US Test-Launches ICBM Off California To Show Ability To ‘Defend Against Attacks’

news

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday to test the weapon’s reliability to “defend against attacks on the United States and its allies,” the Air Force said.


The Minuteman III missile was fired at 2:10 a.m. local time from the base northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the Air Force Global Strike Command. The missile, equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle, traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The strike command said the test was “not a response to recent North Korean actions.” Rather the launch “demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective” and can protect against strikes, the command said.

The test comes after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday — the second in less than a month. The two-stage missile crashed off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. Independent defense analysts say such a missile may be capable of reaching California and other parts of the West Coast.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. government would agree to a dialogue with North Korea if it relinquishes its nuclear program.

“We are trying to convey to the North Koreans: ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,’” he said.

Wednesday’s launch was conducted by Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing team, the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and the 576th Flight Test Squadron, the Air Force said. The 90th Missile Wing is one of three bases overseeing the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile forces.

The test is the fourth ICBM launched from the base this year.

“These test launches require the highest degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force,” Col. Dave Kelley, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement.

In February, a test missile was launched from the base. That missile was also equipped with a nonexplosive payload and traveled to the Marshall Islands.

Another test was conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command’s team on April 26. Air Force officials said that launch was an operational test to show the country’s nuclear deterrent capability.

Days later, a third test missile launched from the base. The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched just after midnight on May 3 from the base to test the weapon’s reliability and ensure an “effective nuclear deterrent,” according to the Air Force.

On May 30, the Missile Defense Agency conducted a flight test exercise of a ground-based interceptor that was also launched from the air base. The interceptor successfully targeted and destroyed an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Marshall Islands.

———

©2017 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

U.S. Air Force photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Sunday accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft of "aggressively" shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II plane over international airspace, in yet another sign of the increasing hostility between the two nations.

The encounter between the U.S. and Venezuelan planes occurred on Friday, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was sanctioning four top officials in Venezuela's military counterintelligence agency.

Read More Show Less
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises scheduled for next month are going ahead, a top Seoul official said Saturday, despite a threat by North Korea to boycott working-level talks with Washington and possibly restart nuclear and longer-range missile tests.

Read More Show Less

Video footage aired on Iranian state television on Saturday shows masked commandos rappelling from a helicopter onto a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Read More Show Less

(Reuters) - A former National Security Agency contractor was sentenced in Maryland to nine years in prison on Friday for stealing huge amounts of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies over two decades though officials never found proof he shared it with anyone.

Read More Show Less
nsa

ASPEN -- The Pentagon is recruiting a new cadre of computer geeks to address a threat that the military's top intelligence officer says keeps him up at night.

Read More Show Less