Five members of Congress and the commander of America’s strategic nuclear forces were aboard a submerged submarine to observe the launch of a Trident II D5 intercontinental missile on Saturday.
Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, Indiana Reps. Pete Visclosky, Jackie Walorski and Larry Bucshon, and Arkansas Rep. Stephen Womack joined Adm. Cecil D. Haney aboard the USS Kentucky off Point Mugu north of Los Angeles.
The unarmed test missile lit up the night sky over Southern California and landed in the Eastern Missile Range near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
It was the 156th successful test flight of the Trident II D5 missile since 1989. Armed missiles typically carry eight independently targetable nuclear warheads.
“A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends,” said Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, after the launch.
“I’m thrilled that some of our Congressional members were able to take the time to witness this test and to see firsthand the professional and dedicated submariners conducting the strategic deterrence mission, as well as the team of professionals supporting the test,” he added.
The U.S. maintains a “triad” of ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and manned bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
A second Trident missile was launched on Monday evening.
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