The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights November 7 and 9 of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin. The world’s most reliable large ballistic missile, the D5 missile has achieved a total of 157 successful test flights since design completion in 1989. The D5 is the sixth in a series of missile generations deployed since the sea-based deterrent program began 60 years ago.
The Navy launched the unarmed missiles in the Pacific Ocean from a submerged Ohio-class submarine. The missiles were converted into test configurations using kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. The test flights were part of a demonstration and shakedown operation, which the Navy uses to certify a submarine for deployment following an overhaul.
«This reliability record is a testament to the unwavering dedication to the deterrence mission by the Navy program office, the submarine crews and the industry team», said Mat Joyce, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs and deputy for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «Building on a six-decade history of success, we’re moving into the future by implementing new engineering methods that will pave the way for continued innovation and performance».
To support the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs, Lockheed Martin is incorporating modernized electronics technology to cost effectively prolong the service life of the D5 missile design on current and next-generation submarine platforms. These two missile flights formally qualify the new flight control and interlocks electronics packages for deployment in 2017. The modernized avionics subsystems, which control key missile functions during flight, enable missile life extension through 2042.
The company also is transitioning to designing components in a digital environment and using 3-D printing to efficiently produce prototypes.
«This is an example of how Lockheed Martin continually moves forward in advancing our ballistic missile systems to ensure that we are employing the latest technologies to meet our customers’ mission and budget requirements», said Joyce.
The Trident II D5 missile is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class and U.K. Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines to deter nuclear aggression. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles/4,603 miles/7,408 km and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.
Lockheed Martin has been the Navy’s strategic missile prime contractor since December 27, 1955 – one of the longest government and industry partnerships for a major U.S. weapon system. The company also performs program management and engineering services for the Royal Navy under the Polaris Sales Agreement.
|Primary Function||Strategic Nuclear Deterrence|
|Contractor||Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc., Sunnyvale, California|
|Unit Cost||$30.9 million|
|Propulsion||Three-stage solid-propellant rocket|
|Length||44 feet/13.41 m|
|Diameter||83 inches/2.11 m|
|Weight||130,000 pounds/58,500 kg|
|Range||Greater than 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km|
|Warhead||Nuclear MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles)|