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US Air Force launches unarmed Minuteman III ICBM for the second time in a week

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World Defense & Security News - United States
 
 
US Air Force launches unarmed Minuteman III ICBM for the second time in a week
 
The US Air Force launched another unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile during an operational test at 12:02 a.m, Vandenberg AFB press office announced on May 3, 2017. This the second time in a week the US Air Force tests this key element of the US strategic deterrent forces.
     
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
(Credit: USAF/2nd Lt. William Collette)

     
"It's always a privilege to partner with the tremendous professionals of Air Force Global Strike Command to conduct test launches like this one," said Col. Chris Moss, 30th Space Wing commander. "The dedication and expertise of the combined 341st Missile Wing, 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Space Wing team is simply amazing. Their efforts over the past 10 months to make this mission possible shows why they are some of the most skilled operators in the Air Force."

The test comes just days after North Korea attempted a missile test of its own as tensions remain high in the Korean peninsula.

This new test launch was the second from Vandenberg AFB in a week.

The current Minuteman III force consists of 500 Minuteman III's located at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and Minot AFB, N.D, the US Air Force says on its website.

The LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM is in service with the US Air Force since the 1970s. It features an operational range of about 13,000 km and a maximum speed in terminal phase of up to 28,000 km/h (Mach 23). This multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle ICBM can carry up to three nuclear warheads.