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Test of upgraded Trident sparks UFO scare

The flight test of two upgraded Trident missiles resulted in a flurry of concern about UFOs as the missiles were seen streaking across the night sky from California. The tests were taking place to certify new flight control electronics in the upgraded Trident D5A missiles. The new missiles are due to enter service with the US Navy in 2017 and on UK submarines before 2020. The overall effect of the missile upgrade and the related introduction of upgraded (Mk4A) nuclear warheads is to make Trident even more destructive. The new missiles and warheads will be significantly more effective against hardened targets, such as underground bunkers. However, attacks on hardened targets involve detonating the weapon on the surface which creates a masses of radioactive fallout.

Responding to concern about UFOs, a US Navy spokesperson said: "The big, bright flash some mistook Saturday for a detonation, missile intercept or UFO is actually the result of the solid-fueled Trident missile jettisoning one of its three stages." 

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