Lockheed Martin-Built Trident II D5 Missile Achieves Record 120 Successful Test Launches…

D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile Launched in Navy Test in the Pacific

SILVERDALE, Wash., November 29th, 2007 — The U.S. Navy conducted a successful test launch today of a Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT).  The Navy launched the unarmed missile from the submerged submarine USS HENRY M JACKSON (SSBN 730) in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Trident II D5 missile now has achieved 120 consecutive successful test launches since 1989 – a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle. 

“What does it take to succeed in 120 tests in nearly two decades?  It takes the well-known vision of our Navy Strategic Systems Programs customer, who focuses on partnership and mission success,” said Tory Bruno, vice president and general manager of Strategic Missile Programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Navy’s Trident Missile prime contractor.  “It also takes the discipline of the Navy crews responsible for D5 operation and the talent of the Lockheed Martin personnel who designed, produced and support this missile.”

The missile launch was part of the Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) to certify USS HENRY M JACKSON for deployment, following a shipyard overhaul period and conversion from Trident I C4 to Trident II D5 configuration. 

The Navy performs tests to assure the safety, reliability, readiness and performance of the Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon System, as required by the Department of Defense’s National Command Authority and conducted under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  For the tests, operational missiles are converted into inert configurations using test missile kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.

First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard 12 Trident II Ohio-class submarines and four British Trident II Vanguard-class submarines.  The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles. 

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the prime contractor and program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Trident Missile.  Lockheed Martin Space Systems employees, principally in California, Georgia, Florida, Washington and Utah, support the design, development, production, test and operation of the Trident strategic weapon system.  Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been the Navy’s prime strategic missile contractor since the inception of the program more than 50 years ago. 

The test also involved the Lockheed Martin-built Navigation Subsystem that continuously and covertly provides the highly-accurate and reliable navigation data required to support today’s stringent Trident Weapon System performance requirements. An Electrostatically Supported Gyro Navigator and a Navigation Sonar System together provide the initial navigation inputs to the Fire Control Subsystem in support of the Weapon System missile launch.  Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors Undersea Systems business unit, Mitchel Field, N.Y., has been the Navy’s prime contractor for the Navigation Subsystem aboard FBM submarines since 1955. 

Altogether, nearly 3,000 employees throughout the Lockheed Martin corporation support the Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile program. 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.

This is taken directly from the Lockheed Martin Press Release.


USS Henry M. Jackson is the OLDEST SSBN

In case you haven’t heard, the USS HMJ is the oldest SSBN currently making patrols. As the four oldest Tridents, Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia, are in the process of being converted to SSGNs, this in some respects will make, “De Facto,” the Jackson as first of the Class. I think that you may hear the term, Jackson class submarines, when people refer to Trident SSBNs, and Ohio Class when referring to SSGNs, merely to eliminate confusion between the two.

While I have yet to confirm this change through official Navy channels, it has been used on a few official news reporting agencies. See This article .

So from 5th, to 1st! Henry M. Jackson’s SSBN takes it place as the lead as 1st in Class.