The US military on Tuesday test-fired an unarmed Minuteman-3 (a long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile) intercontinental ballistic missile to ‘validate and verify’ the nuclear weapons system’s effectiveness and safety, the US military said. News from NBC.
The test was conducted at 12:49 p.m. local time from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California.
“These test launches demonstrate the readiness of the US nuclear force and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” NBC quoted Col. Brian Titus, vice commander of Space Launch Delta 30, as saying.
The launch helped verify the security, safety performance and readiness of the weapon system, the military said in a statement.
Minuteman missiles have formed the basis of US land-based nuclear capabilities for 60 years. Tuesday’s test was previously postponed to avoid escalating tensions with China over Taiwan. But in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island of Taiwan on August 2, China has begun several military exercises.
The test launch was also canceled in April due to concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin would see it as an escalation amid Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Department of Defense Deputy Press Secretary Todd Brasiel said at the time, ‘The Department of the Air Force recently canceled a regularly scheduled test flight of an LG-30G Minuteman-3 missile. The launch was previously delayed due to extra precautions to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication during the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine.’
The Air Force typically tests four Minuteman-3 rockets a year. They are planned months or sometimes years in advance. It is very rare for a test to be canceled or postponed due to concerns that a launch could be provocative.