he U.S. Air Force’s latest Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test ended in failure after a “ground abort” prior to launch. While the cause is under investigation, the news comes at a time when a debate is raging in Congress and elsewhere about whether to proceed with developing a replacement for the missile, which has been in use since the early 1970s.
The unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was due to be test-launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on May 5, between 12:15 AM and 6:15 AM Pacific Time. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has confirmed that it’s “assessing the potential to reschedule the launch.” No comment has yet been made about the nature of the “ground abort,” and we can’t really even say it was a malfunction at this time. It could have been a technical failure of the missile or its launch system, or it could have involved a tracking system loss, a broken communications link, or even a range “fouler,” when an unauthorized asset strays into the missile’s planned path, for all we know.
Test launches of the Minuteman III are a fundamental part of evaluating the ICBM and gathering data to keep the system effective, including validating its readiness and accuracy. Furthermore, aborted tests and outright failures are also not unheard of, with the last mishap coming in 2018, again out of Vandenburg, when an unarmed Minuteman III suffered a failure over the Pacific. In that instance, Air Force personnel utilized the weapon’s self-destruct feature to safely destroy it in flight.
Full article https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40467/minuteman-iii-intercontinental-ballistic-missile-test-aborted-due-to-undisclosed-issue