Airmen at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., successfully fired a Minuteman III ICBM out over the Pacific Ocean during a normally scheduled flight test to assure the continued reliability and performance of the Minutemen fleet. Officials with the base’s 30th Space Wing said the missiles single unarmed re-entry test vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to its pre-determined impact point near the Kwajalein Atoll. “The launch was part of our continuous self-assessment,” said Col. Carl DeKemper, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron and director of this test mission. According to Vandenberg historic records, this test marked the 1,900th launch at Vandenberg since the Air Force assumed the ICBM mission in 1957. The previous test launch came just two weeks prior, on June 16. (Vandenberg release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.