The US Air Force (USAF) Global Strike Command Airmen tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, on 25 February.

During testing, which is the second test launch in less than a week, the unarmed Minuteman III missile travelled around 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The launch comes amid growing tensions between the US, Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable."

Additionally, it was aimed at verifying accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work was quoted by media sources as saying: "That’s exactly why we do this.

"We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable.

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"And that is a signal that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defence of our country if necessary."

The latest launch follows after the US conducted a similar testing on 22 February.

Recently, DPRK launched a long-range rocket, amidst international criticism.

The US, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, Britain and France, as well as the European Union and Nato, condemned the launch stating that the launch was in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions related to the DPRK use of ballistic missile technology.

However, DPRK claimed the rocket was launched to carry an earth observation satellite.