Earlier this week—and after 12 days of delay—the United States Air Force conducted a test of an unarmed a single intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). In a press release, Air Force Global Strike Command revealed the 576th Flight Test Squadron launched the Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Space Force Base, in California.
Squadron commander Col. Chris Cruise said, in the release that this test demonstrates the nuclear triad, and this includes the ability to launch nuclear ballistics from submarines, which can then be dropped from nuclear-capable bombers like the B-2 Spirit. Apparently, this is the cornerstone of national security for both the US and her allies.
He notes, “This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. 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.”
Also mentioned in the release, the ICBM had been specifically outfitted with a test reentry vehicle, which safely splashed down in the Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, which is roughly 4,200 miles away from the launch point. The command also said the test successfully verified the accuracy and reliability of the Minuteman III. It also produced worthwhile data that will aid in ensuring the country’s nuclear deterrent is not only effective but also as safe and secure as possible.
Global Strike Command made sure to note that this test launch relied on several months of preparation, which is why it had been twice delayed. After everything that went into setting this up, the White House announced a delay during a controversial visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China had ostensibly objected to her visit and, to demonstrate their obstinance, launched nearly a dozen missile strikes off the coast of Taiwan.