Sep 272016

Yeah, we’ve all seen videos of ICBM launches. But how many videos have you seen of the *other* end of the flight, with the RV’s smacking into the target zone? This video documents a launch of a Minuteman III from Vandenberg AFB in California to the impact of the three warheads (w/o nukes) in Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

It’s just plain impressive to see those RVs come screaming in, glowing so hot that they light up the clouds.

 Posted by at 2:49 pm
  • brightlight

    There was a youtube video, removed I think, that was taken by some Russian soldiers at the Kamchatka impact range watching the RV’s coming in.

    • vilhelm_s

      Maybe this one?

      But I think this video that Scott linked to is particularly impressive, because you can literally see the RVs hit the ground (and closely spaced, too!).

      • brightlight

        That’s it and you’re right about the other one being great.

        There’s a site that has stories about the USAF crews that flew the Cobra/Rivet flights out of Shemya and tried to record the Soviet test RV’s as they came in. Lots of great stories including ones about ‘Lisa Ann/Rivet Amber’ that had a monster radar put into one side of the -135.

      • publiusr

        Lovely. Maybe ISIS will see some conventional versions of those one day.

  • John Campbell

    It has always been my impression that operational minuteman silos were single use designs. Were the flight test silo(s) at Vandenberg reused or did the Air Force have to dig a new hole for each shot?

    • brightlight

      They refurbish the silos after a shot.

  • xvdougl

    I got some snark from a silo schlub (I was in the air to ground biz). He said, “I work on nuclear weapons not bottle rockets,” Now I think they give that missile badge (pocket rocket) to any wrench dragger that has ever seen an AIM-9. Back in the day if your missile didn’t come with the ability to make instant sunshine then you had to settle for the Munitions Maintenance Badge. End of old fart rant.

    • publiusr

      You never really see video of re-entry up close except for these warheads.

      I’d really like to see two scaled down OTVs:
      With the wide heatshields re-enter together, with cameras on each pointed at the other vehicles, so as to see what re-entry really looks like close up.