20.07.

1960: The First Ballistic Missile Launched from a Submerged Submarine

1960: The First Ballistic Missile Launched from a Submerged Submarine
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/USS George Washington (SSBN-598)

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 20 July 1960
  • Polaris rocket could carry a 600 kilotons (as 37.5 bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945) nuclear warhead. It is interesting that submarine-launched missiles make the most of today’s United States active nuclear arsenal.

On this day the launch of a ballistic missile from a submerged submarine was carried out for the first time in history.

It was a Polaris-type missile and it was launched from a submerged nuclear submarine USS George Washington.

Polaris rocket could carry a 600 kilotons (as 37.5 bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945) nuclear warhead. Underwater launch of nuclear weapons from submarines was an important innovation, because it enabled an attack from greater proximity.

It is interesting that submarine-launched missiles make the most of today’s United States active nuclear arsenal. Specifically, American submarines carry 1,152 nuclear warheads, while all the bombers together have 500 warheads at their disposal and ground launched rockets 550 heads.

Polaris rocket was launched on this day from a submarine submerged off the coast of Florida. It hit the impact area at a distance of 2,000 kilometers.

After the successful test, the U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower received the following message from the submarine: POLARIS – FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT.

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