Minuteman III Missile:
The Pentagon (the USA’s Department of Defence) announced the latest test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile to “showcase” its nuclear capability.
- The launch of this missile will take place today at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in Southern California.
- The silo-launched missile will be tested without a warhead attached.
- The announcement comes amid rising geopolitical tensions as the Russia-Ukraine conflict drags on, the Israel-Hamas war escalates, and US-China relations continue to deteriorate.
- Minuteman III missile is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range and first became operational in the early 1970s.
- Originally, it was only supposed to be kept in service for about ten years, but instead, it has been modernized as its replacement, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), is due to become available for use in 2029.
- It is a three-stage, solid-fuel missile.
- Its length is 18.2 metres, and its diameter is 1.85 metres.
- Its range is 6,000-plus miles, and its maximum range is about 8,000 miles.
- Boeing Corporation designed and manufactured this missile.
- The current ICBM force consists of 400 Minuteman III missiles.
- It is currently the only land-based ICBM in the US nuclear arsenal, which also includes Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons carried by strategic bomber aircraft.