The U.S. military conducted a successful nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile test Wednesday, just days after North Korea conducted its own ICBM test.
The U.S. Air Force launched a Minuteman III from the Air Force’s North Vandenberg Air Force Base just before dawn. The launch follows the successful test of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM, which experts and intelligence officials assess can strike American cities across the country.
The test was planned in advance and was not a direct response to North Korea’s actions, but it undoubtedly sent a message.
“While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies,” the Air Force said in a statement, according to ABC News.
The U.S. conducted another ICBM test in April, demonstrating a “strong, credible nuclear deterrent.”
The Minuteman ICBM system has been in service for around 60 years, and through upgrades and improvements, this elite weapon system continues to meet the needs of the U.S. military. “These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities,” Colonel John Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, told WRAL after the April test. America’s ICBMs are reliable and extremely capable. North Korea is not expected to have a reliable, nuclear-armed ICBM until next year.
North Korea has conducted two ICBM tests, escalating the threat to the U.S. and its allies.
In response to the latest North Korean ICBM test, the U.S. military conducted precision strike drills with South Korean troops and sent B-1B bombers soaring over the Korean Peninsula to remind North Korea that allied conventional forces have superior capabilities better than anything North Korea can now field or will deploy at some point in the future.
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