On Wednesday, September 6th, the United States conducted a test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which has the capability to carry nuclear warheads. The test launch occurred in California.
Vandenberg Air Force Base Launches the Test
The United States Air Force Global Strike Command confirmed that it launched the unarmed missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 01:26 local time. The missile traveled a distance of 4,200 miles to reach the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
“This test launch demonstrates our continued commitment to the defense of the United States and our allies,” stated Commander of US Air Force Global Strike Command, Thomas A. Bussiere, on their official website.
According to the US Air Force Global Strike Command statement, they have conducted tests of this nature more than 300 times. The purpose of these tests is to validate the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM system, providing valuable data to ensure continuous and secure nuclear deterrence.
The US Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the US Strategic Command will use the data from this launch test to further evaluate and enhance the capabilities of their missile systems.
Meanwhile, Colonel Chris Cruise, Commander of the 377th Air Base Wing, stated that the test launch also serves as a message to deter unwanted attacks on the United States.
“The test launch is a visible demonstration of our national nuclear capabilities and sends a message of deterrence to our adversaries and to our allies,” Cruise said.
Cruise also expressed his pride in the personnel who successfully executed the test launch.
The US Department of Defense, also known as the Pentagon, claimed to have notified Russia about the test in accordance with established procedures and international agreements.
“As per standard procedure, the US has sent pre-launch notifications in accordance with the Hague Code of Conduct and notified the Russian government beforehand, as required by our bilateral obligations,” stated Pat Ryder, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, as reported by CNN.
Minuteman III: A Land-Based Nuclear Deterrent
The Minuteman III missile is traditionally known as the only land-based intercontinental ballistic missile in the United States’ nuclear arsenal. The US possesses two other types of nuclear delivery platforms: Trident ballistic missiles launched from submarines and long-range strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons.
This successful test reaffirms the United States’ commitment to maintaining a credible and effective nuclear deterrent. It also underscores the importance of rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure the continued reliability of its ICBM systems.