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Minuteman III launch scheduled

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- An unarmed operational test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled to launch between 3:01 and 9:01 a.m. July 27 from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle is expected to travel approximately 4,200 miles southwest to the Kwajalein Atoll.

"The launch process requires tremendous teamwork and involves months of preparation," said Lt. Col. David W. Lair, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "The data gained from these launches allows us to maintain a high readiness capability and ensures operational effectiveness of the most powerful weapons in the nation's arsenal."

Air Force Global Strike Command's launch team, under the direction of the 576th FLTS, includes crew members from the 341th Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., who will launch the missile from Missile Alert Facility 01A. Maintenance and operations task force members from the 341th Missile Wing have also conducted operational tasks in support of the launch.

The 576 FLTS is responsible for installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile which collect data and ensure safety requirements are met.

The 30 Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB provides range support for every ICBM test launch.

The entire ICBM community, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, will use the data collected from this mission for continuing force development evaluation.