Watch USAF Test-Launch an Unarmed ICBM in California

Air Force Global Strike Command test-launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in the predawn hours of Oct. 29, AFGSC announced.

Such tests help the service ensure the Minuteman’s weapon system is accurate and reliable, and yield data that USAF can use to make sure the nation’s nuclear deterrent stays “safe, secure, and effective,” according to a command release.

“The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation,” the release stated.

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:27 a.m. PDT on Oct. 29, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Photo: USAF

The tests also help reassure America’s allies and partners, added Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

“We must continue to invest in this viable deterrent, and the Airmen who support this mission, as part of the most responsive leg of our nuclear triad,” he said in the release.

The 91st Missile Wing provided the missile, which was outfitted with a “test reentry vehicle” that eventually reached the Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll more than 4,000 miles away, the release noted.

Personnel from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, Mont., the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and Vandenberg’s 576th Test Squadron supported the test launch, according to the release.

Watch a narrated video of the test launch below:


Video: 30th Space Wing Public Affairs