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Vandenberg Air Force Base Poised to Conduct Minuteman Missile Test Early Wednesday

An unarmed Minuteman III missile test is set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday.

The intercontinental ballistic missile test is planned between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. from an underground silo on North Base. 

The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.

The Louisiana-based unit oversees the land-based and air-based nuclear weapons units.

Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander at Vandenberg, is the launch decision authority, and will give the final permission for the test to proceed.

"This Minuteman III launch continues the tremendous teamwork between the 30th Space Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command," Moss said. 

"Each test launch demonstrates both the capability of the Minuteman III missile as well as the outstanding skill of the men and women who maintain and operate our nuclear missile systems.”

Upon launch, the mock warhead will be tracked as it travels hundreds of miles southwest of Vandenberg to a predetermined target in the central Pacific Ocean. 

Minuteman III missiles are three-stage, solid-fueled weapons, with approximately 450 sitting on alert in and around Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

This will be the fifth test launch of a Minuteman III missile in 2015 — two occurred in March, another in May and one in August  — after years with fewer than normal launches due to technical troubles.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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