Missileers launched an inert Minuteman III ICBM on a validation flight over the Pacific Ocean from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Monday, announced Air Force Global Strike Command. A crew from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., worked in tandem with Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron for the test mission. “A lot of work and preparation goes in to an operational test launch from the teams on both bases,” said 90th MW Task Force Commander Lt. Col Tytonia Moore. “With these launches, we not only verify our processes and the ICBM weapon system, we provide a visual to the world that the Minuteman III is capable of striking pretty much anywhere with extreme precision,” she added. AFGSC conducts several of these test shots annually as part of its overall Minuteman III weapons system assurance testing. The Air Force delayed the launch to allow airmen time to correct a telemetry link used for these test launches.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.