Unintended Launch: British Nuclear Missile Malfunctions, Plunges into Ocean

India tested its medium range Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile system, it was launched from a secret location in the Bay of Bengal from a depth of 50 meters.

According to reports, a Trident nuclear missile misfired and crashed into the ocean near the submarine that launched it during a test last month.

This marks the second consecutive misfire, as a Trident missile test launch by the Royal Navy off the coast of the US in June 2016 was also deemed unsuccessful.

According to a report, the missile’s first stage boosters failed to ignite during a test launch by HMS Vanguard on January 30, causing it to fall into the ocean and sink.

A source quoted by The Sun mentioned: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

The Ministry of Defence has acknowledged an unusual incident that was linked to a specific event during the test off the coast of Florida. However, they declined to disclose additional details citing national security concerns.

There have been two consecutive misfirings, including a failed test launch of a Trident missile by the Royal Navy off the coast of the US in June 2016.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key were both present on the submarine during the test, as reported by the newspaper.

An investigation was initiated to determine the cause of the incident, and authorities have ordered a search to retrieve the classified technology from the ocean floor.

The final test, which included a dummy warhead, marked the completion of the submarine’s seven-year refit in Plymouth before it returned to service.

The Ministry of Defence stated that all tests had been successfully completed and emphasized its unwavering trust in the nuclear deterrent.  

Mr. Shapps is set to present a written ministerial statement on Britain’s nuclear deterrent in the House of Commons, as indicated in Wednesday’s order paper.

Expressing concern over the reported Trident test failure, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey stated…

“The Defense Secretary will aim to reassure Parliament that this test does not affect the effectiveness of the UK’s deterrent operations.”

Since 1969, a submarine carrying nuclear weapons has been on patrol at all times as part of the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent.

There are four Vanguard class vessels in the Royal Navy that serve this purpose on a rotational basis. They have a crew of 140 and Trident ballistic missiles on board.

The older ships, in service for three decades, will be replaced in the 2030s by the new Dreadnought class ships, currently being built.

UK Confirms Submarine Test Anomaly, Reassures Nuclear Deterrent Safety

LISBON, PORTUGAL – JANUARY 29: USS California, a Virginia-class submarine, sails the Tagus River in a hazy afternoon on her way to Lisbon Harbor for a short courtesy visit on January 29, 2024, in Lisbon, Portugal. USS California is one of the latest class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines in service with the United States Navy.


In November, a Vanguard class submarine experienced a close call when a gauge malfunctioned, causing it to descend towards a dangerous depth.

An MOD Spokesperson mentioned that HMS Vanguard and her crew have successfully demonstrated their ability to operate the UK’s Continuous At-Sea Deterrent.

They passed all tests during a recent demonstration and shakedown operation (DASO), which is a routine test to confirm the submarine’s readiness to return to service after deep maintenance work.

This test has once again proven the UK’s nuclear deterrent is highly effective, and we have complete confidence in it.

There was an anomaly during the test. For national security reasons, we are unable to disclose additional details at this time.

Rest assured, the anomaly was isolated to a specific event and does not impact the overall reliability of the Trident missile systems and stockpile. The UK’s nuclear deterrent is still safe, secure, and effective.

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