15 February 2017
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. —Early risers around the Monterey Bay marveled at two bright lights blazing through the sky before sunrise Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy launched two Trident II missiles over the Pacific Ocean from a submarine off the coast of Southern California, and they were seen from as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Navy public affairs officer John Daniels told KSBW that the missiles were unarmed and never flew over land.
The Navy's Trident II missiles serve as nuclear deterrents and have a 4,000-mile range.
"A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies. Deterrence remains a cornerstone of national security policy in the 21st century. The Navy's Trident II (D5) strategic weapon system provides the most survivable leg of the strategic deterrent Triad," Daniels said.
The Navy said it conducts missile flight tests on a regular, frequent basis.
"Test flights were not conducted in response to any ongoing world events, or as a demonstration of power," Daniels said.
Tuesday's missiles were launched from an Ohio Class SSBN submarine. All Pacific Test Range flights are launched from sea, flown over the sea, and land in the sea, Daniels said.
"Missiles are tracked from multiple sources from launch until final impact in the ocean," he said.