The United States launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle at 1:13 a.m. on the 2nd of October from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
According to the United States Air Force in a release, “the test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats and reassure our allies”.
They also stress 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. The US say that 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”.
“The flight test program demonstrates one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system,” said Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander.
“The Minuteman III is nearly 50 years old, and continued test launches are essential in ensuring its reliability until the mid-2030s when the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is fully in place. Most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors.”