In what some are worried may be preparations for World War 3 between North Korea and the United States, on Wednesday the U.S. launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in California from the North Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Minuteman III missile was said to have been fired in order to test the missile’s “effectiveness, readiness and accuracy.” The U.S. military also stated that the ballistic missile test served to show the world what America’s “national nuclear capabilities” are, according to the Express.
The ICBM is a guided missile with long-range capabilities. The ballistic missile’s fastest speed is 14,500 miles-per-hour and its minimum range is 5,500 kilometers. The Soviet Union were the very first to deploy the intercontinental ballistic missile when they launched theirs in 1958 and the United States followed suit in 1959. After 20 years, China finally had their own ballistic missiles as well.
Despite there being a distance of 6,423 miles between North Korea and the United States, with the possibility of World War 3 comes the distinct possibility that both countries could use their ballistic missiles in order to conduct strikes against each other, which would have extremely deadly consequences for everyone involved.
One thing the military finds useful about these missiles is the fact that they are extremely versatile and can be launched from different platforms. So in the case of a World War 3 situation between the United States and North Korea, the IBCM could be launched from both a truck and a submarine. To show just how fast these ballistic missiles travel, if one were launched in Moscow at this minute, it would arrive at its destination of New York City in under 30 minutes. It should be noted, however, that in the United States, these ballistic missiles only carry one warhead on them currently.
There are some concerns that this recent missile test in California was used in a possible preparation for war with North Korea, although Air Force Global Strike Command state that Wednesday’s test had been planned quite a while ago and have nothing to do with World War 3 or North Korea. Rather, Colonel John Moss said that the test was used in order to determine the current nuclear capabilities in America.
“These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities.”
— Already Happened (@M3t4_tr0n) April 26, 2017
Despite these ballistic missile tests happening on a routine basis, the timing also happens to coincide with troops from the United States teaming up with those from South Korea, where they will be conducting military training drills over an 11-day period. This operation, known as Operation Max Thunder, will include drills with fighter jets and aircraft carriers and 1,000 members of the United States military will take part in these exercises.
Some of these drills can be spotted in Pocheon and photographs have been taken which show four tanks firing live rounds and shooting out huge amounts of flames from the front of the tanks. Another photo shows military troops launching 36-round missiles in the special zone which separates South Korea from North Korea. With the United States and South Korea working so hard together over this 11-day period, combined with the recent ballistic missile test, there is still intense speculation that America is concerned with North Korea and playing it safe in case World War 3 does break out.
These drills between the American and South Korean military and Operation Max Thunder are also said to have infuriated Kim Jong-Un, according to the Express. He allegedly believes the United States and South Korea are doing these drills with the firm goal of invading North Korea in mind. But Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson has explained that these military exercises are creating an excellent opportunity for working together with the South Korean military.
“Exercise Max Thunder serves as an invaluable opportunity for US and South Korean forces to train together shoulder-to-shoulder and sharpen tactical skills vital to the defense and security of the Korean Peninsula. This exercise will rigorously test our aerial combat capability and highlights the ironclad commitment between the U.S. and South Korea, and the multifaceted capabilities we possess in this theater.”
With South Korea and the U.S. conducting military drills and the launch of Wednesday’s ballistic missile in California, do you think the United States is preparing for World War 3 or some kind of skirmish with North Korea?
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]