Unarmed Minuteman III missile launched during test

Sept. 22, 2013 at 1:28 PM

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- An unarmed intercontinental ballistic was launched Sunday during a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Air Force said.

The unarmed Minuteman III was launched at 3:01 a.m.

"The test launch is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation." said Col. Lance Kawane, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "The invaluable data we collect helps us to validate the functionality and performance of system components."

The statement from the Air Force Global Strike Command said the test ensures a safe nuclear deterrent, which is a key element of U.S. national security.

The next test launch of the Minuteman III is set for Sept. 26.

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