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Joint Military Team Performs Test Launch of Unarmed Minuteman III ICBM

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A joint team of service personnel from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy conducted on Tuesday a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from an airborne control center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The test is part of routine activities meant to demonstrate the capability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent program to deter threats, the Air Force said Tuesday.

Airmen from Air Force Global Strike Command teamed up with Navy personnel to test the ICBM equipped with a test reentry vehicle, which traveled about 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system,” said Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander.

“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,” added Cruise.

The Air Force plans to replace Minuteman III with the LG-35A Sentinel Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system, which is expected to reach initial capability status by 2029.