Launch Party

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Air Force photo

A missile-launch crew pretends to launch a Minuteman ICBM during a Simulated Electronic Launch - Minuteman, or SELM, test earlier this year.

This simulated war thing is catching on. For the past 20 years, the U.S. hasn’t exploded a single atomic warhead to see if the stockpile remains potent. Instead, computer simulations under the so-called Stockpile Stewardship Program supposedly guarantee our nukes remain nasty.

Now comes word that the Air Force is conducting SELMs – Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman tests. It turns out the Air Force conducts SELM tests twice yearly to evaluate the readiness of Minuteman III ICBM forces.

“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,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dillow, commander of the 321st Missile Squadron, told Senior Airman Mike Tryon of the 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs shop.

The latest SELM, which took place Sept. 25 at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, was dubbed Giant Pace 12-2M (where do they come up with these names?)

Simulated nuclear detonations? Simulated nuclear-tipped ICBM launches? Add simulated nuclear war to that list, and we’d have a triad you could believe in.