Caught On Tape: U.S. Test Fires Nuclear ICBM, Warns "We Are Prepared To Use Nuclear Weapons"

Tyler Durden's picture

Less than two years ago, news of Russia test-firing an ICBM just as the east Ukraine civil war was heating up, was sufficient to send the stock market into a brief tailspin. Since then, the launches of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles has become an almost daily occurrence, with the market hardly batting an eyelid.

In fact, it happened just last night at 11:01pm PST at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where - for the second time this week - the US test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile in the past seven days, seeking to demonstrate its nuclear arms capacity at a time of rising strategic tensions with Russia, North Korea, China and the middle east.

The unarmed Minuteman III missile roared out of a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California late at night, raced across the sky at speeds of up to 15,000 mph (24,000 kph) and landed a half hour later in a target area 4,200 miles (6,500 km) away near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the South Pacific.

The entire launch was caught on the following video, which was released by Vandenberg just 4 days after the previous ICBM launch.


What was more disturbing than the actual launch, however, was the rhetoric behind it: instead of passing it off as another routine test, and letting US "adversaries" make up their own mind about what is going on, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, who witnessed the launch, said the U.S. tests, conducted at least 15 times since January 2011, send a message to strategic rivals like Russia, China and North Korea that Washington has an effective nuclear arsenal. "That’s exactly why we do this," Work told reporters before the launch.

Of course, the #1 unspoken rule when launching ICBMs is to never explicitly say why you are doing it. By breaking said rule, it marks a much greater escalation in international diplomacy than merely test firing the nuclear-capable ballistic missile.

That, however, was not an issue and Work piled on, with the following stunner

"We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable. And that is a signal ... that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary."

Well that's good to know.

As Reuters adds, demonstrating the reliability of the nuclear force has taken on additional importance recently because the U.S. arsenal is near the end of its useful life and a spate of scandals in the nuclear force two years ago raised readiness questions.

The Defense Department has poured millions of dollars into improving conditions for troops responsible for staffing and maintaining the nuclear systems. The administration also is putting more focus on upgrading the weapons.


President Barack Obama’s final defense budget unveiled this month calls for a $1.8 billion hike in nuclear arms spending to overhaul the country's aging nuclear bombers, missiles, submarines and other systems.

That said, the irony of the Nobel Peace Prize winner re-escalating the arms race was not lost on Reuters: the nuclear spending boost is an ironic turn for a president who made reducing U.S. dependence on atomic weapons a centerpiece of his agenda during his first years in office.

Obama called for a world eventually free of nuclear arms in a speech in Prague and later reached a new strategic weapons treaty with Russia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in part based on his stance on reducing atomic arms.  "He was going to de-emphasize the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy ... but in fact in the last few years he has emphasized new spending," said John Isaacs of the Council for a Livable World, an arms control advocacy group.

Perhaps the Nobel committee should watch the video above and decide if it is not too late to ask for their prize back.

And just like that the nuclear arms race is back.

Critics say the Pentagon's plans are unaffordable and unnecessary because it intends to build a force capable of deploying the 1,550 warheads permitted under the New START treaty... Hans Kristensen, an analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said the Pentagon's costly "all-of-the-above" effort to rebuild all its nuclear systems was a "train wreck that everybody can see is coming." Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association, said the plans were "divorced from reality."


The Pentagon could save billions by building a more modest force that would delay the new long-range bomber, cancel the new air launched cruise missile and construct fewer ballistic submarines, arms control advocates said.


Work said the Pentagon understood the financial problem. The department would need $18 billion a year between 2021 and 2035 for its portion of the nuclear modernization, which is coming at the same time as a huge "bow wave" of spending on conventional ships and aircraft, he said.


"If it becomes clear that it’s too expensive, then it’s going to be up to our national leaders to debate" the issue, Work said, something that could take place during the next administration when spending pressures can no longer be ignored.

As a reminder, the last time the U.S. engaged in a nuclear arms race with the USSR, it led to the collapse of the "evil empire." It would be even more ironic that Obama launching nuclear rockets if this time around the tables on the ultimate loser are turned.

In the meantime, just think of all the GDP-boosting "broken windows" that would result from a nuclear war.

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oncemore's picture

Strategic rivals?
......strategic rivals like Russia, China and North Korea...............
that guy must have been drunken.

just the tip's picture

Work said, something that could take place during the next administration when spending pressures can no longer be ignored.


which is his way of saying that during the current administration spending pressures can be ignored?  fuck you work and fuck you carter.

Chippewa Partners's picture

Don't put too much into this test.   Two of the 3 nuclear missile AFB's have tested recently maybe the third will be next.   Love the ability of missileers to practice!  Hopefully an upgrade of the entire nuclear effort will be coming soon!

Bagbalm's picture

If you do this in your neighborhood they call it brandishing.

Kreditanstalt's picture

We're led by jackasses.

Jetset2's picture

I don't understand why we need any missiles- Why not just threaten to detonate our aresenal of war heads on our own soil in defense? It's ultimately the exact same outcome- world extinction.

Fuku Ben's picture

Everyone can't reach an agreement on their alleged differences with their alleged enemies so we can at least mutually assure the destruction of each other and everything else. And maybe if we're lucky some of us will survive and eventually do it all over again. Just ridiculous logic.

For those of you on any side that also see the fallacy of this logic feel free to join those of us who have some common sense. Preferably long before someone at or near the top on any side does something really stupid.

kbohip's picture

The whole "ICBM we're prepared to defend the country bla bla bla" cover story was brilliant on Amazon's part to keep UPS in the dark regarding their new "30 minutes to anywhere" package delivery system.  The good news is the rocket fuel is almost as cheap as UPS's next day air rates anymore.

Yttrium Gold Nitrogen's picture

"We are prepared to use nuclear weapons"

So is everyone else.

Has anything changed since 1962?

jakesdad's picture

remind me again how TRUMP is hitler in all of this?

- - - - - -'s picture
- - - - - - (not verified) jakesdad Feb 26, 2016 2:16 PM

you remind me of how dumb the average zh reader in 2016 is


dsty's picture

can't we all just allegedly get along and use some alleged common sense?

- - - - - -'s picture
- - - - - - (not verified) dsty Feb 26, 2016 2:18 PM

something similar i tried to say when i was 11 and encountered muslim immigrants for the first time

Solio's picture

There may be some pressure to use those things before the Wigner Effect turns them into dust, thus making them unreliable, useless.

no1wonder's picture

The US military’s test-firing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles this week is intended at silencing Republican critics who accuse President Barack Obama of being weak. The ICBMs were also an attempt to prop up support for Saudi Arabia and Turkey who are supporting militants fighting the Syrian government.


When they’ve all stopped showing us how big their Dicks are, can we please get on with making decent countries for people to live their lives in?

European American's picture

When ever I see something like "We (US) are prepared to use nuclear weapons" I think to myself "Fuck, I live in the "US", is this somehow a reflection of "ME", the "WE" part? If it is, I am one fucked up Psychopath!

Dr. Engali's picture

Why do I feel like we are getting more and more like North Korea every day? These people are clearly fucked in the head.

alphahammer's picture
alphahammer (not verified) Dr. Engali Feb 26, 2016 2:55 PM


Define we. Its obvious you aren't American.

Dr. Engali's picture

Tell me that our "leaders" don't sound more like little Kim Jung as this country continues its slide down to third world status.

onlooker's picture

Our political system which has Republicans in power that builds military and then Democrats in power that depletes military is not new. Johnson’s guns and butter may have been an exception.

It is a flaw in the system and there seems to be no solution. There has been an assumption that rational forces on both sides will keep a World destroying nuke event from happening. Those sides have fractured into many sides and rational is not to be assumed.

Being out dated, under inventoried, and decreasing research and manufacturing is much more problematic than in WW1 and WW2 when we were in that situation. All time lines are much more critical not only for materials but also man power.

There is a problem with losing the next one. However the American mind set of  “always prepared”  is not like Israeli. The concept of staying healthy rather than causing ill health is catching on. Maybe we should also apply that to the health of our Nation.

rejected's picture

Typical mine is bigger than yours bullshit.... even if it destroys everything on the planet.

Tell me again, man is an intelligent species.

flaminratzazz's picture

I just wish they would hurry up. I have this metric shiton of guns and ammo with nothing to shoot at.

- - - - - -'s picture
- - - - - - (not verified) flaminratzazz Feb 26, 2016 2:36 PM

you can start practicing with some american muslim children. its a challenge, the smaller they are the harder they are to hit

flaminratzazz's picture

we have to get rid of the morons that would say it is against the law first. I am now financing a flame thrower. I am sick of fvkin around. Burn this sumbiatch down and then burn the fvkin ashes.

alphahammer's picture
alphahammer (not verified) flaminratzazz Feb 26, 2016 2:55 PM


If you somehow survive (highly doubtful) then the only thing left to shoot at is yourself...

Totentänzerlied's picture

"And that is a signal ... that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary."

Because it's not at all as if this has been the single absolutely fundamental, defining, and undeniable premise of diplomacy, realpolitik, military strategy, really all of international relations and global politics since the world learned of the existence of functioning thermonuclear weapons ~70 years ago?

optimator's picture

And my Dad used to say that in Germany before the First World War everyone was positive there would be no war.  The machine gun made any war impossible.

Victory_Garden's picture

And clown show #33.99&.666 sponsored by your local al-CIA-DUH govt evil things to ramp up that ol fear factor will be at 7:07 sharp next Tuesday evening. Get there early. Popcorn laced with LSD will be served for free to all those attending on the west coast via chemtrailing. Get your day-glo everything noW!

The Dogs of Moar's picture

reviewing the situation

Less than two years ago, news of Russia test-firing an ICBM just as the east Ukraine civil war was heating up

Then I opined that Russia, and her 150,000,000 people were not interested in fighting a conventional war with the US/NATO and their 750,000,000.  It would be silliness.

So Russia let it be known that it would immediately go nuclear if war broke out and that she might even go pre-emptive first strike.  That was about 2 years ago.  But the MSM decided not to make anything of it.  And in a couple of weeks the story was dead

So 2 years later, after being embarrassed by Russia in Syria, guess who's 'coming round the mountain', driving six white horses'?

2 years late

Yep, the US Cavalry.  6 months ago they were testing upgrades to nuclear gravity bombs (ho hum. like adjusting rabbit ears for watching "Blackish" on ABC.)

The Pentagon was just going to have to spend the money on testing a real ICBM out of a silo.  Yellen would have to print some moar.

So the Pentagon is about 2 years behind Russia, who already had 'Khibiny' and a nuclear torpedo that could swim up the Hudson to 34th St. before burping.

But the US had the F-35.  

Nuff said.

If the markets are the most important things in your life, a nice nuclear war should clear up all the doubts that investors have about them now.

optimator's picture

And (some) folks are curious about why they've been digging up the lawn in front of the White House for the last few years and wondering what they're putting in there. 

ebear's picture

Probably an old Indian burial ground.
Those things will really mess you up.

The Dogs of Moar's picture

You must mean the bomb-proof shelter for our precious Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  What would life in America be without them after a nuclear exchange?

Especially after the FBI opened a 'back door' to the Constitution.

Jordan Cove's picture

There is some serious paranoia mongering going on in the US Government.

alphahammer's picture
alphahammer (not verified) Feb 26, 2016 2:52 PM


"We Are Prepared To Use Nuclear Weapons"


Why would anyone have these damned things if they weren't prepared to use them?


Volkodav's picture

you first...

but before that, go home

- - - - - -'s picture
- - - - - - (not verified) Volkodav Feb 26, 2016 4:08 PM



thats not a problem of just russia and usa

every country got nuclear weapons now

china got some, india got some

saudia arbia has announced they have a nuclear weapon too last week

Vin's picture

Why in the hell are we at war anyway?  With whom?  I guess Obola intends to finish his 'fundamental transfomation' in a big way.



That's what scares the poo out of me.  He'll be more dangerous in the next 11 months than in the previous 7 years.

the grateful unemployed's picture

this is pretty simple really, the GOP presidential contender will be decided on Super Tuesday, at that point the nominee will begin to campaign in earnest against the sitting president. once the candidate (Trump probably) goes after Obama, then Clinton has to decide how much she likes the current president. its almost certain that Trump will hammer Obama on being a weak leader, and while Trump will spend a few million to make that claim, Obama can spend billions of taxpayer dollars to refute him. then Hillary (probably) can join in the chorus and promise even more billions. this is why incumbents win elections, they use taxpayer money and free campaign time they have on the bully pulpit to promote themselves and their successors. when i am the head of the FCC this crap is all going to stop. and when i am head of the SEC i would charge Obama with the RICO act for writing subsidies to Solendrya and then accepting campaign contributions from the company. they call that a kickback. and when i am AG in the next administration i will investigate all evidence of wrong doing in the previous administration. of course i will none of those things because the next president wants all those perks. 

krage_man's picture

Here is the truth.

US has only 2 types of ICBM - silo and submarine:

  • Minuteman III(LGM-30G): launched from silo—as of May 2009, there are 450 MinutemanIII missiles in active inventory 
  • UGM-133 Trident IIsubmarine-launched ballistic missile

Russian ICBMs are much more advanced including mobile which hardly can be destroyed:

  • R-36 SS-9 Scarp
  • R-36M2 Voevoda / SS-18 Satan
  • UR-100N 15A30 / SS-19 Stiletto
  • RT-2PM Topol / 15Zh58 / SS-25 Sickle
  • RT-2PM2 Topol-M / SS-27 / RS12M1 / RS12M2
  • RS-24: MIRV-equipped.
  • R-29R SS-N-18 Stingray
  • R-29RK SS-N-18 Stingray Mod 2
  • R-29RL MIRV-equipped/SS-N-18 Stingray Mod 3
  • R-29RM MIRV-equipped/SS-N-23 Skiff
  • R-29RMU Sineva MIRV-equipped/SS-N-23 Sineva mode 2
  • R-29RMU2 MIRV-equipped/SS-N-23 Liner
  • RSM-56 Bulava MIRV-equipped/SS-NX-30

In real conflict, Russia will suffer much less damage than US. All sides know it. 

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) krage_man Feb 26, 2016 3:19 PM

And the Russians are digging holes.


Why Is Russia Building Massive Underground Bomb Shelters?
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 19:30 -0400

Tzanchan's picture

In real conflict the 35% or Russians with indoor plumbing and have not yet developoed lung cancer or chirrosis will not be happy. The rubble will bounce either way...

Baa baa's picture

More truth, the record of reliability for Russian nukes is very poor. Both in reaching a target and hitting a target.


krage_man's picture

Based on your experince?

The precision of the modern nukes is around 10 meters.

Crusing missiles lauched from Caspian sea to Syria flew 2500 km over Iran and Iraq and hit all targets with excellent  precision. 

83_vf_1100_c's picture

  This from our peaceable anti gun administration? Rattling nuclear sabres like this is akin to Joe 6pack pulling his 1911 and popping a round in the air over an argument with his next door neighbor over a dog shitting on the lawn. Cops will show up and Joe will be charged.

Emergency Ward's picture

I was thinking that Madwoman Rodham would be the one to drop the nukes, but Unhinged Barry Obomba seems to be lusting for WWIII and global destruction.  He must have his shelter well stocked with goodies.

CHoward's picture

Kids..."you show me yours, I'll show you mine".  So childish.