Submarine-based ballistic missile

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Trident II taking off from a submerged submarine

A submarine-supported ballistic missile ( SLBM for short , for "Submarine-launched ballistic missile") is a ballistic missile that is intended to be fired from submarines ( SSBN ). Modern SLBMs practically correspond in range to ICBMs and can usually be equipped with multiple nuclear warheads .


In 2019, the naval forces of the USA , Russia , France , Great Britain , China and India had SLBMs . North Korea carried out a test so far in April 2016.


SLBMs were of great strategic importance during the second half of the Cold War . To date, serving nuclear submarines of the nuclear deterrent . The position of these ships is difficult to determine despite the most modern tracking devices such as underwater microphones ( SOSUS ), magnetic probes and satellites, and the mobility guarantees that not all SLBMs carrying submarines can be switched off by the enemy or that the enemy cannot know which boats lead which. A strategic submarine fleet would theoretically offer the option of an atomic first strike , but above all a successful second strike , also because of the potentially very short advance warning time due to almost any distance to the target . Thus, the SLBMs also contribute to the balance of horror .

From 1979 the USA had more modern Trident SLBMs, which, due to their accuracy ( CEP ), gave the nuclear submarines the possibility of attacking point targets instead of area targets. The number of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles ( ICBM ) could be reduced. By 1985, for example, the USA had half of the strategic nuclear warheads stationed on SLBMs, the Soviet Union 20%.

SLBM of individual states

United States

The Trident is also used by the Royal Navy .

Russia, formerly the USSR

Баллистические ракеты подводных лодок (БРПЛ) The type designations often overlap


missile mer-sol balistique stratégique (MSBS)

People's Republic of China


North Korea


Web links

Commons : Submarine-launched ballistic missiles  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. North Korea Says Submarine Ballistic Missile Test 'Great Success'. Huffington Post, April 24, 2016, accessed April 24, 2016 .