The U.S. Air Force says an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile has been launched from California’s central coast in the latest test of the intercontinental system.
The missile blasted off at 11:34 p.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.
“There was a slight delay due to some instruments downrange but it went within the launch window,” said Carla Pampe, chief of civic outreach for Air Force Global Strike Command.
The Air Force says the missile carried a test re-entry vehicle that headed for a target area 4,200 miles away to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The Air Force routinely uses Vandenberg to test Minuteman missiles from bases around the country.
“While ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base almost seem routine, each one requires a tremendous amount of effort and absolute attention to detail in order to ensure a safe and successful launch,” said Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander. “This specific test will provide accuracy and reliability data that is essential to ongoing and future modifications to the weapon system, which are key to improving the already impressive effectiveness of the Minuteman III force.”
This test involved personnel from Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.