Nation: Here Come the Tridents

When its black hull slipped into the waters off Groton, Conn., last week, the submarine Ohio launched a new era in nuclear warfare. Regarded as one of the world's most sophisticated weapons systems, it is the first of a planned fleet of 13 Trident A-subs. In size alone the Ohio is staggering: its 560-ft. length is five feet longer than the Washington Monument, and its 18,700-ton displacement nearly equals that of World War II's Yorktown-class aircraft carriers. Equally monumental is the ship's $1.25 billion price tag.

The new subs will carry 24 Trident I missiles, each with a dozen warheads. The...

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