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Air Force Successfully Launches Unarmed Minuteman 3

February 4, 1987

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) _ An unarmed Minuteman 3 missile made a successful half-hour flight Wednesday to targets in the Pacific 4,200 miles southwest of here, an Air Force spokesman said.

It was the 126th in a series of test launches of the Minuteman 3, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, Senior Airman Bruce Fredette said.

The Minuteman 3′s three dummy warheads were tracked to the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll after the 1:30 a.m. launch, Fredette said.

A crew from the 2nd Airborne Command Control Squadron based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., issued the launch command from aboard a specially modified Boeing EC-135 jet, he said.

The missile can be launched from its silo by airborne command in the event ground crews are disabled.

The Minuteman 3 used Wednesday entered the Air Force’s arsenal in 1977 and was transported from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Fredette said.

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