49th TES conducts ALCM Functional Ground Test launches

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Savanah Bray
  • 53d Wing
The 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron conducted four functional ground tests of the Air Launched Cruise Missile at McKinley Climatic Lab, Eglin AFB, Fla., during the month of March. 
The 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron is tasked with executing Air Force Global Strike Command’s Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program, known as “NucWSEP,” which includes eight Air Launched Cruise Missile evaluations per year: six stockpile-to-target live launches and two Function Ground Test launches, though four were conducted this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020. 
“During the Functional Ground Test launches, the ALCM is “flown” on a test stand in a climate-controlled chamber with temperatures ranging from -55 degrees to +120 degrees to simulate those experienced in free flight,” explained Mr. Robert Arends, Instrumentation Supervisor, 49 TES.
Throughout the four-hour FGT mission profile, the ALCM is instrumented by 49 TES technicians to facilitate data collection, and members of the 49 TES both operate the test station that emulates the B-52 during the missile launch sequence and monitor missile performance. 
“In addition to conducting all important operational test, continuously modernizing the B-52 fleet, NucWSEP and these functional ground tests are key components of our mission” said Lt. Col. Matthew Guasco, commander, 49th TES. “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.” 
The implementation of FGT, which began in 2007, provides critically needed additional engineering data to augment the assessment of Weapon System Reliability, suitability, and supportability normally accomplished via flight testing. This enhanced assessment increases confidence in a weapon system that is one of the backbones of global deterrence. 
For more information, contact 1st Lt Savanah Bray, Public Affairs Advisor for the 53rd Wing at 850-598-3283 or savanah.bray@us.af.mil

The 53rd Wing provides tactical advantage to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. By testing new, operational capabilities, evaluating fielded capabilities, and optimizing electronic warfare capabilities, the 53rd Wing is bringing the future faster while answering the warfighter’s demands for integrated, multi-domain capabilities.