The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The unarmed nuclear-capable long-range missile, equipped with three test reentry vehicles, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and traveled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
“The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and readiness of the weapon system,” the command said.
The missile test comes as concerns over nuclear security have once again mounted amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and flagging relations between Moscow and the West.
The Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is an element of the nation’s strategic deterrent forces under the control of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The Minuteman is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. Missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews, consisting of two officers, perform around-the-clock alert in the launch control center.