The Navy and Air Force recently conducted two strategic missile tests to validate the reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, U.S. Strategic Command said Monday.
An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, along with the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs and a crew from the USS Maryland (SSBN-738), on Aug. 31 conducted a demonstration and shakedown operation, which is meant to demonstrate the readiness of the strategic weapon system on a ballistic missile submarine before deployment, the statement said. This involved the launch of an unarmed Trident II D-5 missile off the coast of Florida, the 161st successful test flight of that missile, according to the release.
Air Force Global Strike Command airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malsmstrom AFB, Mont., on Sept. 5 launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM with a test re-entry vehicle, STRATCOM said. Launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., it traveled roughly 4,200 miles to the Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll.
Adm. Cecil Haney, STRATCOM commander, said in the statement that the tests “prove that our nation’s strategic triad of submarines, ICBMs, and bombers is safe, secure, effective and ready.”
“But we cannot rely on that indefinitely,” Haney said. “Sustaining and modernizing the nuclear enterprise infrastructure is crucial to maintaining a strong, credible and flexible nuclear deterrent, which is essential to our national security and the security of United States’ allies and partners.”