After the tension from North Korea’s possession of illegal weaponry surfaced online, the U.S. is all set to conduct its own Minuteman III ICBM test in California’s Air Force Base.
The said test launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base will involve an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM and is scheduled to take place between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. PST. According to a statement released from Col. John Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, the purpose of the ICBM is to verify the status of America’s nuclear force and demonstrate what their free world is capable of.
“These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities. 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.”
These Minuteman III ICBM missile tests come amid the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with a carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson approaching North Korea through waters. However, Moss, who is going to supervise the entire operation, stated that these launches are planned three to five years in advance and it has no connection with the ongoing tension between America and North Korea.
Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz, the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron commander added in a statement that these simulated tests are a signal to other nations that America’s ICBM are “lethal and ready.” He added the following in a released statement,
“The Simulated Electronic Launch of a Minuteman III ICBM is a signal to the American people, our allies, and our adversaries that our ICBM capability is safe, secure, lethal and ready.”
What is Minuteman III?
The Minuteman III ballistic missiles were initially developed in 1970 and are currently approaching the end of their useful lifespan of 60 years. The LGM-30 Minuteman III is armed with a W62 warhead, heaving a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT. The existing Minuteman-III missiles have been improved over the decades in service, with more than $7 billion spent in the last decade to upgrade the 450 missiles.
On one hand, there are many who have accepted the fact that the use of a nuclear weapon is the only way out from the ongoing tension arose by Kim Jong-un, there are many organizations who are criticizing the drills.
Testing #nuclear-capable missiles is a way to send a message while wasting money. US is testing again on April 26th.
— David Krieger (@DkriegerNAPF) April 24, 2017
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has accused the United States of having double standards when it comes to using nuclear weapons against other countries. The foundation’s president David Krieger was cited by Los Angles Times as responding,
“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. 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.”
Apart from the Minuteman III ICBM test launch in California, the US’s seventh Fleet said in a statement released on Tuesday that they are conducting a maritime exercise with naval ships from South Korea and Japan to demonstrate their similar concerns.
“Both exercises demonstrate a shared commitment to security and stability in Northeast Asia as well as the U.S. Navy’s inherent flexibility to combine with allied naval forces in response to a broad range of situations.”
Keep checking this space for the latest updates on the U.S. Minuteman IIIC ICBM launch amid North Korea tensions.
[Featured Image by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via Getty Images]