LF-10, Vandenberg AFB CA
10:03:00Z, 19 Aug 2015
Vandenberg - Kwajalein, 4200 miles.
===Minot conducts ICBM test launch on 45 year Minuteman III anniversary
Capt. Christopher MesnardAir Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- It was 45 years to the day that the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, put the U.S. Air Force’s first Minuteman III missiles on alert. Today, the 91st MW completed an operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg AFB, California, continuing its mission providing strategic deterrence for the United States and our allies.
Working with members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, the Minot team launched the ICBM today at 3:03 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The test reentry vehicle impacted in a pre-established test area roughly 4,200 miles away in the Pacific Ocean near the Kwajalein Atoll.
“Launching an ICBM under operational conditions is a whole team effort, and that’s what we bring out here to replicate the scenarios in the field as close as possible,” said Lt. Col. Eric Thompson, 91st MW Task Force commander. “The operations and maintenance crews who come out here with us know the job they’re doing back home is important, and actually coming out here to launch an unarmed missile really solidifies the job we do every day with nuclear deterrence.”
Prior to each operational test launch operations and maintenance crews from the supporting missile wing reassemble the missile, pull alert duties and, finally, launch the Minuteman III.
“It’s very exciting getting the opportunity to do [the launch], but it’s definitely going to be a team effort with our Minot crews, the space wing and 576th all working together,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Shea, 741st Missile Squadron assistant flight commander. “The launch itself is going to ensure that the missile is going to do what it was designed to do, and it’s good to see that, because we don’t get this every day.”
All test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system and provide valuable data to ensure the platform remains a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, but this launch in particular offered a sense of longevity and persistence the mission the Minuteman III community has experienced over the past 45 years.
The former 741st Strategic Missile Squadron at Minot AFB originally brought the first Minuteman III missiles on alert in 1970 just one day after another ICBM anniversary, the first test launch of an operationally configured Minuteman II missile in 1965. That Minuteman II launch also took place at Vandenberg AFB, stressing the role the base holds in the strategic deterrence testing and evaluation mission.
"Vandenberg has hosted the operational test launch program for over five decades, and it's here that we really have a chance to demonstrate the effectiveness and operational capabilities of our weapon systems," said Col. Craig Ramsey, 576th FLTS commander. "Putting all the pieces together, to make a launch happen, seems simple after the fact, but we have teams from Minot working with personnel from our test and evaluation squadron and the 30th Space Wing. It truly is a complex mission to get an asset from the operational unit, add test and safety packages to it, and ensure all facets of the mission are test-ready -- but it's handled by professionals who are the best in the world at their job."
Air Force Global Strike Command’s new commander Gen. Robin Rand was also on hand to see the Airmen in action for the test.
“I’m truly impressed by the knowledge, the skills and the teamwork that our Airmen demonstrated during this test launch,” said Gen. Robin Rand, AFGSC commander. “When I think of the value of these types of tests have played over the years, I think of the messages we send to our allies who seek protection from aggression and to adversaries who threaten peace. I also think about the American people we’ve sworn an oath to protect; people like my grandchildren who count on us to get this right. We can’t let them down.”
Currently, Air Force Global Strike Command oversees the nation’s more than 400 ICBMs across Minot AFB; F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; and Malmstrom AFB, Montana, all of which randomly select ICBMs from their missile fields to perform operational test launches like this one.
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at 3:03 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Aug. 19, 2015, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile was randomly selected from Minot AFB, N.D. 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. 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. U.S. Strategic Command and 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. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Davila)
Minuteman mission remains successful on 50th anniversary
Posted 8/18/2015 Updated 8/18/2015 Email story Print story
by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio
30th Space Wing Public Affairs
8/18/2015 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In 1962, Lt. Gen. Bernard Schriever, commander of Air Force Systems Command, was tasked with naming the latest intercontinental ballistic missile developed to keep pace with the Soviet Union and their long-range ballistic missiles.
The missile's original name was planned to be "Sentinel", but the connection between solid fuel's ability to "launch in a minute" and America's always ready Minutemen, posed too great of an opportunity to pass up. Schriever chose the name "Minuteman" as a nod to American history.
On Aug. 18, 1965, the first Minuteman II missile launched successfully from an operationally configured silo here at Vandenberg. Now, five decades later, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of that significant accomplishment.
"The Minuteman ICBM was planned, and proved to be, an efficient, mass-produced, simple, and survivable missile capable of targeting multiple objectives," said Shawn Riem, 30th Space Wing historian. "Such a weapons system helped close the perceived missile gap with Soviet Russia. Minuteman ICBMs cut time-to-launch from hours to minutes - a feat very important in the early days of the Cold War."
The continued testing of the weapons system is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
"Since the conception of the Minuteman weapon system during the Cold War to today, the testing at Vandenberg has provided a means of nuclear deterrence for our nation's enemies and security for our nation's allies," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Wiens, 576th Flight Launch Test Squadron electronics laboratory leader task supervisor. "Since the 1960s, the Minuteman weapon system has preserved our way of life and helped secure the United States' interests - both domestic and abroad."
Documenting these historical milestones provides proof of the consistent and continued success in accomplishing a key national defense mission at Vandenberg.
"The preservation of the Minuteman's history helps sustain our nuclear heritage and pride in the fact we have been accomplishing the mission successfully for over 50 years," said Wiens.
That preservation begins with collecting and archiving data from past missions - both positive and negative.
"The 576th FLTS has collected data on all previously launched Minuteman vehicles," said Wiens. "The data is evaluated and used to improve the weapon system through modifications and keep the Minuteman a sustainable and viable option in the future. The data collected will also help ensure that previous mistakes will not be repeated."
Fifty years after its inception, the Minuteman mission continues to withstand the test of time - thanks to its dedicated predecessors and their successors.
"I think most importantly, we can learn from it," said Riem. "We can gather information from the past, what we did and what the other guy did, and gauge if our response to events was effective. We can use past events to plan new ways to respond to prolonged conflicts or repeated environmental events, like hurricanes or wildfires. Knowing our history, having some understanding of what we did and why, helps us understand why things are as they are today, and it can help us to not take things for granted."
NAVAREA XII 281/15
EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 0931Z TO 1800Z DAILY
19 THRU 24 AUG IN AREAS BOUND BY:
A. 34-32N 123-52W, 34-35N 123-52W,
34-42N 122-40W, 34-39N 122-39W.
B. 34-18N 125-29W, 34-29N 125-31W,
34-37N 124-16W, 34-26N 124-14W.
C. 32-18N 138-01W, 32-28N 138-04W,
32-38N 137-15W, 32-28N 137-12W.
D. 14-47N 174-07E, 15-20N 175-43E,
14-21N 176-05E, 13-47N 174-29E,
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 241900Z AUG 15.//
Authority: WESTERN RANGE OP W4733 010107Z AUG 15.
Date: 140907Z Aug 15
Cancel: 24190000 Aug 15
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 190901Z TO 191701Z AUG,
ALTERNATE 200925Z TO 201725Z AUG
IN AREAS BOUND BY
A. 09-16N 167-21E, 09-23N 167-33E,
09-34N 167-19E, 09-41N 167-27E,
10-05N 168-12E, 09-22N 168-36E,
08-58N 167-50E, 08-55N 167-39E,
B. 14-30N 170-12E, 14-30N 173-12E,
10-48N 173-12E, 10-48N 170-30E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 201825Z AUG 15.//
Authority: USAKA KWAJALEIN OP 361-1 121940Z AUG 15.
Date: 140858Z Aug 15
Cancel: 20182500 Aug 15