HMS Vanguard, one of the Royal Navy’s four Trident nuclear weapon-carrying submarines, will shortly conduct the test firing of an unarmed Trident D5 ballistic missile in the Atlantic Ocean.
The launch will take place between the 30th of January and the 4th of February with United States Navy support at the US Eastern Test Range off the coast of Florida.
The unarmed missile, it is understood, was converted into a test configuration using a kit produced by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, that contains the tracking systems, flight telemetry instrumentation, and safety devices required for the test.
The main aim of these tests is to assess the readiness of the SSBN’s strategic weapon system and its crew prior to its operational deployment. These test launches, performed regularly, serve to evaluate and maintain the reliability and precision of the strategic weapon system.
It is essential to note that the missiles used during tests are not armed. The prime concern remains the safety of the public and the crew involved. The missile’s trajectory during this test will remain entirely over the sea, ensuring no risk to any land areas.