Min­ute­man test

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

A U.S. Air Force Min­ute­man III strate­gic mis­sile lit up the early morn­ing sky over South­ern Cal­i­for­nia May 22 as part of test launch of the long-range mis­sile.

An Air Force spokesman from Van­den­berg Air Force Base, Calif., said the mis­sile launch at 3:04 a.m. PDT flew a south­west course. Its sim­u­lated war­head hit a ocean tar­get 5,250 miles away in an area 230 miles south­west of the Pa­cific is­land of Guam.

The flight test was about 1,000 miles longer in range than most tests and suc­cess­fully hit its tar­get, the spokesman said.

Pen­tagon of­fi­cials said the Min­ute­man III test was a rou­tine re­li­a­bil­ity test of the nu­clear de­liv­ery sys­tem. But it also will be used as part of a plan to con­vert up to 50 of the 500 Min­ute­man IIIs from nu­clear to con­ven­tion­ally-armed long-range mis­siles, as part of what the mil­i­tar y calls deep strike, or the ca­pa­bil­ity of con­duct­ing very rapid long-range con­ven­tional at­tacks against weapons of mass de­struc­tion or ter­ror­ist tar­gets.

Bill Gertz cov­ers the Pen­tagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at bgertz@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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