NEW LONDON, Conn. — The Tennessee, the nation's first nuclear-powered submarine designed to fire multi-warhead Trident 2 missiles, was commissioned Saturday while about 100 protesters staged a mock funeral procession outside the Naval Underwater Systems Center.
The submarine was hailed as a weapon "fitted for the demands of modern peace," by former Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr., who along with other Tennessee and Navy dignitaries were in a crowd of about 1,200 celebrating the submarine's formal entry into the fleet.
Members of the Coalition to Stop the Trident had threatened a large demonstration and acts of civil disobedience, but no protesters were arrested.
"The only reason for this type of submarine is for us to have a 'first-strike' policy; they're not a defensive weapon," said Joanne Sheehan, a member of the Coalition to Stop the Trident.
Trident 2 missiles have a range of 6,000 miles, and each multiple warhead can strike up to 10 targets, officials said.
The missile continues to undergo tests, the latest of which was successfully completed Friday in Florida.