US conducts delayed ICBM test – RT World News

Two scheduled tests of the Minuteman III ballistic missile have been hampered by tensions with Russia and China

The US Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the South Pacific on Tuesday. Described by the Pentagon as a demonstration of the “lethality and efficiency” of US nuclear weapons, the test had previously been delayed due to ongoing tensions with Russia and China.

The missile, capable of carrying a 350 kiloton W-78 nuclear warhead, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force in California shortly after midnight. After traveling 4,200 miles (6,700 km) across the Pacific Ocean, his re-entry vehicle – which in this case was carrying conventional explosives rather than an atomic warhead – exploded and hit the water near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Tuesday’s test came at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions between the United States and rival nuclear powers Russia and China. Washington is engaged in what Moscow sees as a “the proxy war” against Russian forces in Ukraine, while the Chinese military has held large-scale military exercises near Taiwan since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early month.

China’s drills involved firing 11 ballistic missiles into waters near Taiwan. Chinese state media reported that the missiles used were possibly Dongfeng DF-17 medium-range missiles, each capable of carrying a hypersonic warhead.

Only one major arms control agreement between the United States and Russia, the New START treaty, remains in effect. Russia temporarily suspended US inspections of its nuclear sites under the deal last week, saying Western sanctions have prevented its inspectors from carrying out reciprocal visits to US sites.

Despite the tense climate, the Pentagon insisted Tuesday’s launch was not intended to provoke any of the United States’ adversaries.

“Our test launches are scheduled well in advance and are not reactive to world events,” said Air Force Maj. Armand Wong. The Air Force also pointed out that the United States has already conducted more than 300 such tests and that preparation for a launch begins up to a year before liftoff.

The last Minuteman III test took place in August 2021. The last test was originally scheduled for March but was canceled when Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his country’s deterrent forces – nuclear and conventional – on high alert. shortly after the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

US cancels nuclear missile test

“We must bear in mind that Russia is a nuclear power” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time. “And so, as we make these decisions, it would be irresponsible of us not to think about making sure we don’t escalate this conflict any further than it already is.”

The launch had been pushed back earlier this month amid Chinese drills, with a US official telling the Wall Street Journal that the test was underway. “postponed to remove any misunderstanding given [China’s] actions around Taiwan.

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