U.S. Air Force confirms Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test failure

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The U.S. Air Force said Wednesday that a recent test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile failed.

According to a press release issued May 5 by Air Force Global Strike Command an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, experienced a ground abort prior to launch.

“The cause of the ground abort is currently under investigation, and Air Force Global Strike Command is assessing the potential to reschedule the launch,” the statement said.

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Also added that the Air Force adheres to strict protocols while performing operational test launches, only launching when all safety parameters with the test range and missile are met.

The test launch program helps the command evaluate the Minuteman III and gather data to keep the system effective.

The Minuteman is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. Missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews, consisting of two officers, perform around-the-clock alert in the launch control center.

The current intercontinental ballistic missile force consists of 400 Minuteman III missiles located at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D.

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