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Air Force Conducts Missile Test in CA  04/26 06:23

   VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) -- An unarmed Minuteman 3 
intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from a U.S. Air Force Base 
in California on a flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean.

   The missile lifted off at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force 
Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

   An Air Force statement said the mission was part of a program to test the 
effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.

   The 30th Space Wing commander, Col. John Moss, said Minuteman launches are 
essential to verify the status of the U.S. nuclear force and to demonstrate the 
national nuclear capabilities.

   In a Minuteman test, a so-called re-entry vehicle travels more than 4,000 
miles downrange to a target at Kwajalein Atoll near the Kwajalein Atoll in the 
Marshall Islands.

   "Team V is once again ready to work with Air Force Global Strike Command to 
successfully launch another Minuteman III missile," Moss said. "These Minuteman 
launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and 
to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities. We are proud of our long 
history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron 
to execute these missions for the nation."

   The 576th Flight Test Squadron will be responsible for installed tracking, 
telemetry, and command destruct systems on the missile.


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