Navy Reports the USS Louisiana Launched a Nuclear-Capable Missile Off San Diego

Trident launch
A Trident II D5 missile roars into the sky from the submerged USS Louisiana. Navy photo

The Navy reported that the submarine USS Louisiana successfully launched a nuclear-capable Trident II D5 intercontinental ballistic missile while submerged in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.

The launch, which was the 191st successful launch of a Trident II since 1989, came at 2:10 p.m. on Sept. 27, the Navy said.

The missile was unarmed, but typically would have four independently targetable nuclear warheads.

Trident IIs are carried by 14 U.S. Ohio-class submarines and 4 British Vanguard-class submarines. The U.S. submarines typically have 20 of the missiles, which have a range of over 7,500 miles. The make up sea-based part of the U.S. strategic weapons triad.

Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Jr., director of strategic systems programs, called the test flight a “historic milestone” for the weapons system.

He said the Navy plans to “sustain this unmatched weapons system while developing the next generation strategic weapons system to ensure our nation’s sea-based strategic deterrence capability through 2084.”