Military News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Malmstrom AFB prepares for SELM

by Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/27/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Maintaining the nuclear triad requires an enormous amount of manpower, technology, skill and determination. For Air Force Global Strike Command, the mission of sustaining the land-based leg of this nuclear defense hails as one of the most challenging and important undertakings, aside from providing the nuclear deterrence itself.

As part of this maintenance, AFGSC conducts intercontinental ballistic missile operational tests and evaluation on an annual basis to ensure system readiness. Components are put through a rigorous series of checks to ensure maximum operability.

One such test is a Simulated Electronic Launch Minuteman, which provides the most in-depth assessment of a deployed ICBM system.

"SELM provides the most complete test of the deployed ICBM force from crew commit actions through issuance of the Minuteman first stage ignition signal," said Lt. Col. Scott Fleming, 490th Missile Squadron assistant director of operations.

For Malmstrom AFB, preparation for the successful launch of the installation's upcoming SELM, designated GP 15-1M, has been months in the making.

"Two SELMs are conducted each year, with each of the three ICBM bases conducting one approximately every other year," said Fleming. "Testing typically occurs over two test days where crews from both launch control centers and the airborne launch control system validate their capabilities."

For a complete evaluation of these missile systems, data from operational test launches at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and SELM tests in the command's missile fields is combined and reviewed.

The success of these tests is a direct result of the hard work of Airmen throughout the command. From the men and women in the field setting up the groundwork for a test to be launched, all the way up to the commanders coordinating assets and manpower, every individual is a critical component.

"Success of a SELM directly falls on the backs of our Airmen and the hard work they put into this effort," said Fleming. "A successful SELM can only take place after a great deal of work is done, well in advance of the specific test dates."

As Airmen at Malmstrom partner with personnel from the 576th Flight Test Squadron from Vandenburg, the planning, training and myriad of logistic details bring us ever closer to the completion this very important undertaking, he said.

"Together, our Wing One maintainers, defenders, operators and support personnel have us ready for GP 15-1M," said Fleming.

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