Thursday, September 26, 2013

Minuteman III test missile launches from Vandenberg

by Air Force Global Strike Command
Public Affairs

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched during an operational test at 3:33 a.m. (PDT) today from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., marking the second successful Minuteman test launch this week.

The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, included task force members from 20th Air Force's 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and 91st Missile Wing, Minot AFB, N.D.

"This test launch -- the second in less than a week -- is a visible demonstration of the nation's safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent," said Col. Scott Fox, 20th Air Force vice commander. "That deterrent is more than just the physical missile and associated hardware.

"A weapon system is only as capable as those who operate and maintain it, and the Airmen of 20th Air Force, from the 90th and 91st Missile Wings, as well as the test experts from the 576th Flight Test Squadron performed exceptionally throughout the entire test launch process," Fox said.

The ICBM test launch program supports U.S. strategic deterrence policy as outlined in the 2010 Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review by demonstrating the operational credibility of the Minuteman III.

Agencies across the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy will use the data collected from this mission to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

The United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent is a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends.