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​An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., during an operational test, Feb. 20, 2016. Air Force Photo by SrA. Kyla Gifford.

​The Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Feb. 21 for an operational test, according to a press release. A team from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D.; the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb.; and the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandy launched the ICBM with a test re-entry vehicle at 11:34 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Air Force Global Strike Command said. The re-entry vehicle contained a telemetry package that is used for operational testing; it traveled roughly 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. “The flight test program demonstrated one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system,” said Col. Craig Ramsey, commander of the 576th FLTS. “When coupled with the other facets of our test program, we get a complete picture of the weapon system’s reliability. But perhaps most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors,” he added. (See previously: Minuteman III Tested From Vandenberg.)