VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. - A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 3:37 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time May 20.
Source: U.S. Air Force
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.
Every test launch verifies the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective deterrent for as long as nuclear weapons exist. 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, and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
Maj. Jacqueline Sartori from the 90th Missile Wing served as the Task Force commander for the launch.
"Operational test launches are an amazing opportunity for our Airmen to see the results of their hard work first-hand," Sartori said. "This launch will help us verify the reliability of our ICBM weapon system and processes."
The launch was initiated by crew members from the 625th STOS, aboard the U.S. Strategic Command Airborne Command Post E-6B aircraft employing the Airborne Launch Control System.
Lt. Col. Grayson Higby, 625th STOS commander, said everyone on the test launch team always looks forward to the end result. "The test marks the culmination of dedicated individual effort as well as effective coordination between multiple DoD organizations," Higby said.
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.