US nuclear-armed Minuteman III missile damaged due to human error

24 January 2016 (Last Updated January 24th, 2016 18:30)

The US Air Force (USAF) has revealed that the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was damaged due to maintenance errors by three airmen in 2014.

Minutenman3launch

The US Air Force (USAF) has revealed that the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was damaged due to maintenance errors by three airmen in 2014.

In a statement reported by ABC News, the USAF said: "While maintenance personnel were troubleshooting the issue, a mishap occurred that resulted in approximately $1.8m of damage to the missile.

"The incident did not result in any injuries, prevent the Air Force from meeting its ICBM requirements, or create a hazard to public safety."

The LGM-30G Minuteman III was reported to be dysfunctional on 16 May 2014.

"The incident did not result in any injuries, prevent the Air Force from meeting its ICBM requirements, or create a hazard to public safety."

However, the damages are believed to not have posed any risk to public safety.

The USAF added that it has strengthened technical guidance, modified training curriculum, and shared information with the other missile wings regarding the conditions that led to the mishap.

Manufactured by Boeing, the ground-based ICBM designed to deliver nuclear warheads represents one component of a nuclear triad that is complemented by the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and by nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bomber aircraft.

Having entered operational service with the USAF in 1968, the missiles are currently located in silos at the 90th Missile Wing at Warren AFB in Wyoming, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB in Montana and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB in North Dakota, US.


Image: A Minuteman III being launched. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.