EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The 53rd Wing brought its test and evaluation mission here to the McKinley Climatic Lab in March to test an air-launched cruise missile.
The ground testing was part of Air Force Global Strike Command’s Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program or NucWSEP. The wing’s geographically separated unit, the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, executes the annual program and its personnel were on hand for the testing here.
“In addition to operational test, modernizing the B-52 fleet, NucWSEP and these functional ground tests are key components of our mission,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Guasco, 49th TES commander.
During the tests, the ALCM is flown on a test stand in a climate-controlled chamber with temperatures ranging from -55 degrees to +120 degrees to simulate free flight.
Throughout the four-hour test, the ALCM sends data to 49th TES technicians. Squadron members operate the test station that emulates the B-52 during the missile launch sequence and monitor missile performance.
This type of testing provides engineering data to augment the assessment of weapon system’s reliability, suitability and supportability normally accomplished via flight testing. It also increases confidence in a weapon system that is one of the backbones of global deterrence.
“It’s because of the men and women of the 49 TES and our Eglin partners that enable us to put these weapons to the test, ensuring they stay effective throughout their lifespan and beyond, directly supporting the NDS,” said Guasco.