The US Navy has test-fired four nuclear-capable ballistic missiles from a submarine in the Pacific Ocean amid simmering tensions with Russia, China and North Korea.
Four Trident ll D missiles were launched successfully from an Ohio class ballistic missile submarine in the Pacific Test Range over a three-day period since Thursday, the US Navy said in a statement.
"An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine assigned to Submarine Group 9 completed a Follow-on Commander’s Evaluation Test (FCET) Feb[ruary] 16, resulting in four successful test flights of Trident II D5 missiles," the statement added.
The test launch of the nuclear capable missile system was part of regular tests that “are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system,” said John Daniels, a spokesman for the Strategic Systems Program, which oversees the Ohio-class Trident submarine program.
The “test flights were not conducted in response to any ongoing world events or as a demonstration of power,” Daniels said.
Trident ll D is a submarine-launched ballistic missile that can carry multiple thermonuclear warheads. They are deployed with the American and British navies.
The tests come days after North Korea announced the successful test of its long-range ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan and after Russia reportedly deployed cruise missiles in violation of a 1987 treaty between Washington and Moscow.
Last month, US President Donald Trump told Russian leader Vladimir Putin he did not want to renew a 2010 nuclear arms reduction treaty between Washington and Moscow because the deal was bad for the United States.
During his first call as president with Putin on January 28, Trump said the New START treaty favored Russia, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing current and former US officials with knowledge of the call.
New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, the lowest level in decades. However, it does not limit the number of operationally inactive nuclear warheads that remain in the high thousands in both the US and Russian stockpiles.