US Air Force Tests ICBM Days After N. Korea Launches Missile

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 2, 2017

The U.S. Air Force launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday in Santa Barbara County.

The unarmed Minuteman III missile will be launched between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. PDT from the base, about 12 miles northwest of Lompoc, according to Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing team.

Previous Minuteman ICBM launches this year were conducted in February, April and May.

On Friday, North Korea launched a missile that is believed to be capable of reaching the US, making it their second missile launch in less than a month.

Rather the launch "demonstrates that the United States' nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective" and can protect against strikes, the command said. The North Korean test sparked condemnation from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea. The missile, equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle, travelled 6750 kilometres to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The test was planned in advance and was not a direct response to North Korea's actions, but it undoubtedly sent a message. Any bombing by US or South Korean forces in North Korea would likely be met with a strong show of force by Kim Jong-un's regime.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Russian Federation also provided evidence indicating that the missile launch on July 4 was a test of an intermediate range rocket, much smaller in size and with lower capabilities than a conventional ICBM.

The analysis came as South Korean officials were drawing up plans for a "surgical strike" to take out any missile and North Korean nuclear facilities if orders are given to remove the dictator.

Days later, a third test missile launched from the base.

The US launch comes after North Korea tested a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on July 28. The interceptor destroyed a mock warhead over the Pacific.

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