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Air Force Puts Minuteman III ICBM Through Operational Test

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Minuteman III ICBM
Minuteman III ICBM

A major command of the U.S. Air Force launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday in an operational test aimed to demonstrate weapon system readiness, safety and effectiveness.

Air Force Global Strike Command conducted the unarmed ICBM test launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California after months of preparation with multiple partners across the government, AFGSC said Wednesday.

The system's reentry vehicle, called Hi-Fidelity Joint Test Assembly, set off conventional explosives before the downrange missile hit the water surface near the Marshall Islands' Kwajalein Atoll.

U.S. Strategic Command and the departments of Defense and Energy will use data from the ICBM test launch in force development assessments.

The demonstration event showcased the operational capability of the country's strategic weapon system to support the national nuclear deterrence approach, AFGSC noted.