An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched from North Vandenberg Thursday morning as part of a developmental test to demonstrate the ability to integrate a Safety Enhanced Re-entry Vehicle into the Minuteman III weapons system
Staff Sgt. Dwayne Mayberry, 576th Flight Test Squadron, uses a "dogbone" to remove operational items from a Minuteman III booster for the installation of test equipment. 576th FLTS personnel performed all of the maintenance activities for Thursday’s Minuteman III launch, to ensure the safe and accurate collection of data. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Allen L. Puckett)
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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched from North Vandenberg Thursday morning as part of a developmental test to demonstrate the ability to integrate a Safety Enhanced Re-entry Vehicle into the Minuteman III weapons system.
The missile was launched under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Capt. Kelvin Dumas, 576th FLTS, was the launch director. The 576th FLTS commander, Lt. Col. S.L. Davis was the mission director. Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander.
Members of the 576th FLTS performed all maintenance activities including missile emplacement and installation of unique missile tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems to collect test data and meet safety requirements.
In addition, members of the 576th FLTS Top Hand program conducted all missile crew duties for this launch.
“This highly complex operation required a team effort between the 30th Space Wing, the 526th ICBM Systems Wing and the 576th FLTS in order to achieve the required test objectives,” Colonel Davis said.
The missile’s single unarmed re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting a pre-determined target at the Kwajalein Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.
This test continued a long tradition of ICBM test launches that serve to ensure a safe, secure and effective weapon system that is critical to continued global stability.
“This launch was critical to developing the capability to deploy Mark 21 re-entry vehicles on the Minuteman III weapon system and will ultimately improve the safety , reliability and accuracy of the nation’s ICBM force,” said Colonel Davis.