VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Prime Team, led by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), participated in the 200th scheduled operational test launch of an ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), Calif., on June 16, 2010.
Designated Glory Trip 200GM-1, the launch at 3:01 a.m. PDT marked more than 40 years of demonstrated accuracy, availability and reliability of Minuteman III on-alert deterrence.
The launch was supported by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. It carried a single, inert reentry vehicle atop a fully modernized booster, guidance set and post-boost vehicle, all programs managed through the ICBM Prime Team. The missile traveled approximately 4,800 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting a target in the Ronald Reagan Test Site near Kwajalein Atoll in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.
“The Prime Team is proud to support the U.S. Air Force in its execution of this successful operational test launch program that continues to demonstrate the ongoing exceptional performance of the ICBM weapon system,” said Tony Spehar, vice president and program manager for the ICBM Prime Integration Contract (IPIC).
“Minuteman III has been alert ready for nearly four decades. We help the Air Force ensure the weapon system remains a credible deterrent force now and far into the future,” Spehar noted. “Each and every day, Prime Team personnel assist with collecting and evaluating data for every aspect of weapon system readiness. Flight tests are part of this ongoing assessment that ensures the ICBM force of 450 Minuteman missiles will continue to provide critical capabilities for deterrence of our adversaries and assurance for the United States and its allies.”
Operational test launches assess and demonstrate the effectiveness of the weapon system. U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command and Twentieth Air Force make every effort to maximize the operational realism in the conduct of each flight test.
To meet this objective, the ICBM Prime Team delivers information regarding site selection for test assets and reviews flight test hardware configuration. Prime Team activities are performed before, during and after each ICBM test launch for the 526th ICBM Systems Group at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, which strives to obtain as much performance information as possible to analyze and evaluate the “health” of the Minuteman weapon system.
Flight testing of the Minuteman III began in August 1968 during the development of the missile. The first follow-on operational test launch, GT1GM, occurred on March 23, 1971, at Vandenberg AFB.
Northrop Grumman’s ICBM Prime Integration Contract program is headquartered in Clearfield, Utah, and employs more than 700 people, including teammate and subcontractor personnel. The ICBM Prime Team includes three principal teammates – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, ATK and more than 20 subcontractors.
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