Air Force tests Minuteman III missile with launch from Vandenburg AFB

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Air Force Global Strike Command says these test launches serve to "validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system".

"The seamless partnership of Team V and our Air Force Global Strike Command mission partners has resulted in another safe Minuteman III operational test launch", Hough stated.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said on the "Today" show on Tuesday that military action against the reclusive state is "inevitable if North Korea continues" pursing its missile program. It will be handled.

The latest Minuteman launch happens days after North Korea test-fired a long-range projectile assessed by the USA and South Korean militaries as an ICBM.

According to the release, the test - of an unarmed Minuteman III equipped with a single test entry - is not meant to be a response to the recent North Korean test on Friday of a missile that appears to have the range to hit major U.S. cities.

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Flight data on North Korea's most recent test, conducted late last week, showed that a broad part of the mainland United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of Pyongyang's weapons, according to analysts. That month, the Air Force also conducted a test of a missile interceptor launched from Vandenberg.

Russian Federation also provided evidence indicating that the missile launch on July 4 was a test of an intermediate range rocket, much smaller in size and with lower capabilities than a conventional ICBM. Both ICBMs were test-launched at highly lofted angles to reduce the range and avoid neighboring countries, and the near-vertical flight paths meant the re-entry vehicles endured harsher conditions during their descents.

Warren is one of three missile bases with crew members standing by 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation's ICBM alert forces, the Air Force said.

The news of the relatively close call with the airliner comes at a time of increased focus on North Korea from the administration and members of Congress.

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