The US Air Force conducted tests of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that were delayed by almost two weeks due to the situation in Taiwan. This was reported by Defense News, citing a statement by the US Air Force Global Strike Command.
The launch was carried out on August 16 at 00:49 Pacific time (11:49 Moscow time) from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The head block of the ICBM covered about 4.2 thousand miles (more than 6.7 thousand kilometers) from its original launch point to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
According to the commander of the 576th Flight Test Missile Squadron Chris Cruzthe tests proved that the nuclear triad is the “cornerstone” of the national security of the United States and its allies.
“It is also a great platform to showcase the skills and experience of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and our missile crews who remain unwaveringly vigilant to defend the homeland,” he added.
The report also claims that the rocket launch was planned and is not the result of current world events.
Initially, the Minuteman III tests were supposed to take place in early August, but Washington decided to postpone them amid a controversial visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the US House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi. In response to this trip, China launched large-scale exercises near the island, during which it launched a mass launch of missiles with conventional warheads towards Taipei.
“A strong, confident, capable nuclear power can afford to wait a couple of weeks with a test to make it clear – not only in words, but in deeds – how serious we are when we say that we are not interested in escalating tensions,” he explained. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby the US decision to postpone the launch of the missile.
By the way, this is not the first time this year that Washington has postponed the Minuteman III test so as not to aggravate relations with other countries. Previously, such a decision was made in March by the Minister of Defense Lloyd Austinwho wanted to avoid further escalation of tensions with Russia after the start of the special operation.
However, some Republicans oppose this approach. For example, a senior member of the Republican Party on the House Armed Services Committee Mike Rogers called it “a weak-willed attempt at appeasement” that would only provoke further aggression from US adversaries.