US Navy test-launches ballistic missiles amid row with France

TEHRAN, Sep. 19 (MNA) – The US Navy has successfully tested two Trident II D5LE submarine-launched ballistic missiles amid a growing row with France over a submarine deal with Australia on Sunday.

The missile test was pre-scheduled and followed a controversial AUKUS deal to equip Australia with its own fleet of nuclear-powered subs, the Russian TASS news agency said on Sunday.

The launch was conducted off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida on September 17 from USS 'Wyoming', an Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that has been in commission since 1996, and recently underwent a technological overhaul and refueling. The D5LE is the latest ‘life-extended’ version of the Trident II missile expected to remain in service until 2042.

The US and UK share the Trident tech, and both have recently pledged to help Australia obtain technology to build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet. 

The so-called AUKUS deal caused an unprecedented diplomatic row and heated tensions with NATO ally France, which as a result lost a lucrative shipbuilding contract with Australia.

The move has also triggered a strong backlash from Beijing, as most observers agree the controversial pact is aimed at countering and containing China. The past week was tense, with South Korea also testing its own submarine-launched missile, while the North separately launched a railway-borne missile system, and a long-range cruise missile.

Perhaps wary of the timing, the US Navy specifically emphasized that its missile test was scheduled “years in advance” and “not conducted in response to any ongoing world events, nor as a demonstration of power.”

KI/FNA14000628000745

News Code 178848

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