The U.S. Navy provided some more information into Saturday night’s missile test launch that had many on the west coast and across the nation taking to social media to question the origins of the strange-looking plume seen over the Pacific Ocean.
The Pentagon said earlier that the comet/UFO-like streak in the sky was a test flight of an unarmed Trident II (D5) missile, launched from aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky while in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California. But a story Monday from the U.S. Navy’s Public Affairs Office gave more insight into the launch, including revealing that another test flight was conducted Monday afternoon – with far less fanfare.
Both tests were launched as part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO) conducted from the USS Kentucky, and Saturday’s launch was actually witnessed first-hand by Members of Congress and the U.S. Strategic Command Commander Adm. Cecil D. Haney, who were invited aboard the Kentucky for the demonstration.
“A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends,” said Haney, adding that “strategic weapons tests demonstrate the readiness of our nation’s nuclear triad and serve to assure our allies and deter our potential adversaries.”
Also witnessing the test – in addition to the observers on the west coast and basically anyone on the internet – was a congressional delegation including Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Rep. Stephen Womack (Arkansas), Rep. Pete Visclosky (Indiana), Rep. Jackie Walorski (Indiana), Rep. Larry Bucshon (Indiana) and professional staff members from Senate and House subcommittees.
“I’m thrilled that some of our congressional members were able to take the time to witness this test and to see firsthand the professional and dedicated submariners conducting the strategic deterrence mission, as well as the team of professionals supporting the test,” said Haney.
The Navy added that Haney is encouraging the observers to share their experience with their colleagues and others. But that really goes without saying; the test could be seen from most of California, parts of Arizona and Nevada, and footage of it has already racked up millions of views online, not to mention all the television coverage.
The two test flights marked the 156th and 157th of the Trident II (D5) missile since 1989.
For any of you who have not seen it, here’s some video below: