The US military was forced to shoot down its defective missile after an anomaly was detected mid-flight. US officials reported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for an operational test, but an unexpected issue, described as an “anomaly,” led to the missile being terminated mid-flight, raising questions about US defense posture as concerns about World War III rise.
The news of the failed test came just a week after Russia successfully tested its ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with the ability to deliver a major retaliatory nuclear strike by land, sea, and air.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the US Air Force confirmed the destruction of a Minuteman III missile above the Pacific Ocean due to an anomaly detected post-launch from Vandenburg Space Force Base in California on November 1, CNBC reported. While the Air Force did not delve into specific details, they mentioned assembling a launch analysis group to conduct an investigation.
“The command learns lessons from every test launch,” Captain Lauren Linscott said in a written statement. “Gathering data from the launch allows (Air Force Global Strike Command) to identify and correct any issues with the weapon system to ensure the Minuteman III’s continued reliability and accuracy.”
The Minuteman III, capable of carrying nuclear payloads, is a crucial component of the US military’s strategic arsenal. Manufactured by Boeing, this missile holds a range of over 6,000 miles (9,660 km) and can travel at a speed of roughly 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kph). Approximately 400 of these missiles are stationed at Air Force bases located in Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota.
Russia Successfully Tested ICBM Capable of Carrying Nuclear Warhead
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Russia reportedly conducted a successful test on October 25 of “its ability to deliver a massive” retaliatory nuclear strike via land, sea, and air, as per a statement from the Kremlin on Wednesday. Calling it “a display of force,” the test coincides with Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the landmark nuclear test ban treaty.
Per Reuters, the exercise comprised the test launch of missiles from land-based silos, a nuclear submarine, and long-range bomber aircraft. This demonstration occurs amidst what Russia perceives as a critical standoff with the West regarding the situation in Ukraine.
With escalating tensions, which are reportedly at their most heightened level since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, Russia currently has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. The country is quickly moving to withdraw its ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty “to bring itself into line with the United States,” Reuters wrote.
The Kremlin, as reported by Reuters, said: “Practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place during the training.”
Below is a Reuters video of the test.