Anomaly causes termination of Malmstrom ICBM during test launch

An intercontinental ballistic missile and crew from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base participated in a test launch this morning.

The 30th Space Wing safely terminated the unarmed missile over the Pacific Ocean at 4:42 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time during the test from Vandenberg AFB in California due to an anomaly.

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An anomaly is any unexpected event during the test, according to Air Force Global Strike Command, Malmstrom’s parent command.

“Since anomalies may arise from many factors relating to the operational platform itself, or the test equipment, careful analysis is needed to identify the cause,” according to AFGSC.

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A launch analysis group is forming to investigate the cause, according to AFGSC.

The group will include representatives from AFGSC, the 576th Flight Test Squadron, 30th Space Wing Safety Office and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, among other organizations.

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The test launch program helps AFGSC evaluate the Minuteman III ICBM and gather data to keep the system effective. The command learns lessons from every test launch, according to AFFGSC.

Gathering data from the launch allows AFGSC to identify and correct any issues with the weapon system to ensure the Minuteman III’s continued reliability
and accuracy.

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.