The 741st Missile Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., recently conducted a successful simulation of six Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches, according to an Oct. 17 press release. Air Force Global Strike Command usually performs a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman (SELM) twice a year. Maintainers spend more than 1,500 man hours to prepare, execute, and follow up on maintenance actions required to conduct the exercise. “The basic objective of SELM is to assess reliability of the Minuteman III weapon system, to include the Airborne Launch Control System in its deployed environment,” said Lt. Col. Mike Harrison, 741st MS director of operations and SELM test support manager, according to the release. The Air Force also performs live tests of its ICBM fleet, launching missiles from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The most recent live test was conducted in February. Minot Spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Kylee Ashton said the SELM took place Sept. 27-29.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.