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Tags: minuteman | icbm | air force | space force

Minuteman ICBM Tests Raise Doubts About Weapons System

By    |   Thursday, 06 June 2024 04:02 PM EDT

The military reportedly test-fired two unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles this week amid lawmakers' doubts about the weapons system.

The Air Force and Space Force tests took place Tuesday and Thursday from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, the Air Force Global Strike Command said in separate news releases, Military Times reported.

The tests weren't triggered by "current world events," according to the Air Force.

"Today's test launch is just one example of how our nation's ICBMs, and the professional Airmen who maintain and operate them, demonstrate the readiness and reliability of the weapon system," Col. Chris Cruise, head of the 377th Test and Evaluation Group, said in the announcement Tuesday, Military Times reported.

According to the outlet, the reentry vehicle — the top of the ICBM that carries the nuclear warhead — of each missile traveled about 4,200 miles to a test site in the Marshall Islands. 

The Minuteman III ICBM system first became operational in the 1970s.

And though expected to be in service for only a decade, it's still in use — and will be until the 2030s, the outlet reported — despite concerns about its effectiveness.  

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said there has to be more urgency to "modernize our aging nuclear deterrent and replace the Minuteman III missile — as well as the rest of our nuclear enterprise — with modern systems," the outlet reported.

Rogers chairs the House Armed Service Committee.

The Air Force intends to field its next ICBM, dubbed Sentinel, in February 2026.

Meanwhile, Democrats Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. John Garamendi of California pointed at problems with the timing.

"This timeline is inconsistent with the Air Force's plans to continue to maintain the Minuteman III program for the next 15 to 20 years while the Sentinel program is rolled out in stages," the pair stated, according to Military Times.

"Even assuming the Air Force is able to meet its intended timeline, the Air Force must rely on the Minuteman III until at least 2036," they wrote.

Fran Beyer

Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


US
The military reportedly test-fired two unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles this week amid lawmakers' doubts about the weapons system.
minuteman, icbm, air force, space force
332
2024-02-06
Thursday, 06 June 2024 04:02 PM
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