The US has launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a test reentry vehicle, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The United States say that test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is “safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure U.S. allies”.

They are keen to emphasis however that “test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions”.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

“This operational test launch is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that involve multiple partners,” said Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with the team that we partner with to successfully execute this mission. The men and women from the 90th (Missile Wing), 91st (MW) and 341st MWs, 576th FLTS, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and the 30th Space Wing here at Vandenberg, among other mission partners, made this look easy, but it was far from that. Our phenomenal results are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of these proud organizations, and their hard work sends a visible message of deterrence to the world.”

The US say that the test launch is a culmination of months of preparation that involve multiple government partners.

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The last Minuteman must have been built in the late 70’s. Not as old as the B52’s but pretty ancient. Of course they just sit in the ground so don’t get worked like an aircraft.