HMS Vanguard, Britain’s flagship nuclear-armed submarine, is poised to test a Trident nuclear missile, the Royal Navy’s first since a failed attempt in 2016.

Earlier this week, the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency issued a navigational warning to shipping, informing them that a Royal Navy vessel would take part in a submarine-launched ballistic missile test in the Atlantic between 30 January and 4 February. The test will take place off the Florida cost with a missile carrying a dummy warhead. According the The Times, “the 60-tonne missile is due to travel about 3,700 miles before crashing into the sea between Brazil and west Africa.”

HMS Vanguard was spotted leaving Port Canaveral in Florida on 30 January and the test is required before the vessel re-enters service after a “deep maintenance period.” Vanguard initially entered drydock at Devonport in 2015 with a major refit set to take three years. However delays and malfunctions meant the refit lasted seven years and costs ballooned from under £300 million to over £500 million. Delays included the discovery that superglue was used by workers to attach broken bolts to the sub’s nuclear reactor.

The Royal Navy’s last Trident test in 2016 ended in failure. Launched from HMS Victorious, a malfunction in the system caused the missile to spin out of control. Instead of flying over the Atlantic, the missile flew over the US and later self-destructed.

However, the latest test comes at a time of heightened nuclear tensions. In January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists identified the continued expansion and modernisation of nuclear arsenals as one of the reasons the Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight. Last week also saw further evidence revealed that Britain will host US nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath. Russia has recently completed the transfer of some of its own nuclear weapons to Belarus, reportedly in response to new US deployments to Britain.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“On top of years of additional costs and resources expended on these weapons of mass destruction, we are now seeing them put out to sea for a provocative nuclear missile test. The government must call time on such actions, and start the process of disarming these submarines. The costs of maintaining and replacing Trident are enormous and the money should instead be spent on fixing the many problems in Britain’s public services and preparing the country for the green transition.”