An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from North Vandenberg Air Force Base launch facility April 7 at 6 a.m...
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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from North Vandenberg Air Force Base launch facility April 7 at 6 a.m.
The missile was sent from the 564th Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Mont. The launch was part of a developmental test to demonstrate the weapon system’s effectiveness in a stressed environment on extended range.
The missile's single, unarmed re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 5,100 miles, hitting a pre-determined water target near Guam in the Northern Mariana Islands.
“This test launch evaluated the reliability and accuracy of the operational Minuteman III ICBM force in order to ensure the weapon system maintains the capability to deter, and if necessary, defeat our nation’s potential adversaries,” Colonel Davis said. “This is critically important as the MM III is the only remaining ICBM and forms the basis of our nuclear deterrence through its ability to instantly respond when directed by the President.”
The data collected will be used by the entire ICBM community, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.
The reliability and accuracy data will also be used by United States Strategic Command planners.
“The mission of Vandenberg Air Force Base is first and foremost launch operations,” said Colonel Weinstein. “We take tremendous pride in that mission and nobody does it better.”