MILITARY

Air Force test-launches unarmed Minuteman missile from California base

In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile launches on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Air Force said the missile was launched from California in a test of the intercontinental ballistic missile system. (Joe Davila/U.S. Air Force via AP)

In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile launches on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Air Force said the missile was launched from California in a test of the intercontinental ballistic missile system. (Joe Davila/U.S. Air Force via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Air Force says an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile was launched from California in a test of the intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The missile blasted off at 3:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast northwest of Los Angeles.

The Air Force says the missile carried a test re-entry vehicle that hit a target area 4,200 miles away near the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement that such tests are a validation of the nation's defensive capabilities.

The test involved personnel from Vandenberg's 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Space Wing.