A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle on 21 October at 05:45 Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA.
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.
1st Lt. Daniel Uresti Jr, a 320th Missile Squadron combat crew commander, said participating in a test launch is rewarding as he can see the aspects of missile activities he doesn’t typically get to see.
“To see the components being built up and talk to the maintenance personnel has been extremely rewarding,” said Uresti. “It helps bridge the gap between operator and maintenance terminology and helps us to understand just how difficult their jobs really are…especially when the weather is bad.”
AFGSC’s missile bases have crew members standing alert 24-7 year round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces. Uresti said test launches give the ICBM force an opportunity to show the world that the U.S. has the capability and will to use these weapons should it be necessary.
Test launches are conducted with randomly selected ICBMs from one of three missile bases, located at F.E. Warren, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and Minot AFB, North Dakota. While at Vandenberg AFB, launch teams work under the direction of Air Force Global Strike Command’s 576th Flight Test Squadron and receive launch and range support from Air Force Space Command’s 30th Space Wing.
The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman III.
October 22, 2015