The United States Air Force has scheduled a test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile for the early hours of Wednesday, October 23. This test follows two similar Minuteman III tests on September 22 and 26. The Minuteman III missiles are based in silos in the central United States. The missiles are constantly on high alert, ready to be fired within minutes of an order. Each missile carries a nuclear warhead many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Wednesday’s test will send a Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central coast of California to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Rick Wayman, NAPF’s Director of Programs, criticized the U.S. government for its continued testing of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles. He said, “Continued testing of land-based nuclear missiles by the United States sends a very clear message to the rest of the world: ‘We have the power to annihilate any city on Earth within minutes, and we plan to continue our reliance on nuclear weapons indefinitely’.”
On Monday, 124 nations at the United Nations General Assembly signed a statement highlighting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The statement read, in part, “It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances….The only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination.”
Wayman said, “Wednesday’s nuclear missile test flies in the face of the opinion of the majority of the world’s governments and people. If nuclear weapons are used again in war, the consequences will be grave for all of humanity. This test is nothing but a practice run for actual use. There is a clear path forward for banning and eliminating all nuclear weapons worldwide. That path does not include continued testing of nuclear-capable missiles.”