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Launch of a Trident II (D5) ballistic missile

Photo: Lockheed Martin / dpa

The British Navy's test of a nuclear-capable missile failed when it was fired from a submarine. The Trident 2 rocket, equipped with a dummy warhead, misfired after launching from the nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard and fell into the sea off the coast of Florida, British media reported. The Ministry of Defense in London confirmed that an “anomaly” had occurred during the test on January 30th.

According to the information, the error had to do with the fact that it was a test shot. Nuclear deterrence, the cornerstone of British defense, remains “safe and effective.” As the Sun newspaper reported, the rocket was launched into the air as planned using compressed gas in the launch tube. But then the first stage boosters failed to ignite and the Trident, which was equipped with dummy warheads, plunged into the sea and sank. Sky News broadcaster quoted a source saying the launch would have been successful if it had actually been carried out with a nuclear warhead.

Defense Secretary Shapps was on board

Sky News spoke of an “embarrassing setback” for the Royal Navy. It was the second failed test of a Trident nuclear missile. An error had already occurred in 2016. The Sun newspaper wrote that both Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and Navy Commander Ben Key were on board the Vanguard to observe the test. The opposition was concerned.

The submarine is one of four of the so-called Vanguard class that have been in service since the 1990s. They are scheduled to be replaced with larger Dreadnought-class submarines in the 2030s. According to the House of Commons Library, between 31 and 41 billion pounds (36 to 48 billion euros) are available for this.