The US will soon carry out a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.
The launch will proceed early Wednesday morning from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters.
Ryder maintained that the launch is a "routine test," and said the missile will not be armed. Russia has been notified in advanced of the launch, he added.
"The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to demonstrate the readiness of US nuclear forces and provide confidence in the security and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," Ryder said.
Wednesday's launch is the first of the nuclear-capable Minuteman III since Aug. 16, and is the second of the year amid soaring tensions with Russia over its war against Ukraine. The first launch was delayed due to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, which provoked China's anger and led to Beijing severing some defense ties with Washington.
The Minuteman II comprises the sole land-based component of the US's "nuclear triad," which refers to the country's land, air and sea-launched nuclear weapons.