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Minuteman III destroyed during test launch

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An unarmed operational test Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was destroyed by Vandenberg's Western Range officials at 3:06 a.m. PDT after launching from Launch Facility 04 here July 27.

Air Force controllers detected a flight anomaly and terminated the flight for safety reasons. When terminated, the vehicle was in the broad ocean area, northeast of Roi-Namur.

"At all times public safety is paramount. We plan for situations like this and everything was executed according to the plan," said Col. Matthew Carroll, 30th Space Wing chief of safety. "Established parameters were exceeded and controllers sent destruct commands."

The launch was an operational test to determine the weapon system's reliability and accuracy.

An Air Force team will investigate the cause of the anomaly.

More information will be released as it becomes available.