This is an area that I have ponder for some time and was briefly discussed on the Realityuncovered Forum site a few months ago. I briefly floated one of the theories during the recent debates on Billy Cox's DeVoid Blog site, admittedly drawing little interests. Yet, I believe that there is something to gain by looking closely at two potentially competing theories concerning possible UFO activity over the Echo Flight area back in March of 1967.
Let's look at the current popular theory, or at least how I see it. I'll list the pros's and con's, information that supports or does not support each proposed theory.
Theory #1: "Ten ICBMs in the Echo Flight area dropped off alert due to a single UFO sighted over a single Launch Facility."
1) Ear witness (Walter Figel receiving a verbal report from one of the LFs)
2) Possible eyewitnesses (individuals that contacted Figel)
3) Documented evidence that ten ICBMs dropped off alert.
4) Unknown source of EMP noise pulse. (Point of origination questionable?)
5) Positive rumors of UFOs
1) Official A.F. investigation and its conclusion of noise pulse causing logic coupler failure.
2) No eye witness, as of yet, have been identified or have come forward.
3) Command and control design and physical layout of the flight area. All Launch Facility (LF) were completely electrically isolated from one another.
4) Implementation of Boeing Engineering Change Proposal for EMP shielding.
Theory #1's major supportive facts are probably that of Walter Figel hearing of a UFO report concerning one of the LFs as well as the corresponding ten missile shutdowns. The major facts detracting from this theory is the lack of eye witnesses and the design of the command and control system peculiar to Minuteman, that is, the total electrical isolation of all LFs from one another.
The electrical isolation design of a flight's ten LFs greatly hampers this theory because of the difficulties that one UFO would have affecting all ten LFs by hovering over a single LF. By design, all LF harden command and control cables ran only to the Launch Control Center (LCC) for command and control purposes. There were no cables running between one LF to another. This was a deliberate design in case of a nuclear detonation over a single LF would not affect the remaining LFs. This was also true of any accidental or sabotage cutting of a single LF cable system.
Lastly, and just as equally important, was the Boeing Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) and it's subsequent implementation that provided additional EMP shielding to all of SAC's Minuteman wings as a direct response to the aftermath of the Echo shutdown. It should be noted that after this fix was put in place, there were no other full flight shutdowns in any missile wing, including Malmstrom.
Theory #2: "Ten ICBMs in the Echo Flight area dropped off alert due to UFOs over each of the flight's ten Launch Facilities."
1) UFO override of the command and control system allowing access to each LF in the flight was possible. This could have by-passed the LCC's Weapon System Controller.
2) LF electrical isolation is negated.
3) Ten EMP noise pulses could have been sent to each of the ten LFs at roughly the same time.
4) There would have been no effects noted at the LCF/LCC other than what was presented on the crew commander's status console.
5) Documented rumors of UFO activity in the flight area.
1) No eye witnesses, either civilian or military confirmed multiple UFOs in the flight and surrounding area.
2) No documented effects on the commercial power grid supplying electricity to the flight and surrounding area. This would have been expected with EMPs directed at all ten LFs.
3) No documented evidence that the Outer Zone/Inner Zone security system was triggered at any of the unmanned LFs.
The strength of Theory #2 is the by-passing of the command and control system of the LCC and the capability to totally negate the LF electrical isolation design. Where this hypothesis suffers are the lack of eye witnesses to multi-UFO sightings (civilian and military) and no documentation of power outages/fluctuations effecting the commercial power grid for that portion of eastern Montana.
As a side, the issue of the OZ/IZ security system at the unmanned LFs is an interesting question. Would EMP-like pulses have effected the microwave security net installed at each of the ten LFs?
Theory #3: "Ten ICBMs in the Echo Flight area dropped off alert due to one UFO hovering over or near the LCF/LCC."
1) Direct effect on the LCCs command, control, and communications to all squadron LFs
2) This negates the electrical isolation effect of the LFs
1) No documented report or rumor that a UFO had been over or near Echo's LCF/LCC.
2) No eye witnesses.
This theory is the most plausible based on technical and engineering feasibility. The major strength is the ability to affect the LCCs Weapons System Controller and send out signals to each individual LF. This also tracks with the Air Force's investigation of the noise-pulse possibly originating from the LCC. The major facts that hurts this theory is the lack of any documentation or eye witnesses that a UFO was near or over Echo-01.
Since theory #3 is the most feasible theory from an engineering standpoint, based on the then Minuteman I command and control system in place, then what does this mean for the other two remaining theories? The current and popular theory #1 looks good and has numerous supportive areas, but it fails dramatically based upon the lack of corroborating eye witnesses and the LF electrical isolation design. Theory #2 is feasible, but also dramatically falls short due to the lack of eye witness corroborating multi-UFO sightings over each of the ten LFs. Theory #3, an excellent possibility (my opinion), also fails dramatically due to the lack of supportive documentation and eye witness accounting of any sighting of a UFO over or near Echo's LCF/LCC. Therefore, I can only conclude that since none of the three theories are possible then no UFO was the cause of Echo's ten ICBMs to unexpectedly shutdown.