Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Minuteman 3 Trial Scheduled for Wednesday
The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday is scheduled to conduct its second flight trial this summer of a Minuteman 3 ICBM, the Lompoc Record reported (see GSN, July 11).
The missile is set to take off at 3:01 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, though the flight window would remain open for six hours. Inclement weather or problems with the technology could cause the test to be postponed.
Once the Minuteman has been launched from its underground silo, the Air Force will monitor the missile's single unarmed re-entry system as it flies approximately 4,200 miles before splashing down at a preset destination point in the Pacific Ocean's Kwajalein Atoll.
"The launch process requires tremendous teamwork and involves months of preparation," 576th Flight Test Squadron commander Lt. Col. David Lair said. "The data gained from these launches allows us to maintain a high readiness capability and ensures operational effectiveness of the most powerful weapons in the nation’s arsenal."
The Air Force routinely conducts trials of ICBMs minus actual warheads to collect information about the arms' performance and predictability. The most recent Minuteman 3 test took place last month from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The U.S. military keeps 450 ICBMs housed in silos in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota
Antinuclear activists contend the missile trial program "is provocative and stimulates other countries to improve or develop nuclear weapons and conduct their own tests."
"The continued testing of Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles is a clear example of U.S. double standards. The government believes that it is fine to test-fire these missiles time and again, while expressing criticism when other countries conduct missile tests," Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger said. "Such double standards encourage nuclear proliferation and make the world a more dangerous place" (Lompoc Record, July 26).
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A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
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George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.