In a show of strength, the U.S. has once again tested its Minuteman III ICBMs

The United States has just completed another successful test fire of a "blank" Minuteman III ICBM missile. The test proves that the missiles are still fit for purpose.
Christopher McFadden
minuteman-testing.jpg
Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

United States Air Force 

  • The United States has recently announced the successful testing of its Minuteman III ICBMs.
  • The test was a complete success and shows the U.S.' nuclear deterrent is still fit for purpose.
  • These latest tests are part of an ongoing and routine set of tests to show the readiness of the missile systems.

At 12:49 a.m. Pacific Time on the 16th of August 2022, the Global Strike Command of the Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to show the readiness of American nuclear forces. The test was also to instill confidence in the lethality and efficacy of the country's nuclear deterrent.

This test launch is a regular part of what the United States does to show its allies that its nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable, and able to stop threats in the twenty-first century. These tests have taken place more than 300 times before, and they are unrelated to the current state of the globe.

The reentry vehicle of the ICBM traveled 4,200 miles (6,759 km) to the Marshall Islands' Kwajalein Atoll. These test launches confirm the precision and dependability of the ICBM weapon system and offer important information for maintaining a safe, secure, and efficient nuclear deterrence.

In a show of strength, the U.S. has once again tested its Minuteman III ICBMs
Peacekeeper, Minuteman I and Minuteman III ICBMs on display near F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez/Wikimedia Commons 

“Make no mistake - our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe,“ said Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander.

“This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system. It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland,“ he added.

The test launch marks the conclusion of months of planning involving numerous government partners. Some of the Air Force's best-trained and educated airmen are those who carry out this crucial task.

The task force to assist with the test launch was chosen from among airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana; the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota. Crews who live at the three missile bases run the nation's ICBM alert forces around the clock, every day of the year.

In a show of strength, the U.S. has once again tested its Minuteman III ICBMs
Image of the latest testing.
United States Air Force 

“Our test launches are scheduled well in advance and are not reactionary to world events,“ said Maj. Armand Wong, Task Force commander. “A meticulous planning process for each launch begins six months to a year prior to launch. Our best Airmen from each of the three missile wings worked in conjunction with the 576th Flight Test Squadron to proudly showcase some very technical skills that comprise the heart of our nuclear deterrence mission.“

The test was a complete success

The ICBM community, which is made up of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data from test launches to evaluate the development of the force on an ongoing basis. The ICBM test launch program shows how well the Minuteman III can work and guarantees that the United States can continue to retain a potent nuclear deterrent as a crucial component of its own national security as well as the security of its allies and partners.

Major Command Air Force Global Strike Command is based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. The Air Force's entire bomber force, including the B-52, B-1, and B-2 wings; the Long Range Strike Bomber program; the Air Force Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications systems; and operational and maintenance support to organizations within the nuclear enterprise are all under the command's aegis. 33,700 professionals are deployed to sites all over the world and assigned to two numbered air forces, nine wings, two geographically distinct squadrons, and one detachment in the continental United States.

The LG-35A Sentinel will replace the Minuteman III ICBM. It will be ready to go into service in 2029. The Air Force is dedicated to making sure Minuteman III continues to function as a deterrent until full capability is attained in the middle of the 2030s.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron