An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched early Tuesday morning over 4,000 miles from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command announced.
The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and readiness of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.
Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander, was the launch decision authority.
“This launch demonstrates that we are able to provide the range support needed to facilitate this test during peacetime operations in the midst of COVID-19 operations,” said Mastalir. “Signifying that our nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, reliable, effective and ready to defend the United States and our allies.”
The Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been on alert since 1962, serving as the most responsive element of the nation’s nuclear deterrence triad by remaining safe, secure and effective. Boeing has partnered with the U.S. Air Force to design, develop, produce, deploy and sustain the reliable Minuteman fleet since 1958, working as a team to successfully accomplish the mission of strategic deterrence.
The Minuteman III ICBM is an element of the nation’s strategic deterrent forces under the control of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The current ICBM force consists of Minuteman III missiles at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.