U.S. Test-Launches Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Off California to Demonstrate Ability to ‘Defend Against Attacks’

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The US Air Force tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday just days after North Korea conducted its own ICBM test, the Air Force Global Strike Command said in a news release.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test Sept. 5, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson via Flickr)

According to the release, the test — of an unarmed Minuteman III equipped with a single test entry — is not meant to be a response to the recent North Korean test on Friday of a missile that appears to have the range to hit major US cities. The North Korean test sparked condemnation from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.

“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,” the release reads.

The missile’s re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to the release.

The ICBM was launched by a team from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming at 2:10 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.