The US Air Force command confirmed the information that the test launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base was urgently terminated due to loss of control. On July 31 at 4:42 am PT, following an appropriate command from the ground, she self-destructed in the Kwajalein Atoll area.
The reasons for the incident are still unknown. There is a certain algorithm of actions in case of such an emergency situation. In particular, a digital map was installed at the command post with the designations of the air corridor along which the trajectory of its flight passes. The location of the ICBM is continuously tracked using a GPS transmitter. The map also shows the area - the so-called "trash track" - where, in the event of an accident, the rocket should fall after self-destruction.
How it works? When crossing the "forbidden" lines of the air corridor, a special officer of the combat crew of the command post activates the command for self-destruction. In the manual, it is referred to as "sending a function". However, there is no "general" explosion, and only the body of the rocket is destroyed to discharge the fuel before it can ignite. In this case, the rocket itself falls into the ocean under the control of the officers of the combat crew.
For reference. The only ground-based ICBM Minuteman III was adopted by the US Air Force almost half a century ago, back in 1970. However, it would not be entirely correct to call it completely obsolete. From 1998 to 2008, all the stuffing - sustainer engines, fuel, guidance system and warheads - was completely replaced. According to experts, only the aluminum shell remained from the original version.
Given that the Pentagon is extremely reluctant to comment on such incidents, the reasons for the accident with Minuteman III are likely to be classified.