06 May, 2017
Vandenberg Air Force Base successfully launched another missile test overnight.
Wednesday's test is the third ICBM launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base this year. Missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. The launches come at a time when the USA has expressed concern about North Korea's nuclear capability. Malmstrom Air Force Base is one of three bases in the US that house Minuteman III ICBMs. But the latest tests come amid rising tensions with North Korea, which has tested its own nuclear missiles - including some created to reach the United States.
The test, which took 10 months to plan, was the latest created to check the readiness and accuracy of a weapon system that forms part of the USA nuclear force.
30th Space Wing commander colonel Chris Moss said: "The dedication and expertise of the combined 341st Missile Wing, 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Space Wing team is simply fantastic".
North Korea has stepped up its missile testing in recent weeks, having test launched at least seven short- and mid-range missile this year.
The 576th Flight Test Squadron was be responsible for the tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile.More news: Sony Pictures dates Angry Birds 2 and Master of the Universe movie
The U.S. responded by sending warships to the area as a way to ensure North Korea does not perform another missile test, the Independent reported.
"We deployed a group of 15 active duty members, government civilians and contractors to launch, fly and recover up to eight BQM-167A targets over three days", said Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, 82nd ATRS commander.
It added that it also demonstrates the operational capacity of the Minuteman III and is a key element of national security and U.S. allies and partners.
However, North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on that same morning ended in failure, as the weapon blew up as soon as it took off.
Washington has ambitious plans to upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal. That missile, equipped with a nonexplosive payload, also traveled to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.