US Air Force today test launched an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile on a flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean.
The mission was part of a program to test the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system. The missile lifted off at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, various media reported Wednesday.
"Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of the US nuclear force and to demonstrate the national nuclear capabilities," the 30th Space Wing commander, Col. John Moss, said.
In a Minuteman test, a so-called re-entry vehicle moves more than 4,000 miles downrange to a target at Kwajalein Atoll near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
"Team V is once again ready to work with Air Force Global Strike Command to successfully launch another Minuteman III missile," Moss said.
"These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities.
The 576th Flight Test Squadron will be responsible for installed tracking, telemetry, and command destruct systems on the missile.