The U.S. military is preparing to test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
According to Air Force Global Strike Command, the unarmed Minuteman III missile test is intended to “validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.”
Col. John Moss, 30th Space Wing Commander, said in a press release that the launch – set for sometime between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. – will demonstrate the country’s nuclear capabilities.
“These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities,” Col. Moss said.
“We are proud of our long history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron to execute these missions for the nation.”
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a non-profit group, has characterized the test as a “military provocation” given current tensions between the United States and North Korea.
“When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing,” foundation president David Krieger said. “What is needed is diplomacy rather than military provocations. Threats, whether in the form of tweets, nuclear-capable aircraft carrier groups, or nuclear-capable missile launches, only increase the dangers to us all.”
While the test comes amid growing unease in the Korean Peninsula, a representative with Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs told Infowars that such launches are held regularly – up to four each year – and are planned between three and five years in advance.
The test launch will be the second carried out from Vandenberg in 2017 thus far.
The Minuteman III, which weighs in at 79,432 lbs, reaches speeds of Mach 23 before striking targets as far away as 6,000 miles.
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