BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle was launched from from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., today at 4:42 a.m. Central time.
The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies. Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a high-fidelity package used for operational testing, 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 test launch is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that involve multiple partners," said Col. Dave Kelley, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander.
"I couldn’t be more impressed with the team that we partner with to successfully execute this mission. The men and women from the 90th MW, 576th FLTS, and the 30th Space Wing here at Vandenberg made this look easy. But it was far from that! It’s a testament to the dedication and professionalism of these great organizations.”
F.E. Warren Air Force Base is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.
"Members of the 90th MW were selected for this task force based on their demonstrated commitment, dedication to the mission and proficiency in maintaining and operating the nation's ICBM force,” said Maj. Travis Hilliard, Task Force commander.
“I’m extremely proud of the team’s ability to prepare the ICBM for the test and monitor the sortie up until test execution. The tasks they have accomplished here have been done with the same level of precision and professionalism as they are every day back in the missile fields in Wyoming."
The ICBM community - including the Defense and Energy departments and U.S. Strategic Command - uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation.
The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.