US Military Just Test-Fired Minuteman 3 Missile Capable Of Carrying Nukes Around The World

Minuteman IIIMinuteman III Test Launch

In an ever so escalating war theater between the North Koreans and Americans, USA has just test-fired another inter-continental ballistic missile that can carry a nuke virtually anywhere on the planet. Wednesday’s show of force was the second in the space of couple of days, as an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile was launched from a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 12.02am.

Minuteman III Silo

The missile has an effective range of 8,000 miles, and this particular one hit Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean approximately 4,200 miles away from the base. The authorities say that the test took ten months to plan but the launch “conveniently” comes at a time when tensions between North Korea and the USA are at its volatile peak.

The missiles are fitted with W87 nuclear warheads that deliver a blast equivalent to 475 kilotons of TNT. This is 30 times more powerful than the Little Boy nuke dropped on Hiroshima that is estimated to have killed over 146,000 people!

Minuteman III Graph

The stages of a Minuteman 3 launch. 1) Primary rocket (A) launches missile from silo. 2) 60 seconds after launch, primary rocket drops away and secondary (B) takes over; warhead shroud (E) drops away. 3) 120 seconds, tertiary rocket (C) takes over 4) 180 seconds, tertiary rocket drops away as post-boot vehicle (D) leaves atmosphere. 5) Post-boost vehicle prepares re-entry vehicles, which contain the nuclear warheads, for launch. 6) The re-entry vehicles launch, along with decoys and ‘chaff’ designed to confuse defense systems. 7) The warheads re-enter the atmosphere and arm in-flight. 8) The warheads detonate, either in the air or on contact with the ground

The missile forms the backbone of US’ nuclear threat and was originally developed during the Cold War against Russia. The U.S. is estimated to hold over 450 intercontinental Minutemen missiles, which cost $7,000,000 each and are fired from silos built into the ground located all across the country.

Meanwhile, North Korea is also working on its own long range death missiles. The country’s military claims to have missiles with a range of up to 930 miles, and is now working on the Taepodong-2, which is a new missile with a maximum range of around 3,700 miles!

The country’s premier claims that they successfully launched a Taepodong-1 rocket, with a range of around 3,000 miles, back in 1998 which put North Korea’s first satellite into orbit. But experts believe that the launch was a failed one and the claim a hoax.

Minuteman III In The Night Sky

Fresh tensions have emerged after missile tests by North Korea and its fixation with developing a nuclear weapon that can strike the United States, making the country America’s top national security concerns. The U.S. has already sent warships to deter the country from conducting another nuclear test, although that has only led to further escalation and defiance from the Koreans.

Minuteman III Launch Arch

The world now holds its breath as we edge ever so precariously towards a possible nuclear war and a catastrophic one at that!

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SOURCE: Wonderfulengineering/AP

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