Air Force Successfully Launches Unarmed Minuteman 3
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.