With nuclear tensions heightened on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. Air Force provided a rare look into a launch control center for a Minuteman III nuclear missile during an ICBM test conducted earlier this month.
The test at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne included an associated launch facility in Nebraska. The simulation was a signal “that our ICBM capability is safe, secure, lethal and ready,” Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz, 625th Strategic Operations Squadron commander, said in a statement. The simulation also validated the capability of the airborne launch control system, a backup.
Made by Boeing, the Minuteman III is powered by three solid-propellant rocket motors, according to Military.com. It has a range of 6,000 miles. Deployed first in the 1960s, the ICBM has been constantly updated. The force consists of about 450 Minuteman III missiles in Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, and North Dakota protected in hardened silos, the site says.
“We are sending a message that the ICBM force is ready to respond 24/7/365,” Lt. Col. Hayley James, 625th Strategic Operations Squadron director of operations, said in a statement.