US launches Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg base in show of nuclear force days after Chinese spy balloon shot down | The Sun

THE United States Air Force has launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the Pacific Ocean in a reported show of nuclear force.

Air Force officials blasted the test ICBM from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California, on Thursday evening amid rising tensions between China and North Korea.

Despite the ongoing suspense between the US and the East Asian countries, the Air Force base said the test was just a "routine activity" intended to demonstrate that their nuclear arsenal is "safe, secure, reliable and effective."

"A test launch displays the heart of our deterrence mission on the world’s stage, assuring our nation and its allies that our weapons are capable and our Airmen are ready and willing to defend peace across the globe at a moment's notice," General Thomas A. Bussiere, the Air Force Global Strike Command commander, said.

The ICBM missile was equipped with a test reentry vehicle.

Air Force officials say similar missions have occurred more than 300 times in the past.


Thursday's show came 24 hours after North Korea's military conducted a state-run media show displaying a trove of nuclear weapons that included 10 to 12 Hwasong-17 ICBMs.

In 2022, North Korea tested more missiles than at any time in its history, including an ICBM.

A Hwasong-17 has the hypothetical range to make it all the way to the US from North Korea.

However, Pyongyang has yet to demonstrate the warhead’s reentry ability or that it could hit a desired target from so far away.

Most read in The US Sun


Expert reveals why Nicola Bulley's dog ran back & forth when she went missing


Nicola cops ARE hunting shabby red van – I saw the vehicle, says key witness


Real reason The Apprentice star Reece Donnelly quit the show revealed


Nicola Bulley dive expert reveals video ‘proof’ she didn’t fall into the river


The US nuclear display also came days after the Pentagon shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina last week.

The Chinese-origin object traveled into the US continent from Canada early last week, spotted over Billings, Montana, on February 1.

Officials said the balloon had flown over areas in Montana containing sensitive airbases and nuclear missiles in underground silos.

Montana is home to the Malmstrom Air Force Base, which houses one of the three nuclear missile fields in the US.

It is home to 150 ICBM silos.

The Chinese government claimed the balloon was "for weather research" and inadvertently crossed into US territory due to wind gusts.

President Joe Biden gave a thumbs-up sign earlier Saturday when asked if the US planned to shoot the suspected spy balloon down – described as the size of three bus lengths.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III confirmed to the Washington Post that a US fighter jet assigned to the US Northern Command "successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon."

Austin said the balloon was "used by the PRC [People's Republic of China] in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States."

A single AIM-9X air-to-air missile fired from an F-22 fighter jet that flew out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia shot down the balloon, a senior defense official told Politico.

According to a senior defense official: "The surveillance balloon's overflight of US territory was of intelligence value to us.

"We were able to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable."

The FBI recovered some of the airship's remains but admitted that much of the evidence remains underwater in the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s very early for us to assess what the intent was and how the device was operating,” a senior FBI official told reporters in a briefing Thursday, according to NBC News.

“We have literally not seen the payload, which is where we would expect to see the lion’s share of the electronics,” the official said.

Read More on The Sun

Beauty fan mortified after her bum implants almost fall out

I have creepy ‘proof’ Facebook is listening to me, woman claims

A State Department spokesperson said the balloon was able to collect communications and data via a satellite and had “multiple antennas” in addition to other equipment used “clearly for intelligence surveillance,” Axios reported.

The recovered remains were taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, where it is being decontaminated by removing saltwater.

Source: Read Full Article