The US Navy and the US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) both have released a photo of the actual Trident II D-5 ballistic missile which was secretly launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the USS Kentucky, on November 7, causing fear and panic among thousands of West Coasters, some of whom cried alien invasion.
The launch was an unannounced night-time test at the Pacific Test Range and as Tyler over at Foxtrot Alpha explained: "most people go about their lives in Los Angeles with no idea that some of the world's premier military operating areas lay not far off of their coast". Photos and posts with the hashtag #UFO flooded all the social media platforms on Saturday night, and it took quite a long time for the Navy to come out with a statement about the "scheduled Trident II (D5) missile test flight". (No wonder that Washington Post asked: Why test-fire a missile within sight of the nation's second-largest city, terrifying thousands?)
Anyhow, thanks to the event, we have seen dozens of amazing photos and footage (which keeps coming) of the beautiful glowing blue trail of the missile:
So actually the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an ballistic missile submarine's crew and weapon system. As USSTRATCOM said later:
Strategic weapons tests, along with exercises and operations, demonstrate the readiness of the nation's nuclear triad, assuring America's allies and deterring potential adversaries. One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defence; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.
Commander, US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Adm. Cecil D. Haney watches a video recording of the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, 7 November 2015. Haney and several congressional members boarded the Kentucky to observe the event. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/U.S. Navy/Released)
Here is the photo released by USSTRATCOM, in which I enhanced the middle part so the missile can be more visible:
(Photo: U.S. Navy/Released)
And this is how a Trident II D-5 daytime launch looks like:
(Photo: US Navy/Released)