A Minuteman Double Shot

Air Force missileers conducted an exceptional second unarmed Minuteman III operational test launch in less than a week from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., March 27, Air Force Global Strike Command announced. “These launches are a visible reminder to both our adversaries and our allies of the readiness and capability of the Minuteman III weapon system,” Lt. Col. Daniel Hays, 341st Missile Wing task force commander from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., said in a release. “Launching multiple missiles in close proximity to each other adds an extra amount of realism to the operational test mission we fulfill,” he added. AFGSC regularly launches several inert ICBMs a year as part of its operational assurance activities for the Minuteman III weapons system and actually has “two more launches scheduled for this fiscal year,” AFGSC spokeswoman Capt. Michele Rollins told Air Force Magazine. Staging launches close together also took advantage of in-place Navy range support and was “far more efficient” than one-off testing, she added. Missileers from Malmstrom’s 341st Missile Wing and Vandenberg’s 576th Test Squadron conducted the March 27 launch. A launch crew from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., fired the previous test shot from Vandenberg on March 23.