Over the past week, the US Navy has revealed that they carried out four test fires in a matter of three days of Trident II nuclear-capable ICBM missiles off the course of California, insisting that all four launches were a success.
The missiles are submarine launched, and designed to carry up to eight nuclear warheads 4,000 nautical miles. The missiles, which were first deployed in 1989, are called Trident because they are meant to be part of a three-way nuclear capacity, including land, sea, and air nuclear weaponry.
Officials insisted, of course, that the missiles were not armed when they were fired, and were carried out at the usual Pacific Test Range. Ohio-class submarines are capable of firing 24 such missiles each, and officials say the tests are commonly conducted.
The tests are supposedly to ensure the reliability of the design, though since the missiles have been in service since 1989 it’s hard to imagine the bugs aren’t all worked out by this point, and with officials looking to get funding for replacements as part of the multi-trillion dollar “modernization” scheme, it’s likely closer to the end of its service life than the beginning.