The mysterious missile launch off the California coast

On Nov. 9 the images of a mysterious missile launch off the coast of Los Angeles made the news. The footage, shot by a KCBS news helicopter, shows what seems to be a missile or a rocket launched on Nov. 8, 2010, shooting up into the sky and leaving a large contrail over the Pacific Ocean.
The video is available on YT:

The launch, with a westerly trajectory, originated from the Ocean, some 35 miles north-west of Santa Catalina Island around 5PM local time. What is extremely weird is that nobody within the US Department of Defense, US Navy, US Air Force and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) was able to determine whether it was really a missile to be launched off the coast of souther California and, above all, who may have launched it. Pentagon officials said that initial indications were that the military was not involved. Many civilian contractors operate in the area (where a firing range is located) but I don’t think they test such large missiles without prior notice. Someone said it could be an optical illusion caused by an airliner contrail but in my opinion it IS a missile, most probably a SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile), since the contrails starts from the sea. Whether it was a controlled/secret test by the US military must still be determined even if I suspect that the military already know much more than they have said so far. Another thrilling hypothesis is that of a rogue event from a Russian or Chinese submarine: a “show of force” just to prove to the US that someone can attack America from its backyard; something that, at least for the moment, I would leave to the plot of a Tom Clancy novel….

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.