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April 4, 2022

US cancels ICBM test amid Ukraine conflict

Initially, the Biden Administration postponed the launch to defuse tensions with Russia.

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

The US has cancelled an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, Reuters reported quoting a US Air Force (USAF) spokesperson.

The Minuteman-III ICBM test was originally slated to take place in March 2022.

However, the Biden Administration postponed the launch to defuse tensions after Russia placed nuclear forces on high alert following the launch of a military operation on Ukraine.

The USAF spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the decision to cancel the test was taken for the same reason.

Stefanek was further quoted by the news agency as saying: “The Air Force is confident in the readiness of the strategic forces of the US.”

The next Minuteman-III test is now slated for later this year.

Last month, commenting on the nuclear deterrent of the country, Pentagon press secretary John F Kirby said: “We remain confident in our strategic posture, as we’ve said before, and our ability to defend the homeland and our allies and partners remain fully intact and ready.”

The nuclear-capable Minuteman III missile has a range of more than 9,660km, making it a key weapon system in the US arsenal. It can travel at a speed of nearly 24,000km/h.

According to the USAF, the missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against potential attacks.

In September last year, Boeing secured a $1.6bn 18-year contract to continue supporting the USAF’s Minuteman III ICBM’s guidance system. Most of the works will be performed at Boeing Guidance Repair Center in Ohio, US.

Currently, the ICBM inventory includes 400 Minuteman III missiles.

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