Two previously scheduled tests of the Minuteman III ballistic missile were hindered by tensions with Russia and China FILE PHOTO: Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, February 23, 2021 © US Space Force

The US Air Force test-launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the South Pacific on Tuesday. Described by the Pentagon as a demonstration of the “lethality and effectiveness” of America’s nuclear weapons, the test had previously been delayed due to ongoing tensions with Russia and China.

The missile, which is capable of carrying a 350-kiloton W-78 nuclear warhead, blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force in California shortly after midnight. After a 4,200-mile (6,700-km) journey across the Pacific Ocean, its re-entry vehicle – which in this case carried conventional explosives rather than an atomic warhead – detonated and hit the water near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. (RT)