U.S. test fires intercontinental ballistic missile in message to North Korea

FOX NEWS - The U.S. test fired the Boeing (BA)-made Minuteman III missile amid growing tensions with North Korea over the Kim regime's nuclear program.

The Minuteman III is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying nuclear warheads. When it was built in the 1970s, each missile had a price tag of $7 million, or more than $40 million in current dollars. Since the initial production run, the Air Force has made upgrades to the Minuteman III including modern targeting systems.

The missile test, conducted from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sent a Minuteman III about 4,200 miles to a test range in the Marshall Islands. Col. John Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, said the launch "was an important demonstration of our nation's nuclear deterrent capability."

"Test launches like this one are vital to validating the effectiveness and readiness of our operational nuclear systems, so it is critical that they are successful," Col. Moss added.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. began installing an anti-missile battery in South Korea to defend against threats from North Korea.