Tag Archives: Boeing

Reliability of the ICBM

A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test reentry vehicle August 2, 2017 at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg AFB, California.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrated the U.S.’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles/6,759 km to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

«This operational test launch highlights the commitment and outstanding professionalism of the 90th Missile Wing, the 576th Flight Test Squadron and our mission partners in the 30th Space Wing», said Colonel Dave Kelley, the 576th FLTS commander. «These test launches require the highest-degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force».

F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

«I am extremely proud of the operators and maintainers from the 90th Missile Wing. This task force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) to make this mission a success», said Lieutenant Colonel Troy Stauter, the Glory Trip 223 Task Force commander. «Promoting the deterrence, assurance and strike capability of the Minuteman III could not be done without the dedication, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command».

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the U.S.’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

 

General characteristics

Primary function Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Contractor Boeing Co.
Power plant Three solid-propellant rocket motors: first stage ATK refurbished M55A1; second stage ATK refurbished SR-19; third stage ATK refurbished SR-73
Technologies chemical systems division thrust first stage: 203,158 pounds/92,151 kg; second stage: 60,793 pounds/27,575 kg; third stage: 35,086 pounds/15,915 kg
Weight 79,432 pounds/36,030 kg
Diameter 5.5 feet/1.67 m
Range 5,218 NM/6,005 miles/9,664 km
Speed approximately Mach 23/15,000 mph/24,000 km/h at burnout
Ceiling 700 miles/1,120 km
Date deployed June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
Inventory 450

 

GT-223GM MMIII Media Release

Add Muscle to Chinook

Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company’s Philadelphia site.

Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company's Philadelphia site (Boeing illustration)
Boeing will build and test three U.S. Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the company’s Philadelphia site (Boeing illustration)

A recent $276 million Army contract will fund those helicopters, which will validate technology advancements that will increase the iconic helicopter’s lifting power.

«The Army’s only heavy-lift helicopter exists to deliver decisive combat power for our ground commanders», said Colonel Greg Fortier, U.S. Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters. «The Cargo family is anxious to build upon Col. Rob Barrie’s efforts to establish this critical program and deliver an adaptive air vehicle. Increasing payload capacity today enhances battlefield agility and prepares the Chinook for even greater performance gains in the future».

An improved drivetrain will transfer greater power from the engines to the all-new, swept-tip Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades, which have been engineered to lift 1,500 additional pounds on their own. The current configuration of six fuel tanks – three on each side – will become two, allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel and shed weight. Additionally, the fuselage’s structure will be strengthened in critical areas to allow the aircraft to carry additional payload.

«This latest upgrade for the Chinook fleet is a tribute to the robustness of its original design and exemplifies its 55-year legacy of technological advancements», said Chuck Dabundo, vice president, Cargo Helicopters and program manager, H-47. «The fact that the U.S. Army continues to use and value this platform and they are intending to continue to upgrade it to keep it flying for decades to come is a testament of the capabilities the Chinook team continues to bring».

Boeing will begin building the test aircraft next year. The test program begins in 2019 and first delivery of the Block II Chinook is expected in 2023. Eventually, the Army will upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to Block II configuration.

Electromagnetic Testing

A Boeing-led team, including U.S. Air Force and Naval Air Systems Command representatives, recently completed KC-46 Pegasus tanker electromagnetic testing.

A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)
A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)

This testing evaluates the aircraft’s ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems under mission conditions.

«The KC-46 tanker is protected by various hardening and shielding technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects on the aircraft», said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46 vice president and program manager. «This successful effort retires one of the key risks on the program».

Testing was conducted on the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Naval Electromagnetic Radiation Facility pads and also in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

During tests on the EMP pad at Patuxent River, the program’s second low-rate initial production KC-46 Pegasus received pulses from a large coil/transformer situated above the aircraft. The outdoor simulation was designed to test and evaluate the KC-46’s EMP protection while in flight.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker that is designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

Boeing is assembling KC-46 Pegasus aircraft at its Everett, Washington, facility.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Growler in Australia

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, together with Air Vice Marshal Steven Roberton, Air Commander Australia, on 07 July welcomed the full fleet of EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to RAAF Base Amberley.

Australia has now received all 12 Boeing EA-18G Growler two-seat electronic attack aircraft (RAAF photo)
Australia has now received all 12 Boeing EA-18G Growler two-seat electronic attack aircraft (RAAF photo)

Since the first two Growlers arrived in Australia in February 2017, the fleet has grown to the full twelve aircraft.

Minister Payne said the arrival of the Growler provides a potent and technologically advanced new capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

«We are the only country outside the United States operating the EA-18G Growler and the full fleet arrival represents a significant leap forward in joint electronic warfare capability», Minister Payne said. «This is an amazing achievement for the ADF. These aircraft are able to support the full spectrum of Defence missions, including operations with coalition partners. The EA-18G Growlers will work with Army and Navy to deliver a networked joint force able to manoeuvre and fight in the electromagnetic spectrum. The arrival affirms the Government’s commitment to maintain our capability edge and prepare for the more complex and high-tech conflicts of the future».

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said he was extremely proud of all the personnel who have worked on this project both in Australia and overseas.

«The delivery of this capability shows what our Defence Force members are capable of alongside our U.S. counterparts», Air Marshal Davies said. «The U.S. Navy has been very generous in their training of our aircrew and maintenance teams, and we have cemented our reputation as credible coalition partners. Australian Growlers have already conducted successful weapon firings and integration flights with RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers as part of Operational Test and Evaluation. We have also had the graduation of the first Operational Transition course. Through our partnership with the U.S. Navy we are already planning to keep Growler at the forefront of electronic attack capability throughout the life of the aircraft. I wish to acknowledge the commitment of RAAF Base Amberley, the Estate & Industry Group and the 6 Squadron families who have generated the home of this exciting new aircraft».

The Growler is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet airframe and fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite and radio-frequency jamming pods that enable it to jam enemy systems. It will provide a complementary capability to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

Echo Voyager

Boeing and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) are teaming on the design and production of Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) in support of the U.S. Navy’s Extra Large UUV program.

Boeing, Huntington Ingalls Industries to Team on Unmanned Undersea Vehicles
Boeing, Huntington Ingalls Industries to Team on Unmanned Undersea Vehicles

«This partnership provides the U.S. Navy a cost-effective, low-risk path to meet the emergent needs that prompted the Navy’s Advanced Undersea Prototyping program», said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works. «We are combining Boeing’s preeminent UUV maritime engineering team with our nation’s leading shipbuilder and Navy technical services company to get operational vehicles to the Navy years ahead of the standard acquisition process».

Boeing is currently testing its newest and largest UUV, Echo Voyager, off the Southern California coast. The vehicle is designed for multiple missions and could include a modular payload bay of up to 34 feet/10.36 meters, offering enhanced endurance and increased payload capacity over traditional UUVs. Echo Voyager is fully autonomous, requiring no support vessel for launch or recovery, enabling operation at sea for months before returning to port.

«We look forward to a long relationship with Boeing as we embark together to field this unmanned force-multiplier for the U.S. Navy», said Andy Green, executive vice president of Huntington Ingalls Industries and president of the company’s Technical Solutions division. «I am confident this team will continue redefining the autonomy paradigm for UUVs».

The partnership will leverage design and production facilities in Huntington Beach, California, Newport News, Virginia, and Panama City, Florida, and will offer access to all of the expertise and capability of Boeing and HII.

Experimental Spaceplane

DARPA has selected The Boeing Company to complete advanced design work for the Agency’s Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, which aims to build and fly the first of an entirely new class of hypersonic aircraft that would bolster national security by providing short-notice, low-cost access to space. The program aims to achieve a capability well out of reach today – launches to low Earth orbit in days, as compared to the months or years of preparation currently needed to get a single satellite on orbit. Success will depend upon significant advances in both technical capabilities and ground operations, but would revolutionize the Nation’s ability to recover from a catastrophic loss of military or commercial satellites, upon which the Nation today is critically dependent.

Phantom Express is envisioned as a highly autonomous experimental spaceplane, shown preparing to launch its expendable second stage on the top of the vehicle in this artist’s concept. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is collaborating with Boeing to fund development of the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program (Boeing rendering)
Phantom Express is envisioned as a highly autonomous experimental spaceplane, shown preparing to launch its expendable second stage on the top of the vehicle in this artist’s concept. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is collaborating with Boeing to fund development of the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program (Boeing rendering)

«The XS-1 would be neither a traditional airplane nor a conventional launch vehicle but rather a combination of the two, with the goal of lowering launch costs by a factor of ten and replacing today’s frustratingly long wait time with launch on demand», said Jess Sponable, DARPA program manager. «We’re very pleased with Boeing’s progress on the XS-1 through Phase 1 of the program and look forward to continuing our close collaboration in this newly funded progression to Phases 2 and 3 – fabrication and flight».

The XS-1 program envisions a fully reusable unmanned vehicle, roughly the size of a business jet, which would take off vertically like a rocket and fly to hypersonic speeds. The vehicle would be launched with no external boosters, powered solely by self-contained cryogenic propellants. Upon reaching a high suborbital altitude, the booster would release an expendable upper stage able to deploy a 3,000-pound/1,360-kg satellite to polar orbit. The reusable first stage would then bank and return to Earth, landing horizontally like an aircraft, and be prepared for the next flight, potentially within hours.

In its pursuit of aircraft-like operability, reliability, and cost-efficiency, DARPA and Boeing are planning to conduct a flight test demonstration of XS-1 technology, flying 10 times in 10 days, with an additional final flight carrying the upper-stage payload delivery system. If successful, the program could help enable a commercial service in the future that could operate with recurring costs of as little as $5 million or less per launch, including the cost of an expendable upper stage, assuming a recurring flight rate of at least ten flights per year – a small fraction of the cost of launch systems the U.S. military currently uses for similarly sized payloads. (Note that goal is for actual cost, not commercial price, which would be determined in part by market forces.)

To achieve these goals, XS-1 designers plan to take advantage of technologies and support systems that have enhanced the reliability and fast turnaround of military aircraft. For example, easily accessible subsystem components configured as line replaceable units would be used wherever practical to enable quick maintenance and repairs.

The XS-1 Phase 2/3 design also intends to increase efficiencies by integrating numerous state-of-the-art technologies, including some previously developed by DARPA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. For example, the XS-1 technology demonstrator’s propulsion system is an Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine, a version of the legacy Space Shuttle main engine (SSME).

Once Phantom Express reaches the edge of space, it would deploy the second stage and return to Earth. It would then land on a runway to be prepared for its next flight by applying operation and maintenance principles similar to modern aircraft (Boeing rendering)
Once Phantom Express reaches the edge of space, it would deploy the second stage and return to Earth. It would then land on a runway to be prepared for its next flight by applying operation and maintenance principles similar to modern aircraft (Boeing rendering)

Other technologies in the XS-1 design include:

  • Advanced, lightweight composite cryogenic propellant tanks to hold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants;
  • Hybrid composite-metallic wings and control surfaces able to withstand the physical stresses of suborbital hypersonic flight and temperatures of more than 2,000º F/1,093º C;
  • Automated flight-termination and other technologies for autonomous flight and operations, including some developed by DARPA’s Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program.

XS-1 Phase 2 includes design, construction, and testing of the technology demonstration vehicle through 2019. It calls for initially firing the vehicle’s engine on the ground 10 times in 10 days to demonstrate propulsion readiness for flight tests.

Phase 3 objectives include 12 to 15 flight tests, currently scheduled for 2020. After multiple shakedown flights to reduce risk, the XS-1 would aim to fly 10 times over 10 consecutive days, at first without payloads and at speeds as fast as Mach 5/3,836 mph/6,174 km/h. Subsequent flights are planned to fly as fast as Mach 10, and deliver a demonstration payload between 900 pounds/408 kg and 3,000 pounds/1,360 kg into low Earth orbit.

Another goal of the program is to encourage the broader commercial launch sector to adopt useful XS-1 approaches, processes, and technologies that facilitate launch on demand and rapid turnaround – important military and commercial needs for the 21st century. Toward that goal, DARPA intends to release selected data from its Phase 2/3 tests and will provide to all interested commercial entities the relevant specs for potential payloads.

«We’re delighted to see this truly futuristic capability coming closer to reality», said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO), which oversees XS-1. «Demonstration of aircraft-like, on-demand, and routine access to space is important for meeting critical Defense Department needs and could help open the door to a range of next-generation commercial opportunities».

Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) Phase 2/3 Concept Video

Radar Upgrade

Boeing has completed a series of upgrades that substantially enhance the technological capabilities of Saudi Arabia’s E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

Boeing has supplied extensive radar upgrades for the Saudi Arabian Air Force fleet of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft (Boeing photo)
Boeing has supplied extensive radar upgrades for the Saudi Arabian Air Force fleet of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft (Boeing photo)

Among the enhancements to improve radar capabilities and reduce repair time for the airborne surveillance fleet are systems that increase the original equipment’s radar sensitivity and expand the range for tracking targets.

The upgrades, called the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP), comprise a new radar computer, a radar control maintenance panel and electrical and mechanical software and hardware.

«The AWACS’s main mission is to provide real-time situation awareness, and our teams have stayed true to that mission», said Keith Burns, Saudi AWACS programs manager for Boeing. «The modernized software, multiple radar nodes and overall enhanced operation make this is the most significant upgrade to the AWACS radar since it was developed in the 1970s».

Boeing engineers and technicians performed the installation and checkout of the first upgraded aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle. The remaining aircraft were modified at Alsalam Aerospace Industries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with support of Boeing engineers, technicians and a test and evaluation team.

The RSIP kit is built by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems and has been installed on United States, United Kingdom, NATO and French AWACS fleets.

Boeing delivered Saudi Arabia’s AWACS aircraft between June 1986 and September 1987.

X-37B lands

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 (OTV-4), the Air Force’s unmanned, reusable space plane, landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility May 7, 2017.

The Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 lands at NASA 's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility, Florida, May 7, 2017 (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
The Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 lands at NASA ‘s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility, Florida, May 7, 2017 (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

«Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing as we continue to break barriers», said Brigadier General Wayne Monteith, the 45th SW commander. «Our team has been preparing for this event for several years, and I am extremely proud to see our hard work and dedication culminate in today’s safe and successful landing of the X-37B».

The OTV-4 conducted on-orbit experiments for 718 days during its mission, extending the total number of days spent on-orbit for the OTV program to 2,085 days.

«The landing of OTV-4 marks another success for the X-37B program and the nation», said Lieutenant Colonel Ron Fehlen, X-37B program manager. «This mission once again set an on-orbit endurance record and marks the vehicle’s first landing in the state of Florida. We are incredibly pleased with the performance of the space vehicle and are excited about the data gathered to support the scientific and space communities. We are extremely proud of the dedication and hard work by the entire team».

The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.

«The hard work of the X-37B OTV team and the 45th Space Wing successfully demonstrated the flexibility and resolve necessary to continue the nation’s advancement in space», said Randy Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. «The ability to land, refurbish, and launch from the same location further enhances the OTV’s ability to rapidly integrate and qualify new space technologies».

The Air Force is preparing to launch the fifth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, later in 2017.

Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B program is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft that performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B program is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft that performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

 

General Characteristics

Primary Mission Experimental test vehicle
Prime Contractor Boeing
Height 9 feet, 6 inches/2.9 meters
Length 29 feet, 3 inches/8.9 meters
Wingspan 14 feet, 11 inches/4.5 meters
Launch Weight 11,000 pounds/4,990 kilograms
Power Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells with lithium-Ion batteries
Launch Vehicle United Launch Alliance Atlas V (501)

 

Flight Test Program

Boeing now has six aircraft in its KC-46 Pegasus tanker test program, expanding its ability to complete ground and flight-test activities as it progresses toward first deliveries to the U.S. Air Force.

Newest aircraft is third for testing in full KC-46 Pegasus configuration
Newest aircraft is third for testing in full KC-46 Pegasus configuration

The newest KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft, the second low-rate initial production plane, completed its first flight April 29. Its test activities will help ensure the KC-46 Pegasus can safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems.

«Adding another tanker will help us to become even more efficient and significantly improve our ability to complete test points going forward», said Jeanette Croppi, Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker test team director. «We are also re-configuring one of our 767-2C aircraft into a tanker, which means we soon will have four KC-46 Pegasus tankers in test».

«This first flight is another important step for the KC-46 Pegasus program toward verifying the aircraft’s operational capabilities», said Colonel John Newberry, Air Force KC-46 System program manager. «Adding this aircraft brings key capabilities to the test fleet and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter».

To date, the program’s test aircraft have completed 1,600 flight hours and more than 1,200 «contacts» during refueling flights with General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender aircraft.

The KC-46 Pegasus is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe. The company expects to build 179 tankers in its Everett factory.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Accuracy and reliability

A combined team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, launched an unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle April 26 at 12:03 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The missile used in GT220 launched in the early hours of the morning with a launch command delivered from the Air Launch Control System on a Navy E-6 Mercury jet.

An unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launches during an operational test at 12:03 a.m., PDT, April 26, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark P. Mackey)
An unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launches during an operational test at 12:03 a.m., PDT, April 26, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark P. Mackey)

The ICBM’s re-entry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, approximately 4,200 miles/6,759 km away from the launch site. Test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

«I can’t say enough great things about the partners I share this mission set with», Colonel Craig Ramsey, 576th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) commander, said. «The men and women from the Task Force, the Airmen from my squadron, and our host unit here at Vandenberg made this look easy, but it was anything but that! It’s a testament to the dedication and professionalism of these proud organizations. I’m proud to play a small part in it»!

F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces. The LGM-30G Minuteman III is one of three legs of the nuclear triad, which is also comprised of strategic bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit, as well as submarine launched ballistic missions, provided by U.S. Navy submarines.

«I’m extremely proud of the 16 maintainers and operators from the combined 90th Missile Wing and 341st Missile Wing Task Force who worked hand-in-hand with the 576 FLTS to make this launch possible», said Lieutenant Colonel Tony Rhoades, Task Force commander. «This mission requires a tremendous amount of discipline, training and attention to detail. Our Airmen demonstrated this with true professionalism and proved that the Minuteman III remains the nation’s premier deterrence and assurance capability».

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the LGM-30G Minuteman III and ensures the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

 

General characteristics

Primary function Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Contractor Boeing Co.
Power plant Three solid-propellant rocket motors: first stage ATK refurbished M55A1; second stage ATK refurbished SR-19; third stage ATK refurbished SR-73
Technologies chemical systems division thrust first stage: 203,158 pounds/92,151 kg; second stage: 60,793 pounds/27,575 kg; third stage: 35,086 pounds/15,915 kg
Weight 79,432 pounds/36,030 kg
Diameter 5.5 feet/1.67 m
Range 5,218 NM/6,005 miles/9,664 km
Speed approximately Mach 23/15,000 mph/24,000 km/h at burnout
Ceiling 700 miles/1,120 km
Date deployed June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
Inventory 450