Air Force test-launches Minuteman III ICBM

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile has been test-launched by the U.S. Air Force.
By Richard Tomkins  |  Feb. 22, 2016 at 12:04 PM
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BARKSDALE AFB, La., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched by the U.S. Air Force on Sunday to test its re-entry vehicle and telemetry package.

The launch took place at Vandenberg Air Force in California and involved Global Strike Command Airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and a Strategic Operations Squadron aboard an Airborne Launch Control System.

Its target as 4,200 miles away, near Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

"The flight test program demonstrates one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system," said Col. Craig Ramsey, Commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenburg AFB. "When coupled with the other facets of our test program, we get a complete picture of the weapon system's reliability. But perhaps most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors."

The Air Force said the ICBM community, which includes the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command, will use the data collected from the test launch for continuing force development evaluation.

The Minuteman III is the only land-based nuclear missile of the United States. It has a range of more than 8,000 miles, a flight altitude of 700 miles, and a speed of about 17,507 miles per hour.

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