US test fires Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

5:31:00 PM
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle today at 3:36 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Every test launch verifies the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, included Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

"A lot of work and preparation goes in to an operational test launch from the teams on both bases," said Lt. Col Tytonia Moore, 90th MW, Task Force commander. "With these launches, we not only verify our processes and the ICBM weapon system, we provide a visual to the world that the Minuteman III is capable of striking pretty much anywhere with extreme precision."

"The role we play here is vital to the testing and evaluation of the Minuteman III program," said Col. Kelvin Townsend, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "We ensure the facilities and framework are in place to conduct operational test launches in a safe and secure manner with multiple team players contributing to the reliability of the test."

F. E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24-7 year round, overseeing the nation's 450 ICBM alert forces.

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command will use the data collected from this mission for continuing force development evaluation.

The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at 3:36 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, March 23, 2015, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile was randomly selected from F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. as a part of the system's operational test and evaluation program, which provides valuable data to evaluators and validates the reliability of the ICBM fleet.

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