The US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has launched an unarmed LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as part of routine test activities. 

Equipped with a test re-entry vehicle, the ICBM was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California on 9 February.

Personnel from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base (AFB) supported the test.

After being launched, the LGM-30 ICBM’s re-entry vehicle travelled for around 4,200 miles towards the Kwajalein Atoll near the Marshall Islands.

AFGSC commander general Thomas Bussiere said: “A test launch displays the heart of our deterrence mission on the world’s stage, assuring our nation and its allies that our weapons are capable and our airmen are ready and willing to defend peace across the globe at a moment’s notice.”

The latest test provided valuable data to the service and validated that the weapon system can deter and defeat the existing and future adversaries to safeguard the nation and to ‘reassure the allies’.

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Such periodic test activities are conducted by the US Air Force (USAF) to showcase the readiness, effectiveness and accuracy of the country’s nuclear deterrent and forces.

The AFGSC informed that this test was not a result of any recent global events and that the service has executed similar tests for more than 300 times before.

A similar Minuteman III test launch was carried out by the AFGSC in August last year.

Headquartered at Barksdale AFB, the AFGSC is one of the major USAF commands, responsible for managing the US’ three ICBM wings.

Personnel assigned under AFGSC’s missile bases are prepared round-the-clock and year-round to oversee the US’ ICBM alert forces.

The existing Minuteman III ICBMs will be replaced by the LG-35A Sentinel strategic deterrent.