The US Air Force (USAF) has reportedly aborted the test flight of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) after the weapon demonstrated an ‘anomaly’ in flight, officials said.
Launched from the USAF’s Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) in California, the flight of the unarmed ICBM was terminated over the Pacific Ocean, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Currently, airforce officials have established a launch analysis group to investigate the reason behind the missile’s abnormality in flight.
Air Force Global Strike Command was quoted by AFP as saying: “An anomaly is any unexpected event during the test.
“Since anomalies may arise from many factors relating to the operational platform itself, or the test equipment, careful analysis is needed to identify the cause.”
USAF personnel carry out test launches of the Minuteman III missiles from the Vandenberg AFB on a regular basis.
During tests, unarmed re-entry vehicles are sent to a target area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in order to evaluate the missile weapon system’s readiness, effectiveness and precision, reported The Defense Post.
First rolled out in 1970, the Minuteman III ICBM was the first multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle to be deployed with the airforce.
The missile has the ability to carry three smaller warheads.
The USAF intends to use the missile until at least 2030, which will then be replaced by the service’s new ground-based strategic deterrent.
The last successful operational test launch of the unarmed weapon system was carried out on 14 May at Vandenberg AFB.