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Trident missile test a damp squib after rocket goes ‘plop,’ fails to ignite

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson said that a failed Trident missile test does not affect Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

HMS Vanguard leaving HMNB Devonport last year after a seven-and-a-half year refit. Pic: Andrew Linnett, UK MoD © Crown

According to reports, the dummy missile was launched from the submarine HMS Vanguard during a drill off the coast of Florida in January. The booster should have ignited after being ejected from the submarine’s launch tube but did not. Instead, it dropped into the ocean and sank.

UK newspaper The Sun, quoted a source as saying: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

It’s the second failure in eight years. In 2016, another missile, launched from HMS Vengeance, failed after telemetry problems resulted in the Trident II missile being ditched in the ocean. At least the rocket worked that time.

An MoD spokesperson told The Register:

According to The Sun, had this been a real mission rather than a test, the launch would have been successful. The MoD is, unsurprisingly, remaining tightlipped about such matters.

Trident missiles aren’t cheap, and a failed test that sent millions of pounds worth of missile into the ocean will trigger questions. Compounding the issue was the presence of the UK’s defence secretary, Grant Shapps, and Admiral Sir Ben Key to mark what should have been one of the final exercises for HMS Vanguard and her crew. HMS Vanguard returned to sea in 2022 after a nearly seven-year overhaul period.

The UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent is provided by four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines – HMS Vanguard, HMS Victorious, HMS Vigilant, and HMS Vengeance. HMS Vanguard was the first to be launched in 1993.

Replacements are due in the 2030s in the form of the Dreadnought class. ®

source: The Register