Defence News India (world): America wants to keep Russian and Chinese concerns at bay, while testing out the mighty Minuteman 3 ICBM for the second time in a week. On Wednesday, a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Aiming 6,800 km and falling near the Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll. The missile was armed with a dummy warhead. Media in the United states co-related the test to the North Korea issue. Russia and China seem to be reading between the lines as these tests are seen as a US assertion of it’s dominance in global nuclear weapons delivery capability.
Seen above: The earlier test of the Minuteman 3 this week
The missile has been in US arsenal for 4 decades and forms the bulk of US nuclear armament when it comes to ICBMs. Currently the US has about 450 Minuteman III ICBMs , each capable of traveling about 12,900 km to strike targets worldwide. The Minuteman III remains the US’s only ground-based ICBM. There are clues that a new ground system will replace the Minuteman 3 . Washington has ambitious plans to upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal and delivery mechanism. Under the Obama administration, the White House announced a trillion dollar program to upgrade its arsenal within 3 decades. President Donald Trump has also been quite forthcoming in his support for this upgrade. Looking at Russia, she also plans to upgrade her nuclear ICBMs. Russia is particularly concerned with arms built up on it’s borders by NATO and the missile encirclement that forms part of it. More missiles are now at Russian borders than ever before.
China in the Russia-US Missile Tussle:
China on the other hand is also concerned. The Minuteman missiles are being closely watched by the Chinese, while missile defence in Korean peninsula have made things worrisome for them. China has just pressurized North Korea like America wanted and looks like their (American) policy is working. Chinese are reportedly developing their ICBMs further as the traditional ICBMs they have are still technically behind western/Russian bloc. As far as India is concerned, we just need to wait and watch, especially what the Chinese do. Only time will tell where, when and how the nuclear race will end.