The U.S. Airforce has launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California in the latest in a series of tests.
The Minuteman III ICBM was equipped with a test reentry vehicle and was launched at 12.27 a.m. on October 29, according to an Air Force news release.
Officials stressed that the test was planned well in advance and was not a reaction to current events.
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle travelled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, at the speed of 15,000mph. A single Minuteman III costs $7 million.
‘The launch calendars are built three to five years in advance, and planning for each individual launch begins six months to a year prior to launch,’ according to the release.
‘Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.’
The latest in a string of such tests, the launch aimed to demonstrate that the U.S. nuclear deterrent is a ‘safe, secure, reliable and effective’ means to deter modern threats and reassure allies, Air Force officials said.
‘Like previous test launches, this event demonstrated the Air Force’s commitment to the Nation’s nuclear enterprise while ensuring the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, and effective to deter our adversaries while reassuring our allies and partners,’ said Air Force Chief of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., in a statement.
‘We must continue to invest in this viable deterrent, and the Airmen who support this mission, as part of the most responsive leg of our nuclear triad.’
A video released by the Airforce showed the missile launching from a silo after a cover slid back.
Smoke is seen coming out of the hole in the ground before a flash of light is seen as the missile blasts out of the silo and into the air above the base.
Another camera angle – far back from the launch site – shows the missile as its propelled into upwards, leaving a trail of flames across the night’s sky.
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Source: Daily Mail