The unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a test re-entry vehicle, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Marshall Islands.
The missile, launched at 12:49 a.m. PT, was to “demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” a statement from the U.S. military said. air.
“This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable, and effective in deterring 21st century threats and reassuring our allies. Such tests have had occurred more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events,” the statement continued.
The United States regularly tests its intercontinental weapons system to verify its accuracy and reliability.
“Make no mistake about it, our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and our allies around the world,” Colonel Chris Cruise, commanding officer of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, said in a statement. . “This scheduled test launch is a demonstration of how our nation’s ICBM fleet exemplifies our readiness and weapon system reliability. It is also an excellent platform to showcase the skills and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and missile crews who maintain unwavering vigilance in defense of the homeland.”
The Minuteman III is traditionally known as the only ground stage of the American nuclear triad. The other two parts of the triad are the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile and the nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.