A Trident missile the Navy tested off Southern California Nov 7, 2015 shown from the Fourth Street bridge over 110 Freeway in Los Angeles. Photographer Preston Newman was on a photo shoot at the time. (Photo courtesy Preston Newman Photography, on Instagram at @Newman_Photos)
"Nuclear War and Daily Life
Most of the time, nuclear weapons and nuclear war are out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
For one day, millions of Americans were reminded that they live in the edge of nuclear chaos. A Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile fired on November 7 from offshore Los Angeles set ordinary folks abuzz all the way to Nevada.
…Strategic Command put out a press release fairly quickly stating that it was ours and not to worry. At least about UFOs. They fired another Trident from the same launch site two days later, this time in daylight, and STRATCOM released more information. This was an operational-shakedown test for an Ohio class submarine, [USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)] that is normally hidden deep mid-Pacific carrying its load of nuclear warheads when it’s not in its home port in Bangor, Washington.
...After a long overhaul and refueling of its reactor, [a US SSBN] has to fire two missiles (without warheads) before it is certified as able to put to sea and ready to fire nuclear-armed [Trident II D5] missiles. All very banal—just another day in ensuring the United States is ready for the full “spectrum of conflict with nuclear adversary” as the briefing aboard the submarine relates in a photo released four days later by STRATCOM.
Pre-test missile launch briefing session on an Ohio class SSBN.
These tests have been going on for decades, and the plan is to keep this missile in service for more decades. Each missile carries up to 4 thermonuclear warheads ranging from 100 to about 500 kilotons…that’s about 8 to 42 times the size of the nuclear weapon that destroyed the city of Hiroshima in 1945. And each Ohio [SSBN] submarine has 24 launch tubes…
Why the launch took place at night was not stated. It might have been due to atmospheric conditions above the target zone at Kwajalein Atoll, or some other operational consideration in the Western Test Range as explained in this video by Northrop Grumman, one of the companies involved in the business of preparing for nuclear war.
Approximate path of test missiles from Southern California Range Complex to Kwajalein Atoll target area (close to or at red star)
...If social media is any indication, it appears that many Americans will see the start of a nuclear war announced by missile liftoff as the invasion of aliens. Many others apparently will welcome the resulting apocalypse as the start of the long-overdue end-times from the Book of Revelations.
…They will also see a lot of incoming re-entry vehicles and it will look very different to the eerily beautiful missile plume at night.
Marshall Islanders have been looking at this end of Gravity’s Rainbow for decades, watching multiple re-entry vehicles flash out of the sky to smash into the instrumented atoll on their former home at Kwajalein—except if this were nuclear war, they would also see gigantic nuclear explosions in the millisecond before they were blinded and then vaporized, pulverized, incinerated, and irradiated.
…Not to be outdone, on November 15, the Russians night-fired two Bulava missiles from the Borey class submarine Vladimir Monomakh from near Kola, hitting the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.
…These days, social media may be the first warning that the Americans, Russians, Chinese, or North Koreans receive of missile lift-off heading in their direction. In 2013, the United States postponed a Minuteman missile test due to concern that North Korea might “mis-perceive” such a firing as aimed at them, or sending too strong a nuclear threat against North Korea that might lead to North Korean response.
Thus, how instantaneous social media reports of submarine, bomber, missile, and other indicators of nuclear attack will play into the nuclear command-and-control systems and decisions of nine nuclear-armed states is a good question—especially as these contagious reports may give false positives, false negatives, or simply miss the action altogether."