Air Force Global Strike Command tested a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile's flight and reentry to verify the weapon's reliability. The unarmed missile, also known as Flight Test Unit 2, flew with a reentry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Marshall Islands during the developmental test, U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday.
“The Minuteman III is aging, and modernization programs such as this are essential in ensuring that our nation has a reliable nuclear deterrent through the rest of its lifespan and beyond," said Col. Omar Colbert, who commands the 576th Flight Test Squadron.
The test provided data needed to confirm the nuclear deterrent's sustained security, safety and effectiveness. The test builds on months of collaborative government preparation efforts.
FTU 2 follows the first that underwent testing last year. Two more FTU tests will take place years to come. The departments of Defense and Energy work together as part of the ICBM community to leverage data gathered from these tests.