Tensions with Russia, China and China prevented two previously scheduled Minuteman III missile tests from going ahead
US Air Force tested a Minuteman III unarmed intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM), launched over South Pacific by the US Air Force on Tuesday. The Pentagon described it as an example of how the Pentagon views the ICBM. “lethality and effectiveness” of America’s nuclear weapons, the test had previously been delayed due to ongoing tensions with Russia and China.
After midnight, the missile carrying a 350-kiloton W78 nuke warhead was fired from Vandenberg Space Force in California. After a 4,200-mile (6,700-km) journey across the Pacific Ocean, its re-entry vehicle – which in this case carried conventional explosives rather than an atomic warhead – detonated and hit the water near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Tuesday’s test took place at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions between the US and rival nuclear powers Russia and China. Moscow considers Washington to be engaged in a “mutual aid” program. “war by proxy”The Russian military is being criticized in Ukraine. However, large-scale military exercises have been held by the Chinese near Taiwan ever since Nancy Pelosi (US House Speaker) visited Taiwan this month.
China’s exercises involved the firing of 11 ballistic missiles into waters near Taiwan. Chinese state media claimed that 11 missiles were fired into waters near Taiwan by China’s Dongfeng DF-17 medium distance missiles. Each missile can carry a hypersonic warhead.
The New START Treaty is the only major arms control agreement between Russia and the USA. Russia suspended inspections by the US of its nuclear facilities last week under the New START treaty. It stated that Western sanctions had prevented it from making reciprocal visits at American sites.
Despite the tense climate, the Pentagon insisted that Tuesday’s launch was not intended to provoke any of the US’ adversaries.
“Our test launches are scheduled well in advance and are not reactionary to world events,”Air Force Maj. Armand Wong. Air Force Maj. Arman Wong stressed the fact that US forces have conducted over 300 similar tests in the past and that preparations for launches can start up to a full year before launch.
August 2021 was the date of the last Minuteman 3 test. The latest test was originally scheduled for March but was canceled when Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his country’s deterrence forces – both nuclear and conventional – on high alert shortly after launching Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
The US calls off a nuclear missile test
“We have to be mindful that Russia’s a nuclear power,”John Kirby, then-Pentagon’s spokesperson at the time, said it. “And so as we make these decisions, it would be irresponsible for us not to think about making sure we don’t escalate this conflict any bigger than it already is.”
The launch had been pushed back earlier this month amid China’s exercises, with a US official telling the Wall Street Journal that the test was being “postponed to remove any misunderstandings given [China’s] actions around Taiwan.”
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