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U.S. Air Force launches fourth ICBM from Vandenberg Base this year

(Xinhua)    13:08, August 03, 2017

The U.S. Air Force launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) early Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The Minuteman III missile, the only U.S. land-based ICBM in service, was fired at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (0910 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located nearly 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles in western coast of the United States.

It's the fourth Minuteman III ICBM launched from Vandenberg this year.

The ICBM, equipped with a single test reentry vehicle, traveled approximately 4,200 miles (6,759 kilometers) to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The reentry vehicle contained a telemetry package used for operational testing.

"While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrates that the United States' nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies," said the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command in a statement on its official website.

The U.S. 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 ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners, the statement said.

There are about 450 Minuteman III ICBMs in service in the United States. U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command routinely conducts ICBM test launches from Vandenberg to validate the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system.

The latest ICBM test of U.S. Air Force comes amid growing tensions between the United States and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), only days after a successful test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile by DPKR last Friday.

The Missile Defense Agency of the United States successfully test fired an interceptor missile on May 30 which is designed to shoot incoming missile over Pacific from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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