Submarine Weapons: Ballistic Missiles

Nuclear Test

In May 1962, the submerged USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) test-fired a Polaris A-2 missile with a live nuclear warhead across the Pacific Ocean toward Christmas Island, 1,700 miles (2,700 km) away. The test, code-named Frigate Bird, was the only one the United States ever conducted of any nuclear ballistic missile from launch through detonation. After a 12.5-minute, 1,200-mile (1,900 km) flight, the warhead exploded in the air between 10,000 and 15,000 feet (3,000 and 4,600 m) high with a yield of 600 Kilotons. Thirty miles from the air burst at periscope depth, the waiting USS Carbonaro (SS-337) captured the mushroom cloud on film.

Attack Center Indicator Panel
Ballistic Missile Comparisons
Trident Flight Path
Nuclear Test


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