US Air Force aborts the planned test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile for unexplained reasons
US Air Forcehad to abort a planned test launch of one of its Minuteman III ICBMs.
- The service said a "ground abort" was experienced prior to launch but didn't go into specifics.
- The abort comes amid a debate about the nuclear modernization and the future of the
The US Air Force aborted the planned test launch of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement Wednesday.The launch was scheduled for sometime between 12:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but it "experienced a ground abort prior to launch," the Air Force said.
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The Air Force conducts regular test launches to ensure that weapons, respective launch systems, and related personnel remain reliable should the US find itself in a nuclear crisis.Problems during the testing are rare, but they do happen. In 2018, for example, the US military was forced to terminate an unarmed ICBM in flight after an anomaly created an "unsafe flight condition."
The latest issue, whatever it may be, comes amid a debate over efforts to modernize America's ICBM force, an expensive endeavor that has received some pushback from progressive politicians and arms control advocates.The US military, in partnership with major defense contractor Northrop Grumman, aims to replace the existing
Adm. Charles Richard, who currently leads US Strategic Command, told lawmakers in April that he "cannot deter with the leftovers of the Cold War forever," arguing that the ICBM force is past the point of upgrade and needs to be replaced.
Given the lack of clarity surrounding the unexpected abort of Wednesday's test launch, it is unclear what impact, if any, this could have on the ongoing debate surrounding nuclear modernization efforts and the future of the ICBM force.
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