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Air Force Launches Test Missile Off California Coast To Show Nuclear Deterrent Capability
An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched just after midnight Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of an operational test to show the country’s nuclear deterrent capability, according to the U.S. Air Force.
The Minuteman III missile test launch occurred at 12:03 a.m. from the base northwest of Lompoc, Calif., according to Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing. The launch command was delivered from the Airborne Launch Control System on a Navy E-6 Mercury jet, according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The missile, which was equipped with a nonexplosive payload that recorded flight data, traveled 4,200 miles to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to the Air Force.
Col. Chris Moss, Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing commander, said the test launch was “an important demonstration of our nation’s nuclear deterrent capability.”
The test was conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command’s team from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Warren Air Force Base is one of three missile bases overseeing the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile forces.
According to the Air Force Global Strike Command, the launch was designed to “verify the accuracy and reliability” of the Minuteman missile system as well as provide “valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.”
The missile has been in service for 60 years, but it has been upgraded over the years with improved targeting and enhanced accuracy systems, the Air Force said.
On Monday, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, criticized the timing of the launch, citing heightened tension between the U.S. and North Korea. In recent weeks, North Korea has stepped up its testing of ballistic missiles.
“When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing,” foundation President David Krieger said in a statement. “What is needed is diplomacy rather than military provocations. Threats, whether in the form of tweets, nuclear-capable aircraft carrier groups, or nuclear-capable missile launches, only increase the dangers to us all.”
©2017 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
NAS Pensacola shooter reportedly hosted a 'dinner party' to watch mass shooting videos the night before the attack
The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the night before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.
The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.
The Navy pledged Friday to find ways to upgrade security procedures and prevent future attacks following two shootings and a fatal gate runner incident at naval bases in Virginia, Hawaii and Florida in the last week.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper also announced he is "considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families," although he did not give details.
The Navy has identified the two Defense Department civilians who were killed in a shooting Wednesday at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.