The US Air Force Global Strike Command has launched an unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with a test re-entry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, US.
The launch was carried out by the airmen from the 90th Missile Wing under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron. It was aimed at verifying the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.
90th Missile Wing task force commander lieutenant colonel Tytonia Moore said: "With these launches, we not only verify our processes and the ICBM weapon system, we provide a visual to the world that the Minuteman III is capable of striking pretty much anywhere with extreme precision."
576th Flight Test Squadron commander colonel Kelvin Townsend said: "The role we play here is vital to the testing and evaluation of the Minuteman III programme.
"We ensure the facilities and framework are in place to conduct operational test launches in a safe and secure manner, with multiple team players contributing to the reliability of the test."
Data collected from the latest launch is expected to be used by the ICBM community, including the defence department, the department of energy, and US Strategic Command for continuing force development evaluation.
The ICBM test launch programme demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman III and ensures the US’ ability to maintain a strong, credible, nuclear deterrent as a key element of its national security and the security of its allies and partners.
Boeing is the manufacturer of Minuteman III. The rocket is a ground-based, long-range, solid-fuel, three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile designed to carry single or multiple nuclear warheads.
The missile forms one component of a nuclear triad that is complemented by the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile, and by nuclear weapons carried by a long-range strategic bomber aircraft.
Image: An unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Joe Davila.