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U.S. Navy conducts successful test of Trident missiles

A two-missile flight test on unarmed, life-extended Trident II missiles were conducted from the USS Wyoming, Sept. 17, 2021.

The USS Wyoming is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. The test took place on the Eastern Test Range off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla.

An unarmed Trident II D5LE missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, during Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 31. This launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Program’s DASO certification process. The primary objective of DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the SSBN’s Strategic Weapon System (SWS) and crew before operational deployment following the submarine’s engineered refueling overhaul. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Holmes/Released)

This successful test was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation, designated DASO-31. The primary objective of a DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the SSBN’s Strategic Weapon System and crew before operational deployment following the submarine’s engineered refueling overhaul.

“The DASO test, and others like these, underscore our readiness and capability for 21st Century Strategic Deterrence,” said Rear Adm. Thomas E. Ishee, USSTRATCOM director of Global Operations. “SSBN crews undergo constant training and regularly planned testing to ensure the weapons systems remain ready and reliable. The Sailors and support element who make up the silent service prove every day they are capable and prepared to protect America and its allies.”

This launch marks 184 successful missile test flights of the Trident II (D5 & D5LE) SWS.

“Today’s [Sept. 17] test demonstrates the unmatched reliability of our sea-based nuclear deterrent, which is made possible by a dedicated team of military, civilian and industry partners who bring expertise and dedication to the mission that is truly extraordinary,” said Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe, director of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs. Further, “This same team is now developing the next generation of the Trident Strategic Weapon System, which will extend our sea-based strategic deterrent through 2084.”

The Trident strategic weapon system is highly accurate and reliable. The Trident II (D5) missiles recently underwent a life extension program to address potential impacts from aging and obsolescence. The life-extended missiles — Trident II (D5LE) — are now being deployed to the Fleet and will serve for the remaining service life of U.S Ohio-class and United Kingdom Vanguard-class SSBNs, and as the initial load-out for the U.S. Columbia-class and U.K. Dreadnought-class SSBNs.

USS Maine (SSBN-741) successfully executed the Navy’s last DASO in February 2020 off the coast of San Diego, California. The Navy’s most recent flight test — a Commander’s Evaluation Test — was a series of four launches in February 2021 off the coast of Florida. Each of these flight tests were of the life-extended Trident II (D5LE) missiles.

An unarmed Trident II D5LE missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, during Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 31. This launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Program’s DASO certification process. The primary objective of DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the SSBN’s Strategic Weapon System (SWS) and crew before operational deployment following the submarine’s engineered refueling overhaul. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Holmes/Released)

Flight test missiles are not armed, and safety of the public and the crew conducting the mission is paramount. The launches are conducted from the sea, the missile fly over the sea, and land in the sea. At no time does the missile fly over land.

The missile test was not conducted in response to any ongoing world events, nor as a demonstration of power. Test launches — including DASOs — are scheduled years in advance.

A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies. Deterrence remains a cornerstone of national security policy in the 21st century.

Strategic Systems Programs is the Navy command that provides cradle-to-grave lifecycle support for the Navy’s strategic weapon systems. This includes training, systems, equipment, facilities and personnel responsible for ensuring the safety, security- and effectiveness of the nation’s Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) Trident II (D5LE) strategic weapon system.

SLBMs are the sea-based leg of the nation’s strategic nuclear deterrent Triad that also includes the U.S. Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and nuclear-capable bombers. Each part of the Triad provides unique capabilities and advantages.

The sea-based leg makes up the majority — approximately 70 percent — of the U.S.’s deployed strategic nuclear deterrent Triad. The SLBM is the most survivable leg of the triad, provides a persistent presence, and allows for flexible concepts of operations.

An unarmed Trident II D5LE missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, during Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 31. This launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Program’s DASO certification process. The primary objective of DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the SSBN’s Strategic Weapon System (SWS) and crew before operational deployment following the submarine’s engineered refueling overhaul. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Holmes/Released)

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