The U.K. Royal Navy has launched a Lockheed Martin trident II D5 fleet ballistic missile, an unarmed missile launched from the submerged submarine HMS Vigilant, located in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to a Lockheed statement, the test is the 143rd test flight of the trident D5 missile since the design was completed in 1989.
Melanie A. Sloane, vice president for fleet ballistic missile programs at Lockheed Martin’s space systems company, said that the U.S. and the Royal Navy continue to show their readiness in the system and that the cooperation of both governments provides a credible submarine-based strategic deterrent.
The company said the test flight is part of a demonstration and shakedown operation that aims to verify the integrity of strategic weapon systems after an overhaul of the submarine.
The D5 missile was first deployed in 1990 and is housed aboard U.S. Navy OHIO-class and Royal Navy VANGUARD-class submarines.
The inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles.