The Navy said Thursday it conducted a scheduled test flight of an unarmed Trident II nuclear missile from the USS Maine, a ballistic-missile submarine submerged off the coast of San Diego.
The test of a life-extended version of the venerable nuclear-weapon system followed the submarine’s recent overhaul and refueling.
“The professional performance by the crew of the USS Maine today demonstrated they are ready to stand the watch for our nation’s strategic deterrence mission,” said James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy, who was aboard the submarine for the launch.
This launch on Wednesday marked the 177th successful test of a Trident II missile.
“Today’s test demonstrates the continued reliability of our sea-based nuclear deterrent, which is made possible by our sailors, civilians and industry partners who bring expertise and dedication to the mission that is unmatched by any other country,” said Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe.
“These same teams are now developing the next generation of the Trident strategic weapon system, which will extend our sea-based deterrent for the next 40 years,” he said.
More than two thirds of the nation’s deliverable nuclear warheads are on Trident missiles aboard submarines.
The missiles have a range of over 7,500 miles and each carries up to 14 independently targeted nuclear warheads.
Trident missiles are deployed aboard submarines used by both the United States and the United Kingdom.
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