Washington: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles just after midnight local time.
The so-called re-entry vehicle travelled more than 4,000 miles to a target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The 576th Flight Test Squadron was be responsible for the tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile.
A US Air Force spokesman said the mission was part of a programme to test the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the Minuteman III weapons system.
The 30th Space Wing commander, Colonel John Moss said: “These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities.
“We are proud of our long history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron to execute these missions for the nation.”
The US has about 450 of the missiles and they are routinely tested but the latest tests come amid rising tensions with North Korea, which has tested its own nuclear missiles – including some designed to reach the United States. The US has sent warships to the region to deter Pyongyang from carrying out further tests.