U.S. tests unarmed nuclear ICBM amid North Korea crisis

According to the Air Force Global Strike Command a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile minus its standard nuclear payload will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 26th to test the weapon’s effectiveness, accuracy, and readiness.

The launch will be overseen by the 576th Flight Test Squadron from Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing and will occur between 12:01 AM PT and 6:01 AM PT on the north end of the base near Lompoc, California.

“Missile launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities,” 30th Space Wing commander Col. Chris Moss said in a statement.

Wednesday’s test would be the second missile launched from Vandenberg in 2017, with the first shot in February under the guide of the Minot Air Force Base North Dakota’s 91st Missile wing.

According to flight data recorded by the Air Force Global Strike Command, the February missile was equipped with a nonexplosive payload and traveled 4,200 miles to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Lt. Col. Jason Turner, 2nd Range Operations Squadron commander told the LA Times that three Minuteman III missiles were launched in 2016.


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