Early Wednesday morning, the US test fired an unarmed LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, the mainstay of its ground-based nuclear forces.
The missile was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast and traveled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll, located in the US Marshall Islands.
“These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” the Air Force said in a press release.
The Air Force released a video of the launch, showing the concrete protective doors of the missile silo slamming open and the 60-foot-long rocket blasting its way upward, as well as one of its rocket stages being shed once it’s well into the air.
It is the fourth such test this year. Global Strike Command typically conducts only two tests per year.
“The flight test program demonstrates one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system,” Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in the release. “The Minuteman III is nearly 50 years old, and continued test launches are essential in ensuring its reliability until the mid-2030s when the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is fully in place. Most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors.”
However, the press release also notes that “test launches are not a…