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U.S. Air Force tests long-range missile to show nuclear readiness

The unarmed missile traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Minuteman III nuclear-capable missile
Minuteman III nuclear-capable missile | @nukestrat

August 17, 2022 7:04pm

Updated: August 17, 2022 8:28pm

The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday tested a nuclear-capable long-range missile, according to the Air Force Global Strike Command quoted by CNN. 

The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at around 12:49 p.m. local time. 

The unarmed missile traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

The routine test helped "to demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," a statement from the Air Force said.

"This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States' nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable, and effective to deter twenty-first-century threats and reassure our allies. Such tests have occurred more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events," the statement continued.

The test was initially scheduled for August 4, said spokesman for the Air Force Global Strike Command Steven Wilson. However, the launch was delayed over concerns about China’s response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

"Make no mistake - our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and our allies around the globe," Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander, said in a statement. 

"This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation's ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland," he continued. 

The Minuteman III is considered to be the only land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad—the other two parts are the Trident submarine-launched missile and nuclear weapons carried by strategic bombers.