Malmstrom missile to be used in Tuesday test launch

An operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled for July 31 between 12:01-6:01 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The missile was pulled from the 341st Missile Wing’s complex and the test is being done by a crew from Malmstrom AFB, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.

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Operational test launches of the Minuteman ICBM provide data to military planners and holistically test the weapon system, procedures and airmen from the initial mission planning to the final weapon employment phases, according to AFGSC.

For test launches, missiles are pulled from missile complexes at the three U.S. missile bases and transported to Vandenberg. A crew from the base where the missile was pulled also travels to Vandenberg to conduct the test.

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The launch calendars are built three to five years in advance and the tests are not related to any real world events, according to AFGSC.

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Preparation for each individual test launch begins six months to a year prior to launch.

The last test was May 14 and the Air Force typically schedules four tests annually.