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    In this photo provided by U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

    US to Test Intercontinental Ballistic Missile - Deputy Defense Secretary

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    US Deputy Defense Secretary said that United States is going to test on Friday an intercontinental ballistic missile Minuteman III.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) The United States is going to test on Friday an intercontinental ballistic missile Minuteman III, which forms the basis of the strategic nuclear forces of the country, US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said.

    According to Work, the launch is scheduled from a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    "We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable. And that is a signal… that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary," Work told reporters.

    In the coming three decades, the United States plans to modernize all three legs of its nuclear arsenal. The US Air Force is in charge of land and air systems, the intercontinental ballistic missile program and the strategic bomber program.

    Overall, President Barack Obama's budget for fiscal year 2017 would commit $19 billion to upgrading the full US nuclear enterprise, if it is approved by the Congress. The Center for Nonproliferation Studies has estimated the total cost of nuclear modernization will be up to $1 trillion over 30 years.

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    Tags:
    ballistic missile launches, Minuteman III, US Air Force, Robert Work, United States
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