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Minuteman III launch successful

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Launch Facility-04 on North Vandenberg at 1:22 a.m. June 14.

The primary purpose of the launch was to assess and demonstrate the operational effectiveness of the Minuteman III weapon system.

The missile’s three unarmed re-entry vehicles traveled approximately 4,800 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting pre-determined targets at the Kwajelin Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands. The 90th Space Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., provided the missile from its inventory.

Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander. Lt. Col. S.L. Davis, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director.

"While ICBM launches from Vandenberg almost seem routine, each one requires a tremendous amount of effort and absolute attention to detail in order to accurately assess the current performance and capability of the nation's fielded ICBM force that is always on-alert in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska," Colonel Davis said. “This specific test will provide key accuracy and reliability data for on-going and future modifications to the weapon system, which are key to improving the already impressive effectiveness of the Minuteman III force.”

The data collected from the mission will be used by the entire ICBM community, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

“Each successful launch provides information critical in maintaining and improving our superior space force,” Colonel Weinstein said. “It’s important that each Airman who sees one of these launches, knows that he or she helped make that happen, regardless of their specialty.”

The reliability and accuracy data will also be used by United States Strategic Command planners to ensure effective employment of the Minuteman III, should it be required.