MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Military leaders from North Dakota flew to California to see a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile — one which would eventually be terminated over the Pacific Ocean. Even with this unexpected stop, though, the teams in charge say the test launch provided vital data.

The new ICBM is known as the Minuteman III missile, which Minot Airmen transported from our state’s missile complex to the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California earlier this year. The anomaly that led to the launch’s termination was not explained to the public, but leaders say this is exactly the reason why these tests are performed.

The test launch is a routine exercise done to ensure the U.S. military has reliable and effective nuclear deterrence, and similar tests have been performed over 300 times in military history. In the case of the Minuteman III’s test run, Minot leaders were permitted to travel to California and witness the launch as it occurred. During their trip, they had the opportunity to participate in mission briefs and meetings with military leaders — including South Korean defense officials.

Military leaders are planning to replace the Minuteman III missile with The LGM 35-A Sentinel by 2029. Minot will be the third and the Air Force Base to receive the Sentinel. Leaders say this new weapon system is a major upgrade to our military power.