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Minuteman III Missile Takes Flight From Vandenberg AFB

The ballistic missile, equipped with a simulated re-entry vehicle, is launched in a test of the weapon system

An unarmed global strike command Minuteman III missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday morning as an operational test.

The intercontinental ballistic missile — equipped with a simulated re-entry vehicle — was launched at 3:07 a.m. from Launch 10 on North Vandenberg to verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command officials.

The 30th Space Wing Western Range safety operations went as planned during the flight test.

“Today, Team Vandenberg and our mission partners’ teamwork delivered another successful launch from America’s West Coast spaceport,” Col. Brent McArthur, 30th SW vice commander, said in a statement. “The men and women of team V, Air Force Global Strike Command and other mission partners, worked tirelessly to provide safe and accurate operations. This dedication and cooperation resulted in another mission success.”

The 576th Flight Test Squadron directed the launch team, which included crew members from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB in Montana and crew members from the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB in Nebraska on board the Airborne Command Post E-6B aircraft.

The launch was initiated by crew members on the aircraft employing the Airborne Launch Control System, according to a Vandenberg release.

“Every successful test launch is the culmination of a tremendous amount of teamwork and preparation,” Col. David Lair, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement. “The data we receive from these tests is vital in ensuring a safe, secure and effective ICBM force.”

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.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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