The crew of a passenger plane traveling to Mexico got a rare opportunity to witness a test-launch of a Trident nuclear missile as it flew over the Pacific Ocean. Unaware of what it was, they filmed the dramatic sight.
A beautiful streak of light that exploded outward into a wide beam of white light turned out to be a Trident missile. In the footage, the crew can be heard saying ‘Wow,’ as they look out at the shooting star beside their Airbus liner.
The video published by The Drive was shot from a plane flying from Guadalajara to Tijuana sometime in early September. It clearly shows two-stage separations as the missile launched from the Ohio-class submarine USS ‘Nebraska’ skips through the sky westward.
Defense experts told The Drive that the trajectory of the Trident appeared unusually flat, possibly indicating a test of the missile’s ability to deliver the W76-2 warhead. A derivative of the standard W76-1, it has dramatically lower yield and consequently a smaller weight. A lighter payload allows the delivery vehicle to be fired at a depressed trajectory, which sacrifices range for the sake of faster travel time and better survivability against enemy anti-ballistic missile measures.
The filmed test was one of a series conducted between September 4 and September 6.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!