weapons maintenance and storage occurred. During the initial phases of nuclear weapons development the AEC was responsible for the nuclear component of warheads, and the DOD was responsible for the non-nuclear components. The nuclear materials-stored in special rooms separate from weapons-required constant maintenance to insure readiness. This involved rotating individual weapons in and out of storage in igloos at Manzano and taking them through several rooms in four plants for various phases of maintenance.

Initially the Army was responsible for Manzano, but in early 1952, the Air Force 1094th Special Reporting Group was established and took control of the base. The 1094th went through a variety of redesignations over the years, until 1 April 1994, when the current 898th Munitions Squadron was established. The 56-acre KUMSC was completed in 1994, consolidating warhead storage in a new facility outside of Manzano mountain. KUMSC is located on the southeast side of the installation, approximately 3.5 miles east of the main base. Nuclear weapons moved by air in and out of KUMSC use the Albuquerque International Airport.

17. integrated system access control Kirtland AFB munitions storage. Hayes, C. Bowman (MSgt , USAF) 1823ZE18, KIRTLAND UNDERGROUND MUNITIONS STORAGE COMPLEX (KUMSC) ADVANCE ENTRY CONTROL INTEGRATED INTRUSION DETECTION SYSTEM (AECIIDS) Qualification Test and Evaluation (QT&E) N/A N/A AFDTC-TR-91-54 73 Mar-Jun 1991 DTIC U This Qualification Test and Evaluation (QT&E) was conducted to evaluate the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex (KUMSC) Advanced Entry Control Integrated Intrusion Detection System (AECIIDS). The KUMSC AECIIDS is an assortment of security sensors and subsystems integrated into an overall security system to provide protection of the KUMSC facilities. The KUMSC AECIIDS at Kirtland AFB NM was designed to protect the underground munitions storage facility which is capable of storing the most current Air Force, Army, and Navy resources.


Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex Albuquerque, New Mexico
General Contractor: M. A. Mortenson
Contact: Tim Comer - Senior Project Manager (719) 531-6804
Owner: United States Air Force, Kirtland Air Force Base
Contact: Bill McCollam - Corps of Engineers (505) 846-4076

Description: Extensive micro processor based security system for 490,000 square foot Underground Munitions Storage Facility and 18,000 square foot Squadron Operations Building.

The electronic security system provided an integrated capacity for the automatic access and circulation control of personnel entering the buildings including detection and warning of attempts to penetrate the facility.

Automated access control consisted of card reader/keyboard access, personal identity verifier devices, security cards, turnstiles, x-ray machines, personnel entry entrapment booths, metal detectors, radiation detectors for vehicles and personnel.

Detection sensors include portal status sensors, interior volummetric sensors, ultrasonic sensors, passive infrared sensors and photoelectric sensors.

CCTV system, includes interior and exterior high resolution/light sensitive/zoom lens/pan and tilt cameras, video switching and video monitors with video sync signal generator and distribution amplifier.

Alarm status consists of portal unsecured, intrusion detection, duress, tamper/failure, contraband detection and entry failed.

Alarm, reporting and display equipment includes security consoles with control units, redundant processors, operator keyboard, printers, CRT status and graphic display.

Security system interfaces with blast doors, automated portals, air dampers, portable water isolation valves, blast sensors, radiation detectors, radios and telephones.

Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex

One of the two entrances to KUMSC.

Color aerials dated March 2002.

Schematic cutaway of KUMSC by the US Army Corps of Engineers, c. 1992.
Source: Tactical Nuclear Weapons: emergent threats in an evolving security environment,
edited by Brian Alexander and Alistair Millar, Brassey's 2003. p. 33.

KUMSC in 1996. USGS photo.