Test launch uses missile from Minot AFB’s missile wing
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A team of Air Force Global Strike Command airmen launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle at 12:27 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The missile came from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, with men and women supporting the launch from all three Global Strike Command missile wings as well as the 576th Flight Test Squadron.
The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies.
“Like previous test launches, this event demonstrated the Air Force’s commitment to the nation’s nuclear enterprise while ensuring the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, and effective to deter our adversaries while reassuring our allies and partners,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. “We must continue to invest in this viable deterrent, and the airmen who support this mission, as part of the most responsive leg of our nuclear triad.”
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled about 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 ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation.
The launch calendars are built three to five years in advance, and planning for each individual launch begins six months to a year prior to launch. Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.