The Navy's New Columbia-Class Nuclear Submarine Is Armed with a New Missile

Kris Osborn

Kris Osborn

Security,

And it will be tested soon. 

The Navy's New Columbia-Class Nuclear Submarine Is Armed with a New Missile

(Washington, D.C.) Almost nobody knows where they are at any given time, yet nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines quietly patrol dark domains of the undersea realm in strategically vital waters around the globe, bringing the prospect of unprecedented destruction upon potential enemies -- all as a way to keep peace.

Undersea strategic deterrence, intended to ensure a second, retaliatory strike in the event of a catastrophic nuclear attack upon the US, ultimately relies upon the accuracy, resilience and functionality of the Trident II D5 missile. Accordingly, missile tube construction, fire-control technology and tests shots of the nuclear weapon are intended to help the Navy construct and prepare its new Columbia-class submarines on an accelerated time frame.

The Navy is preparing to shoot its Trident II D5 nuclear missile from its emerging new Columbia-class submarine as part of a plan to complete the boat ahead of schedule in the late 2020s.

“We will go through the standard strategic weapons testing and eventually do a test shot to prove out the weapons system before it goes on its first patrol,” Capt. John Rucker, Program Manager, Columbia-class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines, said at the Navy League Sea Air Space Symposium.

While the test-shot will of course involve an unarmed missile, it will function as a critical step in preparing the nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine for decades of undersea strategic deterrence. Rucker said the Navy is now building a special system in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to test the missile systems which will be ready as soon as next year.

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