The U.S. Navy has launched a second unarmed ballistic missile from a submarine in the Pacific as part of a test of the technology, a Pentagon spokesman said.
It occurred around noon local time Monday and came two days after the USS Kentucky (SSBN-737), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, launched an unarmed Trident II D5 nuclear missile in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of southern California.
The exercise was conducted by the Navy Strategic Systems Programs. The first launch surprised observers, some of whom speculated on social media that light from the object was a meteorite or unidentified flying object, or UFO.
“This is the second and final launch of a planned and scheduled exercise,” according to the Pentagon statement. “The test launches were a part of Demonstration and Shakedown Operations, designated DASO-26. The Navy did not release video of the Trident SLBM launch. The missiles landed in the Eastern Missile Range near Kwajalein.”
John Daniels, a spokesman for the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, said he didn’t yet have photographs available from today’s launch, but referenced the one he Tweeted from the previous test.
As we noted in the previous post, the Navy is upgrading its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear missiles to extend their service life for 25 more years aboard the nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet.