VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The U.S. Air Force is planning to test an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile with a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the fourth such test this year.

The 30th Space Wing says the missile will be launched between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. Wednesday.

An Air Force statement says the purpose is to test the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.

Minuteman missiles are regularly tested with launches from Vandenberg that send unarmed re-entry vehicles 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) across the Pacific to a target area at Kwajalein Atoll.

However, the latest launches come amid tensions with North Korea as that nation develops its own ICBMs.

Previous Minuteman launches this year were conducted in February, April and May.

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