BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. An operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Minot Air Force Base is scheduled for Tuesday between 5 and 11 a.m. local time from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
The missile's unarmed single re-entry vehicle is expected to travel about 4,190 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
"These tests provide us the opportunity to demonstrate the readiness of the ICBM force," said Col. Richard Pagliuco, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "Every test provides valuable data regarding the accuracy and reliability of the weapon system."
The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, includes crew members from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB. Maintenance and operations task force members from the 91st Missile Wing have also conducted operational tasks in support of the launch.
Air Force Global Strike Command's 576th Flight Test Squadron is responsible for tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile, which collect mission data and ensure safety requirements are met.
Data collected further validates and verifies the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system while providing valuable information to assist the Air Force in sustaining and modernizing the Minuteman III through 2030.
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 agencies consider the United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent to be a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies.
The 91st Missile Wing is a unit of Air Force Global Strike Command. The command's headquarters are at Barksdale AFB.