The US Air Force on Tuesday
tested an unarmed nuclear-capable
long-range missile, according to the
Air Force Global Strike Command.
The unarmed Minuteman III
intercontinental ballistic missile,
equipped with a test reentry vehicle,
was launched from Vandenberg Air
Force Base in California and traveled
4,200 miles to a test range near the
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 Air Force said.
“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 to deter twentyfirst
century threats and reassureour allies.
Such tests have occurred
more than 300 times before, and this
test is not the result of current world
events,” the statement continued.
The launch was originally scheduled
for August 4, according to Steven
Wilson, a spokesman for AF Global
Strike Command, but it was delayed
over concerns about China’s response
to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
visiting Taiwan, CNN confirmed. A US
official told CNN at the time that it was
a “prudent step.”
The US regularly tests its
intercontinental weapon system to
verify its accuracy and reliability.
“Make no mistake – our nuclear triad
is the cornerstone of the national
security of our country and of our
allies around the globe,” Col. Chris
Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron
Commander, 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
The Minuteman III is traditionally
known as the only land-based leg
to the US nuclear triad. The other
two parts of the triad are the Trident
submarine-launched ballistic missile
and nuclear weapons carried by longrange strategic bombers.
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