The Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile and a test re-entry vehicle late Tuesday evening from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The Air Force said the test, whose re-entry vehicle traveled roughly 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, exhibits the United States’ nuclear deterrent is equipped to handle threats, as well as reassure allies.
“Our nation’s ICBM fleet stands ready 24/7,” Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said in an Air Force news release. “Operational tests validate our Minuteman III readiness and reliability. It further demonstrates to our citizens, our allies and our partners that men and women across three missile wings provide credible overwatch with a strategic deterrent that is safe, secure and effective.”
Those involved with the launch include the 90th Missile Wing based out of F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the 91st Missile Wing based out of Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, and the 341st Missile Wing based out of Malstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Additionally, airmen from the 576th Flight Test Squadron supported the launch.
Preparation and planning for these launches occurs six to twelve months ahead of time, and the launch calendars are scheduled up to five years prior. As a result, the Air Force said these launches do not correspond to world events or regional tensions.