Unarmed missile launched from California Air Force base

An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile was successfully launched from California in a test of the defense system, the U.S. Air Force said Wednesday.

The missile blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:49 p.m. Tuesday and arced over the Pacific Ocean, delivering a test re-entry vehicle to a range near Kwajalein Atoll after a flight of about 4,200 miles.

The missile was randomly selected for the test from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, transported to Vandenberg and reassembled.

"The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and readiness of the weapon system," the Air Force Global Strike Command said.