The U.S. military said Tuesday it launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The test launch was part of the routine demonstration of U.S. nuclear readiness to provide confidence in the effectiveness and lethality of our nation’s nuclear deterrent, according to a statement from the Air Force Global Strike Command. The Air Force insisted that such tests have occurred more than 300 times before and are “not the result of current world events.”
The U.S. had previously cancelled ICBM testing over increasing tensions with China after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, Axios noted. Testing was also paused in March over increased tensions with Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.
“Our test launches are scheduled well in advance and are not reactionary to world events,” Task Force Commander Maj. Armand Wong said in the statement. “A meticulous planning process for each launch begins six-months to a year prior to launch. Our best Airmen from each of the three missile wings worked in conjunction with the 576th Flight Test Squadron to proudly showcase some very technical skills that comprise the heart of our nuclear deterrence mission.”
US Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM during an operational test this morning from Vandenberg SFB, sending a reentry vehicle ~4200 miles to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Previous tests this year were scrubbed out of fears of escalating tensions w Russia. pic.twitter.com/OTaALTgvPu
— W.J. Hennigan (@wjhenn) August 16, 2022
“Make no mistake — our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe,” 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander Col. Chris Cruise said in the statement. “This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland.” (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Proves It’s Pretty Easy To Smuggle Bombs Into Europe)
The ICBM launched Tuesday is made by Boeing and has a range of 6,000 or more miles at roughly 15,000 miles per hour, Reuters reported.
“The ICBM’s reentry traveled around 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands,” the statement noted.