US Evokes Threat of Nuclear War with Secret Missile Launch over California
November 9, 2015 AntiWar.com & The Los Angeles Times & KABC-TV & RT News
Mysterious lights in the sky off the California coast, sighted from Los Angeles all the way to the San Francisco Bay, and as far inland as Utah, set off a flurry of confused speculation about UFOs or a comet which took over social media over much of the weekend. Most of the media focussed on the "mystery" and avoided mentioning the reality -- the "test launch" of a sub-based Trident II missile is the Pentagon's message that the US is prepared to start a nuclear war.
Secret Missile Testing Off California Coast
Fuels Confusion, Growing Anger Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(November 8, 2015) -- Mysterious lights in the sky off the California coast, sighted from Los Angeles all the way to the San Francisco Bay, and as far inland as Utah, set off a flurry of confused speculation about UFOs or a comet which took over social media over much of the weekend.
The reality was far less interesting, as officials later conceded that the light was actually a test-fire of a Trident II nuclear-capable missile from an Ohio-class submarine off the coast, part of what the Pentagon insists are "scheduled, ongoing tests."
Scheduled internally, it seems, but indications are that the Pentagon didn't tell anybody else about the secret tests, which are diverting aircraft landings at LAX for the next week and which created a lot of unnecessary panic, which has since given way to growing anger.
Many people seem uncomfortable with the Pentagon "testing missiles" by firing them over the second-largest city in the country, especially when they didn't tell anybody about it, but the Pentagon insists secret testing is necessary to prevent "potential adversaries" monitoring it. Objections aside, the Pentagon seems set to keep firing them wherever, and whenever, they want.
About the Trident II SLBM:
UGM-133A Trident II, or Trident D5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California, and deployed with the US and Royal Navies. It was first deployed in March 1990, and is still in service. The Trident II Strategic Weapons System is an improved Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile with greater accuracy, payload, and range than the Trident C-4, strengthening U.S. strategic deterrence.
The Trident II is considered to be a durable sea-based system capable of engaging many targets. It enhances the U.S. position in strategic arms negotiation with performance and payload flexibility that can accommodate active treaty initiatives. The TRIDENT II's increased payload allows nuclear deterrence to be accomplished with fewer submarines.
Trident II missiles are carried by 14 US Ohio and 4 British Vanguard-class submarines, with 24 missiles on each Ohio class and 16 missiles on each Vanguard class. USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) was the first submarine to be armed with Trident IIs, and there have been 150 successful test flights of the D5 missile since 1989, the most recent being from the USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) in February 2015.
It is estimated that 540 missiles will be built by 2013. The Trident D5LE (life-extension) version will remain in service until 2042.
(November 8, 2015) -- he mysterious light flashing across the California sky Saturday night brought fear, fun and even some anger, with some wondering why the public wasn't told in advance to expect the drama. Here's what we know:
So what was the light?
Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted a Trident II (D5) missile test flight at sea from the Kentucky, an Ohio class submarine, in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California.
Has this test occurred in Southern California before?
It's unclear. But the Pentagon called the test ongoing and that it occurs on a frequent basis.
The Pentagon said: "The tests were part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test. Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system. Each test activity provides valuable information about our systems, thus contributing to assurance in our capabilities," a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
"The missile was not armed. Strategic Systems Programs does not routinely announce missile testing. Information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified prior to the launch."
Was the public warned in advance?
Apparently not. There was a notice about undisclosed military activity causing a flight path shift at Los Angeles International Airport, but it's unclear if it was related to the test.
Officials warned that LAX was diverting arriving flights away from normal landing routes to steer clear of temporary military airspace, airport officials announced. The adjusted paths will bring more noise to residential areas directly east of LAX until Thursday.
This all sounds a bit familiar
Last year, residents along the LA County coast insisted they felt an earthquake -- even though seismologists said one had not occurred. It turned out the shaking came from a supersonic Navy flight. The US Navy confirmed an aircraft flew faster than the speed of sound as part of an exercise with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan about 50 miles off the coast.
In 2010, videos flooded the Internet showing an orange tail of vapor seeming to hurtle skyward off the coast of Los Angeles. There was much speculation of some type of secret military launch, but that was never confirmed.
Then, of course, there was the Battle of Los Angeles in 1942. In that infamous event, observers mistook some weather balloons for a Japanese invasion -- or something even worse. Read more on the Battle of Los Angeles here.
Of course, there were many jokes about UFOs. What was the other speculation?
Some thought it was part of the annual Taurid meteor shower, which is reaching its peak. But Brian Keating, an astrophysicist at UC San Diego, quickly dismissed that.
"The Taurid meteors would be coming from the east -- and this light came from the west," Keating told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "We'd also be more likely to see meteors about midnight, and the flash came near sunset."
LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2015) -- Mysterious maneuvers over the Pacific are forcing a change in Los Angeles International Airport landings late at night, meaning noise for thousands of people in the flight path.
Instead of landing from the east over Inglewood, planes begin flying from the west and over the ocean to keep noise levels down, but due to secret military operations, the airspace over the Pacific is closed to incoming flights for the next week.
"We clearly understand that neighbors and communities east of the airport will experience noise and we apologize for that," said Nancy Castles, LAX public relations director.
The military is not saying what exactly is causing the change, and LAX claims it's also in the dark. Castles said all they know is planes can't be flying at low altitudes to our west.
Six years ago, ABC7 cameras captured a military operation in downtown LA. Helicopters were seen swooping between high-rises, close enough that residents were able to see armed soldiers in camouflage outside their window.
Authorities claimed it was part of a training exercise designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments and to prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployment.
What's going on this week is a mystery.
"And plus if it's a military thing it's a good thing, that means they're making it safer for us so I wouldn't let it bother me," said Steve Devosion of Inglewood. "I'd be more interested in them not doing something about what's going on than them doing something about what's going on."
LOS ANGELES (November 8, 2015) -- MThe Trident II (D5) missile is a centerpiece of the US military's ability to deter a nuclear attack and modernizing the weapon is a top priority, he said. Knowing in advance that a Trident was going to be tested would give prying eyes, for example sailors on a Russian submarine positioned in the Pacific, the ability to gather valuable information, Thompson said.
Tracking its trajectory, speed, electromagnetic emissions and other characteristics in real time could provide insights into potential vulnerabilities, Thompson said. This is especially true during the first stage of flight, the "boost phase," when the missile's rockets are firing and the weapon is most susceptible to attack, Thompson added.
Missile tests like the one the Navy performed off the coast of Southern California on Saturday night present military officials with something of a conundrum.
On the one hand, said Loren Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute, the military needs to give local aviation officials enough information as to the time and place of an upcoming test to ensure no planes are in the area. But, at the same time, the military is determined to keep tests shrouded in secrecy in order to thwart any efforts by potential adversaries -- namely Russia and China -- to monitor the missile launch and flight, Thompson said.
The confusion and social media uproar that erupted Saturday night as a mysterious white cone of light coursed across the night sky is an unfortunate but necessary tradeoff, Thompson added.
The need for secrecy was all the more important given the type of weapon the Navy launched Saturday from a submarine, according to Thompson. "The Russians and Chinese would have great interest in finding ways to defeat this type of missile," he said.
Witnesses across Southern California and Arizona posted video and reported seeing the light. Many used hashtags such as #ufo and #comet as they speculated about its source.
Video blogger Julien Solomita was on a rooftop parking lot in Van Nuys shooting traffic and sunset scenes when he looked up and saw a bright circle of light in the sky. He followed it with his camera and at one point, he said, it looked like it was exploding. "For a brief moment, when the cloud got bigger, I was wondering, 'Should we run?' It looked so close," he said.
Since it was posted, his YouTube video has gotten nearly 1.5 million views and has been widely circulated on social media, helping to set off a furious round of speculation -- was it a UFO? A missile? A comet? Solomita says he's still not satisfied with the official explanation.
"I'm not 100% convinced I know what happened no matter what news channels are saying. I'm kind of remaining skeptical because we were there, and it was crazy," he said. If it was a missile test, he said, the public should have been better informed. "Why do a missile test over the second largest city in the US and not tell anyone? That's pretty wild," he said.
The missile test, first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, was part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation, a Pentagon spokesman told The Times.
Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system, the spokesman said.
Times Staff Writer W.J. Hennigan contributed to this story.
Was There an Accidental Nuclear Launch off California in 2010?
Mystery Missile Launch off California Coast: Comes from Submarine? RT News
(November 10, 2010) -- A mysterious missile was spotted off the coast of Los Angeles and the US military claims it has no idea where it came from. A helicopter from the Los Angeles CBS News affiliate captured images of what appears to be some sort of rocket or missile with a large contrail behind it.
It appears to have been launched about 35 miles (56 km) off the coast of Los Angeles, California. There are several military bases in Southern California, but so far none have said there were any launches at that time. The US Navy has said they are not responsible and the Pentagon is still investigating where the mystery missile came from.
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