Pentagon announces another test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile TOMORROW
Pentagon announces new test of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile TOMORROW in latest step in arms race against China and Russia
- Pentagon Says It Will Test a Minuteman III Missile on Wednesday
- A spokesman said Russia had been notified of the launch – in line with security checks
- Previous tests have been delayed by rising tensions with Russia and China
- The test is to ‘demonstrate the readiness of the US nuclear forces’
- The ICBM is launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California
The United States will test a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday, the Pentagon has announced, and has informed Moscow of its impending launch.
A Pentagon spokesman said the test was routine and intended to demonstrate the readiness of the US military’s ICBM arsenal.
It is the latest in a series of launches, some of which have been postponed to avoid escalating tensions with China over Taiwan and with Russia waging war in Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said on Wednesday that an unarmed missile will be launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“This launch is a routine test, which was planned well in advance and consistent with previous tests, this ICBM launch will validate and verify the effectiveness and readiness of the system,” he said.
He added that Russia had been notified, in accordance with treaty obligations.
This image shows an earlier launch of a Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missile is an important part of the US nuclear arsenal
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gene. Patrick Ryder announced the test on Tuesday and said the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin had been notified
“The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to demonstrate the preparedness of the US nuclear forces and instill confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the country’s nuclear deterrent,” he added.
The Minuteman III is an essential part of the US military’s strategic arsenal.
The nuclear missile has a range of over 6,000 and can travel at speeds of up to 25,000 miles per hour.
Development of the original Minuteman began in the 1950s and takes its name from the colonial Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War, who were ready to fight at short notice.
A test was postponed last month after China deployed dozens of planes and fired missiles near Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.
White House security spokesman John Kirby said the postponement decision was made by President Joe Biden.
“While China is destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is instead demonstrating the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by mitigating the risks of miscalculations and misconceptions,” he said.
The test launch of an ICBM from Vandenberg Space Force Base in August can be seen above. The test was postponed earlier this month to avoid escalating tensions with China
The Minuteman III traveled 4,200 miles from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, California to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands
That angered Republicans, who accused the White House of trying to calm Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping’s “tantrums.”
“These flaccid, flimsy attempts at reconciliation hurt our willingness and will only lead to further aggression by our adversaries,” said House Armed Services Committee Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL).
The test was eventually conducted with a 12-day delay.
The Minuteman III’s return vehicle traveled 4,200 miles from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, California to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, officials confirmed.
Minuteman III nuclear missile: The $7 million warhead that can travel 6,000 miles at 15,000 mph
The Minuteman III makes up the United States’ land-based ICBM of the nation’s nuclear triad, along with the submarine-launched ballistic missile Trident (SLBM) and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.
It is a strategic weapons system that uses a ballistic missile with an intercontinental range. Missiles are distributed in hardened silos to protect against attacks and connected to an underground launch control center via a system of hardened cables.
The $7,000,000 Minuteman III weighs 79,432 pounds and can travel 6,000 miles at 15,000 mph.
The development of the missile began in the 1950s and was named after the Colonial Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War, who could be ready to fight at short notice.
The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is pictured during a test launch in October 2019
The Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a deterrent weapon capable of hitting Soviet cities, while the Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a number of upgrades to its accuracy and survivability in the face of anti-ballistic missile (AMB) systems.
In 1970, the Minuteman-III became the first ICBM with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV): three smaller warheads that enhanced the missile’s ability to hit targets defended by AMBs.
In 1970 during the Cold War, 1,000 Minuteman missiles were deployed, but by 2017 the number had dwindled to 400, deployed in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.
Beginning in 2027, Minuteman will be gradually replaced by the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM to be built by Northrop Grumman beginning in 2027.