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US military successfully launches ICBM test from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California 

The US military successfully tested a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, which had been postponed to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing during China’s display of power near Taiwan earlier this month.

The test demonstrated “the readiness of the US nuclear forces and instills confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” Air Force Global Strike Command said after the launch early Tuesday.

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.

Colonel Chris Cruise, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, praised the missile crews and weapons personnel for their “unwavering vigilance in defending the homeland” following the launch of the ICBM test.

Tuesday's test launch of an ICBM from Vandenberg Space Force Base can be seen above.  The test was postponed earlier this month to avoid escalating tensions with China

Tuesday’s test launch of an ICBM from Vandenberg Space Force Base can be seen above. The test was postponed earlier this month to avoid escalating tensions with China

During Tuesday's test launch, the Minuteman III traveled 4,200 miles from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, California to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

During Tuesday’s test launch, the Minuteman III traveled 4,200 miles from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, California to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Vandenberg Space Force Base confirmed that the test was launched on August 16 at 12:49 p.m. Pacific Time.

Global Strike Command said in a statement that the test launch was “part of routine and periodic activities designed to demonstrate that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective in deterring 21st century threats.” and reassure our allies.”

“Such tests have happened more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events,” the statement added.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles can have a range of up to 9,300 miles – and are designed primarily for the delivery of nuclear weapons. First deployed to the US in 1959, they have become a pivotal weapon in the US nuclear arsenal.

The Biden administration is believed to have postponed the launch of the routine test last week to avoid further escalating tensions with China. However, the Air Force denied that their test was related to world events.

The US has repeatedly postponed tests this year as Beijing ramps up its rhetoric about Taiwan, which it sees as Chinese territory, and because Russia is waging war in Ukraine.

China deployed dozens of planes and fired live missiles into the Taiwan Strait after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a trip to the self-governed island.

The country considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

China deployed dozens of planes and fired live missiles into the Taiwan Strait after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a trip to the self-governed island.  US has postponed missile test from earlier this month due to rising tensions

China deployed dozens of planes and fired live missiles into the Taiwan Strait after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a trip to the self-governed island. US has postponed missile test from earlier this month due to rising tensions

The Air Force Global Strike Command said: “The ICBM reentry vehicle has traveled approximately 4,200 miles to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapons system and provide valuable data to ensure continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrence.”

Colonel Cruise added: “Make no mistake – our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the world.

“This planned test launch demonstrates how our country’s ICBM fleet illustrates our weapon system preparedness and reliability.

“It’s also a great platform to showcase the skills and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland.”

maj. Task Force commander Armand Wong said the test was planned well in advance — and that any ICBM test must be scheduled at least six months to a year in advance before they can be launched.

Pictured: Chinese missile batteries open fire from shore at Pingtang Island across the Taiwan Strait as Beijing conducts the biggest war games ever around the self-governing island

Pictured: Chinese missile batteries open fire from shore at Pingtang Island across the Taiwan Strait as Beijing conducts the biggest war games ever around the self-governing island

In April, the US military canceled a test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. That delay was intended to ease nuclear tensions with Russia during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The nuclear-capable Minuteman III, made by Boeing Co. (BA.N), is the key to the US military’s strategic arsenal. The missile has a range of more than 6,000 miles (9,660 km) and can travel at a speed of approximately 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 km/h).

Missiles are dispersed in paved underground silos operated by launch crews.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that his country’s nuclear forces must be placed on high alert, raising fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war. But US officials have said they have so far seen no reason to change Washington’s nuclear alert levels.

Russia and the United States have by far the largest arsenal of post-Cold War warheads that divided the world for much of the 20th century, pitting the West against the Soviet Union and its allies.

Minuteman III nuclear missile: The $7 million warhead that can travel 6,000 miles at 15,000 mph

The Minuteman III, along with the United States’ submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and nuclear weapons carried by strategic long-range bombers, forms the United States’ land-based ICBM of the nation’s nuclear triad.

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 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 for its accuracy and survivability in the face of anti-ballistic missile (AMB) systems.

In 1970, the Minuteman-III became the first deployed 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.

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