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US tests Minuteman III ICBM after downrange weather delay

Minuteman III test launch
Illustration. Photo: US Air Force

After adverse weather conditions delayed a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on October 28, US Air Force Global Strike Command airmen managed to launch the ICBM equipped with a test reentry vehicle on October 29.

Taking off at 12:27 am Pacific Time Oct. 29 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies,” the air force said.

This is the fourth test launch of the Minuteman III ICBM in 2020. Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions as the launch calendars are built three to five years in advance.

“We have had a busy test launch schedule the last few months, and our team has worked very hard to successfully execute each mission,” said Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander. “Today’s launch sends a visible message of deterrence to the world, and I couldn’t be more proud of the dedication and professionalism of our team.”

“This test took a missile and an incredible team of maintainers and launch crews, all pulled from active missile wings, and that really demonstrates the continued readiness and reliability of both the Minuteman III and the professional men and women who support it,” said Lt. Col. Brock Sargent, Task Force Commander. “Together we make up a weapon system that stands on continuous alert, defending the United States and our allies 24/7, just as we have for the last 50 years.”