NEWS | Oct. 11, 2012

Another year, another SELM test complete for the Mighty Ninety

By Senior Airman Mike Tryon 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. - Mighty Ninety Airmen conducted a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman test, also known as a SELM here, Sept. 25-27.

Air Force Global Strike Command conducts SELM tests twice yearly to evaluate the readiness of Minuteman III ICBM forces, in support of its mission to provide a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force for the President of the United States and Combatant Commanders.

Giant Pace 12-2M, the operational name for this SELM, confirmed that test-configured missiles and their supporting ground equipment were ready to respond to launch as were other critical commands from launch control centers, including the airborne launch control center.

"A successful test such as this doesn't happen overnight," said Lt. Col. Matthew Dillow, 321st Missile Squadron commander and SELM test support manager. "It takes a cohesive team working together closely to ensure we meet the test objectives in a safe manner.

"A SELM is the most complete test of the operational capability of our ICBMs, from day-to-day operation to issuance of the first-stage ignition signal," Dillow added.

A successful SELM occurs due to the involvement of many on- and off-base agencies.

"Continuing to provide a nuclear deterrent front throughout the duration of the SELM really is a joint effort," Dillow said. "On-base personnel who help make this a success include defenders, personnel from the command post, safety, bioenvironmental engineers, operators, civil engineers, logisticians and maintainers.

"Off-base support is provided by the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. ," he added. "The 576th is involved from the initial planning stages to the completion of the final report. "

SELMs test ICBMs while they are in their deployed locations — the operational bases — without actually launching missiles. An Operational Test Launch, conducted at Vandenberg AFB using test launch facilities and launch control centers, features an actual launch of a missile.

Both SELMs and OTLs are overseen by the 576th FLTS and are components of the ICBM Force Development Evaluation program. The FDE program verifies the operational effectiveness and reliability of the weapon system.

"It's been a pleasure executing Giant Pace 12-2M with the men and women of the 90th Missile Wing," said Capt. Brian Sump, 576th FLTS test manager. "Their dedication and expertise guaranteed our ability to once again demonstrate the significant capabilities of the Minuteman III weapon system. "

Warren's next scheduled SELM is to take place the spring of 2014.