Breaking:US launches nuke-capable missile in joint Saudi military games; Update: Denied

posted at 1:20 pm on March 31, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As McKittrick of Closing Velocity puts it, we rattled a mighty big saber in Iran’s neighborhood today.  In joint military exercises with Saudi Arabia, the US launched a submarine-platform ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon:

The United States test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads during a joint military exercise Wednesday with Saudi Arabia, a Western military official said.

The Trident missile launch was carried out in the kingdom, the official said, but he would not give a precise location. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The U.S. has been strengthening missile defenses in allied Arab nations in the Gulf to help counter any potential missile strike from Iran. Like its nuclear work, Iran’s missile program is of top concern to Washington and Arab nations wary of Tehran’s growing influence in the region.

Apparently the White House has decided to get serious about Iran after fourteen months of extending open hands. Yesterday, in his appearance with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama said that he would press for harder sanctions over the next few weeks.   This should underscore the exhaustion of Obama’s patience with the mullahs — which should have come much earlier.

The Saudis are also sending a message here.  They have to live in Iran’s neighborhood, too, and they don’t want to see messianic Shi’ites armed with WMDs any more than Israel or the US do.  The sub launch tells Iran that they plan to cooperate with any military action needed against Tehran’s mullahs, albeit tacitly.  It also signals the Sunni regimes in the region to start taking harder lines towards Iran.

Will that deter the mullahs?  Probably not, but it will certainly have more effect than the wan efforts of this administration over the previous 14 months.

Update: The LA Times says that the Pentagon has denied that a missile was launched.  Stratfor says the AP got it wrong.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

What…?

… No mention of Man Made Global Warming?

Seven Percent Solution on March 31, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Did the teachers get the little kids to sing a song of praise yet?

Barack Hussein Obama
Is gonna bomb Iran
Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

TN Mom on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM

My stomach dropped seeing this.

Remember Russia and Iran are “friends”.

Time to be very careful.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Kinda gives creedence to the Tina Fey quote, “I can see Russia from my backdoor”….

lovingmyUSA on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Tridents get the ladies hot.

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM

… No mention of Man Made Global Warming?

Seven Percent Solution on March 31, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Haha!

Anyone hear from Peta? You know the little birds were afraid, hope none were hurt…

TN Mom on March 31, 2010 at 2:34 PM

lovingmyUSA on March 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM

kinda.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Deterrence is effected only when the threat is credible. Shooting off a Trident is so over the top that I’m sure the Iranians will see it as a farcical gesture of an amateur.

year_of_the_dingo on March 31, 2010 at 2:28 PM

I have to agree. To try intimidation, it might have been better to orbit a group of B-52s or B-1s over the Gulf for a few hours, with fighter escorts. The Saudis use F-15s, too, so we could have increased Dinnerjacket’s pucker factor for a while.

Liam on March 31, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Things you never want to hear as a crazy, lunatic nut job who plans to use nukes to wipe others off the map and who’s been taunting America….. Learning that they’ve been practicing for a possible Trident Nuke launch in your own back yard

Things you want to hear as an American… Hearing that the U.S. Navy, is Practicing for a possible Nuclear missile launch, in the back yard of a crazy, lunatic nut job who wants to use WMDs to blow up one of our allies….

In short, this is us telling Iran: “Go ahead…make our day you S.O.B.s, we will have the safe switch off, and launch authorization codes punched in before you’re nuke even leaves the missile silo.”

I love it!

Razgriez on March 31, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Razgriez on March 31, 2010 at 2:37 PM

The thing that has to scare the pants off Khomeni is that he has no clue where our boomers are. The first indication he will have that he is about to become glass is that our forces in the NAG will be hugging the Saudi Coast, then boom.

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Obambi’s playing with Bush/Cheney’s toys.

AubieJon on March 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Hey, what does this button do?

Lily on March 31, 2010 at 2:42 PM

And if Bush had done this the media would’ve gone NUTS about Bush’ sabre rattling and how this destabilizes the world more.

I doubt this even makes the evening news and Code Pink will continue chasing Karl Rove around.

Skywise on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Have to agree. Pure PR stunt.

There is no way that Hope-a-Dope would ever do that for real, though. Not even if one of our cities went up in smoke and we traced the bomb back to Iran. He’d just consider it a “setback” in normalizing our relations. And the mullahs know it, too.

Spurius Ligustinus on March 31, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 2:41 PM

At that sort of range they might have long enough to pray.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:48 PM

What if GWB did it?….

ted c on March 31, 2010 at 2:49 PM

COWBOY DIPLOMACY!

Good Lt on March 31, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Just FYI, this would require several weeks of preparation unless Trident subs normally patrol with an unarmed “demonstration” round!

Counting time to swap out a hot round and sail to Saudi from the US East or West coast, and get set up for the shot, it has to be 2-3 weeks lead time. Don’t forget that the perception of the need to make such a statement would unlikely have coincided with the crew change schedule of a handy boomer, and I’d call it a month, minimum.

So what was going down a month ago that convinced Obama he had to rattle a very big sabre? Did he send Bibi home with a promise that the tree would get shaken soon, be patient?

drunyan8315 on March 31, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Credit where it’s due. I’m glad this happened and I’m glad he said we’d drill. But I don’t believe a word he said about drilling. It’ll be linked to Algorewarming crap.

Key West Reader on March 31, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Obambi’s playing with Bush/Cheney’s toys.

AubieJon on March 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM

LOL!
Yea; They thought it was a RESET BUTTON!

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 2:57 PM

These are the same Saudi’s that Mr. Hanky bowed to, right? Of course he’s going to have their back. They’re so simpatico.
Support the terrorist financiers. Screw the Jooos.

SKYFOX on March 31, 2010 at 2:57 PM

drunyan8315 on March 31, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Couldn’t they removed the warheads from a Trident while at sea? Or load a warheadless bird while underway?

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:58 PM

‘The answer to bringing Peace to the Middle East is not through military force. It is through diplomacy’

I think I remember Obama saying something close to this once before.

PappaMac on March 31, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Plz correct me if I’m wrong :

Bin Laden did his initial recruiting of jihadies because he despised US forces on the muslim holy land.
And now that the following happens :

The Trident missile launch was carried out in the kingdom, the official said, but he would not give a precise location

isn’t Hussain providing a recruiting excuse to Bin Laden ?

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Couldn’t they removed the warheads from a Trident while at sea? Or load a warheadless bird while underway?

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:58 PM

No.

Another commenter at Closing Velocity suggested that the Trident II could fly low and be in Tehran in a matter of minutes.

No, again.

I’d be very surprised if this bird was launched from a boomer. The PG is not amenable to boomer operations, mainly because they absolutely no need to go in there. (There is a minimum range on the weapon).

It is possible this bird was launched from a shore facility, although if thats the case, it would have taken an enormous effort to set it up. These things are not your basic bottle rocket.

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Possible (even probable) for them to get even less warning. The sub was used THIS time – for the very reason of “crap your pants” warning.

B2+ACLM

Never see it coming.

PJ Emeritus on March 31, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Not to mention the “nuclear capable missile” that was launched wasn’t a Trident, but a SLCM – an attack boat can launch those puppies.

PJ Emeritus on March 31, 2010 at 3:05 PM

The Anti-Christ must prepare for Armageddon, ya know.

inchdeep on March 31, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Warmonger!

CP on March 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Not to mention the “nuclear capable missile” that was launched wasn’t a Trident, but a SLCM – an attack boat can launch those puppies.

PJ Emeritus on March 31, 2010 at 3:05 PM

News services are reporting it as a TRIDENT II, which is an SLBM, not SLCM.

But, the reports could be in error (as I would expect, most folks don’t anything about missiles). I’d be more accepting of a Tomahawk launch than I would be of a Trident launch.

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Tehran should expect a FedEx today containing a harshly worded letter.

To paraphrase Churchill: Some Fedex. Some letter.

Could I ask what the big deal is? Tridents have a range of 8K miles. We could launch one from a sub submerged off the Azores and hit our target…This blurb about the Trident means nothing.

It means two things: a) The Saudis will let us shoot from their back yard, and b) from their back yard warning time is much shorter… and thus suitable for a decapitation strike where high-value targets (that would be you, DinnerJacket) need to be hit before they can move to safety.

drunyan8315 on March 31, 2010 at 3:10 PM

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:04 PM

The NAG isnt but the Indian Ocean to the south is.

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 3:12 PM

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Okay, good to know.

I wonder if they could’ve done the switch out at Diego Garcia. It’d be far more secure.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Burn baby Burn! Now thats what I’m talking about. Kicking mullah ass so me and you don’t have to.

nukeemnow on March 31, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Well if Obowma was serious about getting tough with Iran he’d send in 2 or 3 carrier strike groups into the Persian Gulf. He’d deliver a “stop developing nukes or else” message (implying the military option), or complete the shipment of bunker-busters to Israel and give them a green light to bomb Iran.

There’s a myriad of other more direct things he could do to show he’s serious. Its too late for sanctions and they won’t work since China/Russia will either veto or water them down.

An indirect show of force really means nothing-I doubt the mullahcracy will be swayed. Until Barry shows some real balls I think they will yawn and keep spinning their centrifuges and beating/torturing/killing their citizens as usual.

thinkagain on March 31, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Okay, good to know.

I wonder if they could’ve done the switch out at Diego Garcia. It’d be far more secure.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 3:15 PM

No. If it was in fact a D5, removing the warheads took place at Bangor, WA, or Kings Bay, GA. It’s possible to do it in the UK, but not likely.

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:18 PM

If it was an SLCM and not a SLBM, I am thinking it may be a Virginia class that did it.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Question :

What will the Saudis prefer

A. USA using Saudi soil to launch missiles on Iran
B. USA using Saudi soil to launch missles on Isreal

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM

One other point to mention, what the hell are we doing supplying advanced US weaponry to a nation (Saudi Arabia) who’s funding the global jihad and whose nationals were involved in the 9/11 muslim terrorist attack?

Have any of these idiots picked up a Quran (aside from Barry) and seen what the goal of Islam/muslims is, which is the conquest of the world by their death cult? Whose bright idea was it to hand out enemies the noose to hang us with? Would anyone have believed post 9/11 that 8 years later we’d have a crypto-muslim as no less than our president and we’d be arming our enemies? World gone mad.

thinkagain on March 31, 2010 at 3:25 PM

If it was an SLCM and not a SLBM, I am thinking it may be a Virginia class that did it.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 3:21 PM

It was most likely a Tomahawk launched from a Trident SSGN. Verifying complex details like that are not something we should expect from the press.

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Wasn’t it Øbama that said that we couldn’t get anywhere by not talking to our enemies? Hey Barry, have you figured out why we weren’t talking to them yet? Hint: It isn’t because we are a bunch of arrogant cowboys.

Kafir on March 31, 2010 at 3:32 PM

The missile carried the dreaded and much feared “harshly worded memo”…

right2bright on March 31, 2010 at 3:34 PM

So now that Obamacare is passed, Barrack is out flashing his new manhood package to the world.

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 3:34 PM

The missile carried the dreaded and much feared “harshly worded memo”…

right2bright on March 31, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Yea! It could have been filled with Barrack the Magnificent CD’s!

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 3:36 PM

thinkagain on March 31, 2010 at 3:25 PM

crypto-muslim, oh Jesus not this again.

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 3:37 PM

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:26 PM

I know, they just leave it for us squids to try to “nuke it out” for lack of a better phrase.

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 3:38 PM

“nuke it out”

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Wow. Haven’t heard that in long time. Been hanging around surface pukes for a long time. Too long.

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:44 PM

BobMbx on March 31, 2010 at 3:26 PM

I was entertaining the same thought. An Ohio SSGN makes sense because of its missile capacity, but a Virginia is quieter and has better capability in shallower waters.

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM

So now that Obamacare is passed, Barrack is out flashing his new manhood package to the world.

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 3:34 PM

He’s flashing

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM

How do you intimidate fanatics who believe their god will smite their enemies for them? I mean after all, gods have the biggest nukes of all.

ronsfi on March 31, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Shoulda known Zero was firing blanks…

Maquis on March 31, 2010 at 4:19 PM

The money wasted on this launch would have been better spent hunting down nuke scientists and the demented ayatollahs and their political pimps inside Iran and offing them personally.

Decapitate the upper level of lunatics and maniacs promoting this 12th Imam Apocalyptic madness, and then try to negotiate some sanity with the chastened survivors beneath them.

Repeat, as necessary, until some group of Iranians -with an instinct for survival- will negotiate.

Sabre-rattling with theocratic crazies only gives them a nihilistic tingle.

profitsbeard on March 31, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Does anyone question the timing? The network news won’t be expected to interview Harry & Nancy since they’re on recess.

Poor things, they are probably out of their minds with worry…

TN Mom on March 31, 2010 at 4:47 PM

As McKittrick of Closing Velocity puts it, we rattled a mighty big saber in Iran’s neighborhood today. In joint military exercises with Saudi Arabia, the US launched a submarine-platform ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon

Yawn, It’s like dropping a BDU-38 at Zaragoza in Libya’s neighborhood.

BDU-33 on March 31, 2010 at 4:48 PM

And, last week Obama was like a petulant child when Netanyahu came to Washington for a meeting. If an attack is ever made on Iran, expect the price of oil to go through the roof.

SC.Charlie on March 31, 2010 at 5:22 PM

IMHO the message was intended for Israel as well as Iran.

integrity now on March 31, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Liam on March 31, 2010 at 2:36 PM

The idea of orbiting a large strike package over the PG in full view of the Iranians probably isn’t the first choice you want to go with. It’s a fairly confined airspace, for starters, and if the Iranians do get itchy, and this is just for show, I’m not sure I’m real comfortable with asking an aircrew to go take a strat SAM up the wazoo just to make a ‘statement’. And thinking of contingency, exactly what would the next move be, if, in such a scenario, the Iranians popped a Buff with, say, one of their older SA-5s? Not. Real. Pretty.

otoh, sparking off a demo of tried, tested, and proven weaponry that will make a really, really, really big boom, while sending the message that the neighbor kids are ok with the fireworks IS a very pointed and low risk message.

It is rather ironic that most of the escalation towards Iran (and yes, there has been a quiet, no question escalation) has been a ‘oh, and in other non-important news’ category item for most of the MSM. Probably helps that Code Pink is target fixated on chasing Karl Rove around at book signings. At this point, Rove is more help with the Code Pinkers for Skippy than Patton was for Ike running around East Anglia before D-Day.

Wind Rider on March 31, 2010 at 6:27 PM

I’m betting that the point wasn’t to launch the Trident, but to shoot it down with a Saudi based Patriot during the boost phase.

phelps on March 31, 2010 at 6:34 PM

What goes up must come down, I wonder where the point of impact was… The head of MDA is reported to have been there for the test so, where was the USS Lake Erie at the time of launch?

If Iranian missiles are enough of a threat to provoke a SLBM test in that region, that raises another question, why did that Chicago Thug cancel our missile defense programs?

Zorro on March 31, 2010 at 6:55 PM

That’s getting serious with Iran? If you’re Dinnerjacket, do have any concern whatsoever that the US might launch a nuclear weapon? You know the US isn’t going to put ground troops in Iran, and you know that no other country will sign on to any kind of military action -other than maybe Israel- so does launching a nuclear platform weapon scare you? It wouldn’t me.

BKeyser on March 31, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Why are we still allies with the Saudis again?? They are just as bad if not worse than the Mullahs.

RightXBrigade on March 31, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Why are we still allies with the Saudis again?? They are just as bad if not worse than the Mullahs.

RightXBrigade on March 31, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Think Israel minus the supernatural-exceptionalism nonsense.

There ARE no ‘good guys’, so we’ve simply picked the best of the available options.

Dark-Star on March 31, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Meant to say “no ‘good guys’ in the region“. My bad.

Dark-Star on March 31, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Dark-Star on March 31, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Are you equating my country Israel with Saudi Arabia as far as American allies or any other measure is concerned?

In case they didn’t teach this chapter at joohater university maybe I can point out that Israel like America is a democracy, with an independent judiciary, freedom of religion for all, and I can go on here forever.. Like Americans, many many Israelis have given their lives defending those liberties & ideals we both share & cherish as nations.

I might also point out since you are time & again such an astute observer of the region when it comes to spouting your ignorant hatreds of my country & religion, that UNLIKE the Saudis.. Where women are treated as cattle, there is no democracy or independent judiciary, and becoming Christian or Jewish is considered an affront punishable by death.. No American soldiers have ever been asked to pay the ultimate sacrifice in defending the State of Israel.

If we are exceptional in Israel it is because we modeled our nation after America, thankfully most Americans aren’t bitter little haters like you. They fall into the exceptional category as well.. So we are usually in good company.

saus on March 31, 2010 at 10:33 PM

It means two things: a) The Saudis will let us shoot from their back yard,

sending the message that the neighbor kids are ok with the fireworks IS a very pointed and low risk message.

IMHO the message was intended for Israel as well as Iran.

If you believe people like Michael Totten and Lee Smith, the Arab states have been bugging the US to do something about Iran, and have been collaborating with Israel to get it done. If possible Iran will choke off oil by controlling the Gulf. maybe Obama’s generals think this show of force will make it clear we are in the Gulf and will control the results of a war.

Maybe Israel was getting close to starting an attack, so we have to step in now to keep Israel out of it, so it doesn’t turn into regional war, or at least turns into a war the US is on top of from Day One.

I also think Obama is happy to say to Israel, “we will take care of Iran for you, so don’t attack, and by the way, do what we say about Jerusalem and everything else.” It keeps Israel in a servile and powerless position. The US also forced Israel to sit out Gulf One, even though Saddam was lobbing missiles at Israel.

YehuditTX on April 1, 2010 at 12:07 AM

Does anyone remember “Wag The Dog”?With the Dimocrats poised to loose big in this fall’s election what better time for a“Wag The Dog” war to keep the Dims in power! Just sayin!

jtpcamp on April 1, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Sounds like Iran is getting the Crocodile Dundee “Thats not a knife, this is a knife!” treatment.

Hellrider on April 1, 2010 at 1:25 AM

isn’t Hussain providing a recruiting excuse to Bin Laden ?

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Well, probably Mac. But not on the same scale as say, housing prisoners on a tropical island with three islam-approved squares a day.

JusDreamin on April 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Comment pages: 1 2