The U.S. Air Force launched an unarmed nuclear-capable long-range ICBM missile off the coast of Vandenberg California on Tuesday. The missile traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Marshall Islands. The launch was intended to demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, according to Air Force Global Strike Command officials. “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,” Air Force officials said in a statement.”Such tests have occurred more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events,” they added.
A US military spokesman told CNN in August that a planned missile test was postponed over concerns about China’s response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan. The US regularly tests its intercontinental weapon system to verify its accuracy and reliability, Col. Chris Cruise said in a statement. “Make no mistake – our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe,” Cruise said. “This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system.”
The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is traditionally known as the only land-based leg of the United States’ nuclear triad. The other two parts of this triad are the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.