U.S. News U.S. military test fires unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from...

U.S. military test fires unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from California

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The U.S. military carried out a test of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday to “provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.”

Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ryan Quijas

Aug. 16 (BP) — The U.S. military carried out a test of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday to “provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.”

The unarmed Minuteman III ICBM was launched at 12:49 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County, Calif., according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.

“Make no mistake — our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe,” 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander Col. Chris Cruise said in a statement.

“This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland.”

The unarmed ICBM carried a test re-entry vehicle and traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

More than 300 tests of the Minuteman ICBM system have been carried out, with the Air Force noting that this one was scheduled “well in advance” and that these tests “are not reactionary to world events” — including recent geopolitical tensions with China and Russia.

Air Force officials said the test verifies the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system.

Tuesday’s test comes as China on Monday started new military drills around Taiwan, coinciding with the arrival of another U.S. congressional delegation to Taipei.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, 22 Chinese military aircraft and six naval ships breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Sunday, just as the delegation led by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., arrived on the island.

The Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command all use data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation, the military said.

The Boeing-built LGM-30G Minuteman ICBM is an element of the American strategic deterrent forces under the control of the Air Force Global Strike Command.

The current ICBM force consists of 400 Minuteman III missiles spread across three separate military bases.

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