The US Air Force on Wednesday tested an unarmed nuclear-capable long-range missile, according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic 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.
“These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” the statement said.
The US regularly tests its intercontinental weapon system to verify its accuracy and reliability. The missile was launched at 1:26 a.m. PT. Such tests have occurred over 300 times and is “not the result of current world events,” according to the statement.
“The U.S. nuclear enterprise is the cornerstone of security for the freedom of the American people and our allies around the world,” said Col. Chris Cruise, 377th Test and Evaluation Group Commander. “This test launch sends a visible message of deterrence on behalf of our joint forces and global partners, and I couldn’t be prouder of the professionalism of the Airmen and Guardians who comprise this mission.”
The US had notified Russia in advance of the test, according to the Pentagon.
“In accordance with standard procedures, the United States has transmitted a pre-launch notification pursuant to the Hague Code of Conduct and notified the Russian government in advance per our existing bilateral obligations,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a press briefing Tuesday.
The Minuteman III is traditionally known as the only land-based leg to the US nuclear triad. The other two parts of the triad are the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.