The USs Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) has conducted a successful test flight of a Trident II D5 Missile aboard the navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the USS Kentucky.
The test flight of the unarmed ballistic missile was aimed at obtaining valid reliability, accuracy and performance factors for use by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).
Conducted in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California, the test was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO), which is intended to demonstrate the readiness of a SSBN’s crew and weapon system.
USSTRATCOM commander Admiral Cecil D Haney said: "A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of US allies and friends.
"(The) strategic weapons tests demonstrate the readiness of our nation’s nuclear triad, and serve to assure our allies and deter our potential adversaries."
According to the US Navy, the latest launch marked the 156th successful test flight of the Trident II (D5) missile conducted by SSP since 1989.
Trident II D5 is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile, capable of travelling a range of 4,000nm, while carrying multiple, independently targeted re-entry vehicles.
It is currently aboard the US Navy Ohio-class and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines.
The US Navy supports USSTRATCOM’s strategic deterrence missions by operating and maintaining Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines to deter regional and strategic threats.
USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, and missile defence, among others.
In February, the US Navy conducted the 155th test flight of two Trident II D5 Fleet ballistic missiles from a submerged Ohio-class submarine.
Image: the US Navy officials aboard USS Kentucky during the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released.