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US Air Force test-fires long-range missile in show of nuclear readiness

The test of the unarmed Minuteman III missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons comes after delays due to tensions with Russia and China.



On Tuesday, the United States Air Force successfully launched a nuclear-free ICBM.

A California base launched the nuclear-capable missile.

The test scheduled for Tuesday was delayed due to escalating tensions with Russia and China.

Early Tuesday morning, after previous delays due to tensions with China, the United States Air Force successfully test-fired a long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement that at 12:49 a.m. local time, they launched a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Air Force said the test was conducted “to demonstrate the readiness of US nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.” The test was a routine exercise and not a reaction to any current international event.

The United States uses a triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) housed in silos, different types of bomber aircraft, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles to maintain nuclear deterrence.

On Tuesday, the Air Force conducted a test in which the re-entry vehicle of a missile flew 4,200 miles to an atoll in the Marshall Islands, a small group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The results of these tests demonstrate the weapons’ precision and dependability.

As stated in an official Air Force statement, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander Colonel Chris Cruise emphasized the importance of the nuclear triad to the safety of the United States and its allies around the world.

With tensions already high between the United States and its two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and China, the United States postponed a series of test-launches scheduled for earlier in 2022.

According to Reuters, Russia canceled an April test because of the devastating war in Ukraine. Through the entirety of the conflict, Western officials have condemned Russia for “nuclear saber-rattling” and making threatening comments about its nuclear arsenal.

The Minuteman III test, originally scheduled for August 4, according to CNN, was postponed out of concern for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to self-ruled Taiwan and the aggressive military rhetoric and threats emanating from China.