National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA’s Defense Programs leaders join Air Force for Minuteman III missile launch test

February 14, 2017

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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Feb. 20, 2016, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

NNSA’s Defense Programs leaders joined Air Force Global Strike Command for the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Feb. 8 as part of regular development evaluation activity to verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system.

NNSA’s Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton joined airmen from the 91st Missile Wing as they launched the missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"NNSA-DOD mission partnership across all phases of nuclear deterrent operations, to include operational test, strengthens our national defense with a safe, secure and effective deployed nuclear force," Lutton said.

On Feb. 8 at nearly midnight, the unarmed missile took off, equipped with test reentry vehicles containing telemetry packages used for operational testing, and traveled more than 4,000 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Assistant Deputy Administrator for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation in NNSA’s Defense Programs Dr. Kathleen Alexander was also present for the test launch.

Watch a video of the launch: