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U.S. Test-launches ICBM Using Airborne Battle Staff

April 20, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Air Force announced yesterday that, with the help of the Navy, it had conducted a test launch of a Minuteman III ICBM, reported Defense News. What made this test flight unusual was that the command to launch the missile from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California was issued by an Air Force battle staff team from aboard a Navy E-6 nuclear command-and-control aircraft. “This test launch reinforces what our allies and partners already know—we're always ready to defend the United States with combat ready nuclear forces anytime, anywhere, on order, to conduct global strike,” Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Thomas Bussiere said in the statement. The dummy warhead landed in Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean after traveling about 4,200 miles.

The Minuteman III test launch came on the heels of Strategic Command’s Global Thunder 23 nuclear exercise, which concluded on April 18. The Omaha World Herald reported on April 18 that, out of 400 training events a year, Global Thunder is the biggest, involving more than 100,000 personnel across the entire nuclear enterprise, but there’s a trick to it. “This is a double-edged sword,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Hinson, a former deputy commander at StratCom. “You don’t want to do things to provoke Russia, in this case, to think we are doing anything other than an exercise.” J.B. Miller, StratCom’s J7 director of joint training, exercises, and assessments, said StratCom informs Russia of nuclear exercises directly as required by treaty and makes certain the event is well publicized. “There’s no surprises. We tell them it’s Global Thunder. There’s no question what we’re doing,” Miller said. That also explains why the aircraft participating in the exercise, as many as 31 of them on April 16, could be tracked on flight tracking websites.

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