Lockheed Martin to produce additional submarine-launched ballistic missiles Trident II D5

On March 19, 2020, American Company Lockheed Martin has secured a $601.3M contract modification from the U.S. Navy to produce additional submarine-launched ballistic missile systems for the service branch and the British government.

Lockheed Martin to produce additional submarine launched ballistic missiles Trident II D5 925 001 An unarmed Trident II (D5LE) missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) off the coast of San Diego, California, Feb. 12, 2020. (Picture source US Navy)

Lockheed Martin will manufacture Trident II D5 missiles and support deployed systems through the sole-source contract, the Department of Defense said Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

The Trident D5 or UGM-133A Trident II is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California, and deployed with the American and British navies. It was first deployed in March 1990.

A total of 14 US Navy submarines are armed with Trident II ballistic missiles, each carrying 24 missiles. The Trident missile has a range from 6,400 to 11,250 km. The dimensions of the Trident II missile are 1,360 cm long with a diameter of 210 cm, and the weight is 59,000 kg.

The Trident II missile is deployed aboard Ohio-class submarines, each capable of carrying 24 missiles. Under the provisions of the Polaris Sales Agreement, it is also carried aboard the United Kingdom's Vanguard-class submarines.

The Trident II D5 SLBM is a three-stage, solid-fuel, inertially-guided missile with a range of 4,000 nautical miles capable of carrying multiple W76-Mk4/Mk4A or W88-Mk5 reentry bodies. The missile is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. When the missile broaches the waterline, it enters the boost phase, expending its first, second, and third-stage rocket motors. Following third-stage motor separation, the missile deploys the reentry bodies.

The Trident II SWS, originally designed to have a service life of about 25 years, has proven itself as a highly accurate and reliable system. To address aging and obsolescence issues, the Trident II SWS' life was extended. Life-extended Trident II D5 missiles (D5LE) were introduced to the Fleet in early 2017. These D5LE missiles will serve throughout the remaining service life of the U.S. Ohio-class and UK Vanguard-class submarines and they will be initially carried aboard the U.S. Columbia-class and UK Dreadnought-class submarines.

The Ohio class of nuclear-powered submarines includes the United States Navy's 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and its four cruise missile submarines (SSGNs). The Ohio Class submarine is also armed with four 533 mm torpedo tubes with an mk118 digital torpedo fire control system. Countermeasures of Ohio class submarine include eight launchers for the mk2 torpedo decoy as well as electronic warfare equipment that consists of WLR-10 threat warning system and the WLR-8(V) surveillance receiver.

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