The U.S. Navy earlier this month carried out four successful test launches of unarmed Trident 2 D-5 ballistic missiles, weapons maker Lockheed Martin announced in a Tuesday press release that touts the SLBMs' successful launch track record.
The user trials were carried out on Sept. 10 and 12 in the Atlantic Ocean by an underwater Ohio-class submarine in accordance with Defense Department orders for confirming a reliable sea-based nuclear deterrent.
This month's test firings bring to 148 the number of times the D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile successfully has been tested since 1989, a reliability record Lockheed says is better than that of all other heavy ballistic missiles.
The United States as of the beginning of March possessed 232 deployed Trident missiles and 176 of the non-deployed SLBMs, according to the most recent figures provided by the State Department. The Trident missile is an essential component of the country's naval nuclear arsenal.