ICBM test launch terminated
The Space Launch Delta 30 safely terminated an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean at 12:06 a.m. Pacific Time Nov. 1, due to an anomaly during a test launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.
“An anomaly is any unexpected event during the test. 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 to Air Force Global Strike Command.
A launch analysis group is forming to investigate the cause.
The group will include representatives from AFGSC, the 377th Test and Evaluation Group, the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Space Launch Delta 30 Safety Office and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, among other organizations.
“The test launch program helps the command evaluate the Minuteman III and gather data to keep the system effective. The command learns lessons from every test launch. 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,” according to AFGSC.
AFGSC is a major command with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
The command overseas the nation’s three intercontinental ballistic missile wings, including Malmstrom AFB; the Air Force’s entire bomber force, to include B-52, B-1 and B-2 wings, the Long Range Strike Bomber program; Air Force Nuclear Command, Control and Communications systems, and operational and maintenance support to organizations within the nuclear enterprise.
The LGM-35A Sentinel will replace the Minuteman III ICBM with an initial capability of 2029. Until full capability is achieved in the mid-2030s, the Air Force is maintaining Minuteman III remains a viable deterrent.