Saturday, April 20, 2024

U.S. Navy’s Trident II D5 missile completes record 191 flight tests

The US Navy has successfully completed another test of its Trident II D5 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana. This test marks the record 191 successful missile launches of the Trident II strategic weapons system missile since it began operations in 1989.

As part of the U.S. Navy’s Demonstration and Shakedown Operation 32 (DASO-32) event, the primary objective of the Navy exercise is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the USS Louisiana (SSBN-743) crew and certify the submarine for deployment.

Northrop Grumman is responsible for producing solid-propulsion motor systems for all three stages of the Trident II missile. According to the company, the recent test flight included the oldest Trident II D5 motors flown to date – demonstrating their reliability and proven performance.

The longevity of these components was a significant aspect of the test flight, as the Trident missile is expected to remain in service with the US Navy and Royal Navy until the 2040s, while the submarines designed to carry them will remain active until the 2080s.

Northrop Grumman, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy and prime contractor Lockheed Martin, is currently working on modernizing and digitizing the manufacturing processes for the Trident II D5 missile. This includes implementing advanced digital modeling for more precise and efficient manufacturing and modernization to meet future demand.

First deployed in March 1980s, the Trident II D5 is a solid-fueled, three-stage missile currently deployed on U.S. Ohio-class and U.K. Vanguard-class submarines and will be carried aboard U.S. Columbia-class and U.K. Dreadnought-class submarines in the future. The missile has the capability to carry multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles up to 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 miles/7,400 km).

“Northrop Grumman’s strategic motors have provided propulsion success for 191 successful test launches since their deployment to the fleet. That is the kind of performance the Navy has come to rely upon to meet national defense readiness with Northrop Grumman solid rocket motor technology to power the Trident II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles,” said Wendy Williams, vice president of propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman.