September 7, 2016

Malmstrom tests Minuteman III with launch from Vandenberg

Carla Pampe
Barksdale AFB, La.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test Sept. 5, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test re-entry vehicle Sept. 5 from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

The ICBM’s re-entry 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.

“I can’t say enough great things about the partners I share this mission set with,” said Col. Craig Ramsey, the 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. “The men and women from the 341st MW task force, the Airmen from my squadron, and our host unit here at Vandenberg (AFB) made this look easy, but it was anything but that. To put all of this together for an on-time launch following an enormous reconfiguration of range assets that took six months to complete … it’s simply a testament to the dedication and professionalism of these proud organizations. I’m proud to play a small part in it.”

Malmstrom AFB is one of three missile bases with crewmembers standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

The ICBM community, including the Defense Department, the Energy Department 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 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.

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