Minuteman III ICBM Launch
updated: Sep 22, 2013, 10:15 AM
By Anthony Galván III
A LGM-30 Minuteman rocket, also known as a Minuteman III, was successfully
launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday morning, September 22, 2013, at
3:01 PDT. The test launch is one of several launches scheduled for the west
coast base this month.
Under a bright moon, the rocket lifted off from Launch-Facility 10 (LF-10) which
is Minuteman rocket launch silo complex at Vandenberg.
The Minuteman III is a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),
designed to deliver nuclear warheads. Currently it is the only land-based ICBM
in service in the United States. Each missile carries three nuclear warheads,
which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.
The letter "L" in "LGM" indicates that the missile is silo-launched; the "G"
indicates that it is designed to attack ground targets; the "M" indicates that
it is a guided missile.
The ICBM was named Minuteman after the Revolutionary War's Minutemen who were
able to respond quickly to a threat in the late 1770s. The missile can be
prepared and launched in minutes after a valid launch order has been issued and
plans are to keep the missile in service until 2030.
There are currently 450 Minuteman III missiles in silos located in Montana,
North Dakota and Wyoming.
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