An unarmed Minuteman III ICBM missile was launched shortly after midnight Wednesday during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The purpose of the intercontinental ballistic missile test launch program is to validate and verify the weapon system’s safety, security, effectiveness, and reliability, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.
The launch occurred at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday.
Col. Kris Barcomb, 30th Operations Group commander, was the launch decision authority.
“Our outstanding Airmen and space professionals continue to showcase flawless execution and teamwork between the 30th Space Wing and the 576th Flight Test Squadron,” Col. Barcomb said in a statement. “This test launch represents another successful demonstration of our nation’s capability and underscores the fact that our nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, reliable, effective and ready to defend the United States and our allies.”
Rick Wayman, CEO of Santa Barbara-based nonprofit Nuclear Peace Age Foundation, referred to Wednesday’s launch as “unnecessarily provocative,” while also mentioning the Aug. 4 Minuteman ICBM that launched from VAFB just two days before the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
He said such tests are “an important reminder that the nuclear threat remains very real.”