Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. -- Members of Congress and the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) commander were aboard the USS Kentucky when the U.S. Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) conducted a successful test flight of a Trident II D5 Missile, Nov. 7, 2015, to obtain valid reliability, accuracy and performance factors for use by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and USSTRATCOM.
The unarmed test missile was launched as part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO) from the USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California. The primary objective of a DASO is to demonstrate the readiness of a SSBN's crew and weapon system. This launch marked the 156th successful test flight of the Trident II (D5) missile conducted by SSP since 1989.
"A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends," said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander, who monitored the test from the USS Kentucky (SSBN 737).
Admiral Haney stated that "strategic weapons tests demonstrate the readiness of our nation's nuclear triad and serve to assure our allies and deter our potential adversaries." He went on to say that exercises, weapons tests and operations are an important part of validating that our deterrence forces are capable 24/7.
Also witnessing the test was a congressional delegation including Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Rep. Stephen Womack (Arkansas), Rep. Pete Visclosky (Indiana), Rep. Jackie Walorski (Indiana), Rep. Larry Bucshon (Indiana) and professional staff members from Senate and House subcommittees.
"I'm thrilled that some of our congressional members were able to take the time to witness this test and to see firsthand the professional and dedicated submariners conducting the strategic deterrence mission, as well as the team of professionals supporting the test," said Haney.
Haney encouraged the observers to share their experience with their colleagues and others as he discussed the importance of strategic deterrence for our nation today, and for tomorrow's future.
The triad, the U.S. strategic nuclear forces of ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers and the tankers that refuel them, along with intelligence, sensing capabilities, national nuclear command, control and communications, altogether comprise the primary deterrent of nuclear attacks against the U.S., our allies, and partners.
The U.S. Navy supports USSTRATCOM's strategic deterrence missions by operating and maintaining Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, the most survivable leg of the triad, to deter regional and strategic threats. The weapon system is a critical element that underpins U.S. national security.
"It is safe, secure, effective and ready today, but the platform is aging and in need of replacement. I look forward to continued progress on the Ohio Replacement Program to ensure the nation has this capability well into the future to continue providing security for America and our allies," Haney said.
"Ensuring our nation's strategic forces have the resources they need, are trained to the highest standards, and are ready to perform their critical mission remains one of the most important priorities I hold as an elected official," Walorski said. "I want to thank the brave men and women who serve in our submarine and strategic forces communities, your quiet sacrifices, often absent from any headlines, protect the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. We are forever grateful for your service."
U.S. Navy's SSP conducted another successful test flight - the 157th - of a Trident II D5 Missile, Nov. 9. The unarmed test missile was also launched as part of a DASO from the USS Kentucky in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California. Haney and the congressional members, however, were not on board.
One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.
A trident II D-5 ballistic missile is launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) during a missile test at the Pacific Test Range. The launch, the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN's crew and weapon system. U.S. Navy photo (Released) 151107-N-ZZ999-001
Lockheed Martin Transitions to Digital Engineering in Program’s 60th Year
Sunnyvale, Calif., Nov. 10, 2015 – The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights Nov. 7 and 9 of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). 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 and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.
Lockheed Martin has been the Navy’s strategic missile prime contractor since Dec. 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.
A Trident missile launch lit up the skies over Los Angeles at around 6 p.m. PT Saturday. (Credit: Julien Solomita via YouTube)
A light from a Navy unarmed missile is seen over
Thousand Oaks, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. The Navy fired an unarmed
missile from a submarine off the coast of Southern California on
Saturday, creating a bright light that streaked across the state and was
visible as far away as Nevada and Arizona.
The ring on the right is most likely from the missile staging event.
A Trident missile the Navy tested off Los Angeles Saturday night is
shown from the Fourth Street bridge over 110 Freeway in Los Angeles.
Photographer Preston Newman was on a photo shoot at the time.
— Preston Newman Photography, on Instagram at @Newman_Photos