US Minot Air Force Base test-launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with test re-entry vehicles.
A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 91st Missile Wing at US Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, launched the missile on Feb. 8 at 11:39 p.m. Pacific Standard Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, US Air Force announced Thursday.
The ICBM's reentry vehicles, which contained telemetry packages used for operational testing, travelled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.
Minot AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.
“This Task Force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 FLTS to make this mission a success,” Maj. Neil Copenhaver, GT221 Task Force commander, said.
The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation.
The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the US’ ability to maintain a nuclear deterrent as a key element of US national security and the security of US allies and partners.