The most recent U.S. Air Force Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test failed after a “ground abort” prior to launch. While the case is being investigated, the news comes at a time when the debate is raging in Congress and beyond, the possibility of developing an alternative missile that has been in use since the early 1970s.
The unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III (ICBM) intercontinental ballistic missile was to be tested from the Vandenberg airbase California, May 5, 12:15 to 6:15 Pacific time.
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The Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has confirmed that it is “assessing the potential to reschedule the launch”.
No comments have yet been made about the nature of the “ground abort”, nor can we even say that it was a failure at the moment.
This could be an engineering failure of the missile or its launch system, or it could have been a loss of tracking, a broken communication link, or even a “fouler” firing range, when an unauthorized asset moves away from the intended trajectory of the missile, as far as we know.
The 3-stage land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Minuteman family were originally intended for nuclear deterrence during the Cold War. Today, the LGM-30G Minuteman III is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.
It is capable of hitting targets within a radius of about 8,100 miles.