ICBM performs for top official ?

seruriermarshal

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ICBM performs for top official

After a seven-month delay, and with a high-ranking audience on hand, a Minuteman 3 missile carrying a dummy warhead blasted off Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The departure from an underground silo on North Base occurred as the six-hour launch window opened at 3:01 a.m.

Air Force officials said the weapon’s lone re-entry vehicle traveled about 4,200 miles southwest of Vandenberg to hit its target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean.

The crew had a high-level audience for this mission as Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley observed the test. Donley, the Air Force’s top civilian, arrived Tuesday morning for a visit that lasted less than 24 hours.

“Team Vandenberg’s coordination was phenomenal, resulting in a seamless launch operation,” said Col. Steven Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander. As the “launch decision authority,” he gave the final green light to proceed with blastoff.

Vandenberg regularly tests unarmed ICBMs to collect data on the weapon system’s accuracy and reliability.

This was the first intercontinental ballistic missile test launch under Air Force Global Strike Command, a group that was created after a series of snafus involving other bases that work with nuclear weapons.

Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron, which is responsible for prepping ICBMs for launch from the base, was moved under the umbrella of the new organization.

“For more than 50 years, Vandenberg has been at the forefront of testing and improving ICBMs to ensure the readiness and reliability of our fleet,” said Col. Carl DeKemper, the 576th’s commander. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring a safe, secure and effective combat-ready ICBM force.”

Wednesday’s mission launched seven months late because of a serious technical problem involving the missile that required a replacement ICBM to be installed.

A task force from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., returned to Vandenberg to handle missile operations and maintenance duties.

“This is a historic Air Force first, as it is our very first launch under Air Force Global Strike Command,” officials said prior to blastoff. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring a safe, secure and effective combat-ready ICBM force. We’re looking forward to continuing our legacy of excellence as part of the Air Force Global Strike team and making our own unique contributions to strengthening the nuclear enterprise.”

Anti-nuclear groups called the test provocative, noting that it came weeks after the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

“It will send a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. has money to burn on unusable weapons systems,” said David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. “This will not make the U.S. one bit safer and will demonstrate to the world that we remain reliant on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.”

Wednesday’s test was the first of two Minuteman 3 missiles scheduled to launch from Vandenberg this month. Another is set for June 30.

http://www.lompocrecord.com/news/local/military/article_3fd14c52-79d7-11df-be69-001cc4c03286.html

Any more information ?
 

sferrin

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Bit of a misleading title don't you think? It's not like they launched the missile just for the VIP.
 

seruriermarshal

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sferrin said:
Bit of a misleading title don't you think? It's not like they launched the missile just for the VIP.

Or they test new RV ?

BTW , they test 4 Trident II D5s last week , that's strange .

From Commander, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- USS Maryland (SSBN 738) (Gold) conducted two Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test (FCET) resulting in the successful flight of two Trident II D5 missiles, June 8 and 9.

The missile flights of FCET-42 and FCET-43 mark the 131st, 132nd, 133rd and 134th consecutive successful Trident II D5 and provide valuable information on operational reliability, accuracy, and performance factors of the missile system.

The Trident II D5 fleet ballistic-missile is the latest generation of submarine launched ballistic missiles following in the success of the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident I C4 programs; providing increased firepower, flexibility, and assurance to the strategic deterrence mission.

Maryland's outstanding performance during the FCET's demonstrates that the ballistic missile submarines remain ready and vigilant, in a secure and survivable posture, able to rapidly respond to national tasking. The stealth, agility, payload and persistence of the submarines, in combination with the skill of the submariners, keep the SSBNs undetectable and, therefore, the only survivable nuclear deterrent platform in the United States arsenal.

An FCET starts with a currently underway submarine being randomly chosen to launch a missile; the scenario is set just as if the action was necessary for national defense. While conducting their normal patrol, Maryland receives the message to launch their missiles. The boat returns to its homeport to convert from a tactile weapons configuration to a test configuration and returns to sea. The submarine and crew receive a training message to launch their missiles. The crew mans Battle Stations Missile and the ultimate test of the most powerful missile in the fleet begins.

The event is videotaped, watched live in Washington and monitored by Navy Strategic Systems Program (SSP). SSP is the Navy's manager for all aspects; development, manufacture and support of the Trident weapons systems. The test is conducted to verify the reliability of the missile and its launch systems. The missile is targeted to a special weapons range and there are a number of safety features and redundancies in place to insure the missile stays on its predetermined course.

"The Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Naval Ordnance Test Unit, Lockheed Martin and a number of contractors all make a huge effort to ensure the safety and realism of this test," said Lt. Cmdr. Shaun Servaes, weapons officer, Submarine Squadron 20. "An SSBN crew's mission is deterrence but this test of their weapons' system is proof that if called upon for national defense, they are ready."

The successful launches add to an already impressive list of achievements for the "Fighting Mary" which was awarded the 2009 Battle "E" ,the second consecutive award for Maryland, Engineering "E", Communications "C", Damage Control "DC" and the Navigational "N" for excellence in those departments.

The submarine also earned the prestigious Omaha Trophy, presented by United States Strategic Command for 2008, in recognition of Maryland's Blue and Gold crews combined superior effort in maintaining Maryland at the highest level of readiness and safety.

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=54063
 

bobbymike

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I wonder what the major technical issue that caused the first test missile to be replaced? Time for a more aggressive push for a MMIII replacement based on state of the art systems and incorporating new guidance, RV (MaRV?) etc. technology.
 

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