Washington: The US on Wednesday successfully launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a military base in California to a Pacific atoll, the US Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement. The unarmed Minuteman 3 missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 km northwest of Los Angeles, to the Kwajalein atoll across the Pacific, the New York Post reported.
It was the fourth such test by the US this year amid growing tensions with North Korea, which last Friday launched its second ICBM. The US Air Force said the test was to check the readiness, effectiveness and accuracy of the weapons system. "While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrates that the US' nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies," the US Air Force statement said. Minuteman missiles are regularly tested with launches from Vandenberg that send unarmed re-entry vehicles to a target area in the middle of the Pacific. US President Donald Trump condemned Pyongyang's July 28 missile launch and said that all necessary measures will be taken to protect his country and allies in the region. The test launch comes after the US successfully tested its THAAD anti-missile system in Alaska on Sunday.