Missile launches from Vandenberg in flex of U.S. ‘nuclear deterrent’ capabilities

An unarmed Minuteman III missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early on Wednesday morning.

The missile launched at 1:13 a.m., officials said. The missile, which was equipped with a test reentry vehicle, traveled about 4,200 miles to a test range in the Marshall Islands, according to a news release from the Air Force.

“The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats and reassure our allies,” the news release said. “Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.”

This is the fifth missile test launch from the Air Force base this year.

Vandenberg conducted a “milestone” missile defense test in March in which the U.S. Missile Defense Agency fired interceptor missiles to hit an unarmed ICBM.

The test was meant to practice how well the U.S. military could respond in the event of a missile being shot from another country like North Korea or Iran.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.