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Malmstrom crews conduct simulated launch of ICBM - KRTV.com | Great Falls, Montana

Malmstrom crews conduct simulated launch of ICBM

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The Simulated Electronic Launch Minuteman, also known as SELM, took place near Harlowton in central Montana. The Simulated Electronic Launch Minuteman, also known as SELM, took place near Harlowton in central Montana.
During the SELM, missile crews blow a 100-ton launch door to make sure it works properly. During the SELM, missile crews blow a 100-ton launch door to make sure it works properly.

NEAR HARLOWTON --  Crews from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base conducted a test on Tuesday of a Minuteman III launch facility. 

The Simulated Electronic Launch Minuteman, also known as SELM, took place near Harlowton in central Montana. 

The test is designed to assess the reliability of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile weapon system, and is the most in-depth test assessment of a deployed ICBM system. 

Two launch control centers and six launch facilities from the 490th Missile Squadron were used for this test. 

Malmstrom has been preparing for the SELM for the past few months. 

During the SELM, missile crews blow a 100-ton launch door to make sure it works properly. 

This is a two-day test in which crews from both launch control centers and the airborne launch control system validate their capabilities. 

The first test was late last month, when crews launched an unarmed Minuteman III missile into the Pacific Ocean from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast. 

We'll have the results of these tests later this week.  

Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt of the 341st Missile Wing's public affairs office provided the following information:

 "A great deal of teamwork, professionalism and expertise in each team member's area is critical to a successful test," said Lt. Col. Scott Fleming, 490th Missile Squadron assistant director of operations. "There are a lot of moving parts to bring this test together," he continued.

Airmen from Malmstrom partnered with test personnel from the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg to coordinate all the planning, training, launch facility and launch control center preparations, and a myriad of logistical details, he added.

Taking place every other year, these tests are conducted between the three ICBM wings within AFGSC and evaluate all of the weapon system's functions, stopping right before first-stage ignition.

Coupled with Minuteman missile launches from Vandenberg, the data gathered from these tests provides leaders throughout the command with invaluable information.

"This displays to our allies and potential adversaries that the Minuteman system is still viable and provides awesome deterrence for the nation every day," said Col. Tom Wilcox, 341st Missile Wing commander.

As a safety precaution, the two LCCs and six LFs involved in Malmstrom's SELM were detached from the rest of the squadron.

"Facilities tested during the SELM are electrically isolated from the operational squadron with a special configuration that accounts for safely testing in the operational missile field," said Fleming.

For those who made the three and a half hour trip to launch facility K-09, the propelling of a 100-ton launcher closure door into a sand berm was the pinnacle of the event.

Airmen shouting, "that was awesome," could be heard clear across the LF by those in attendance as the sliding of 100 tons of concrete and steel into a twelve-foot-high berm signaled the end of the test.

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