Friday, October 22, 2021

Gone ‘Berserk’ In 2016, US Navy Awards Lockheed Martin Contract To Produce Trident II Sub-Launched Ballistic Missiles

The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin Space a $445 million contract to produce Trident II submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles, the US Defense Department said in a press release.

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“Lockheed Martin Space, Titusville, Florida, is awarded a $445,488,793 fixed-price incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded and announced unpriced letter contract for Trident II missile production and deployed systems support,” the release said on Friday.

Work on the contract is expected to be completed by September 2026, the release said. The release did not detail the number of Trident II missiles that will be built.

A Trident D5 missile. Via US Navy

Earlier this year, the US had successfully tested an unarmed life-extended Trident II (D5LE) ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the US Navy said. According to the statement, the missile was launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN-741) off the coast of San Diego, California.

“Today’s scheduled test validated performance expectations of the life-extended Trident II (D5LE) Strategic Weapon System (SWS) and gathered additional data on the SWS’ reliability, accuracy, and performance factors. This launch marks 178 successful missile launches of the Trident II (D5 &D5LE) strategic weapon system,” the statement said.

Trident II Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles 

The Trident II strategic weapon system, originally designed with a life span to 2024, recently underwent a life extension that will keep it operational through the late 2040s, according to the US Navy.

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Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) – Trident II comprise about 70 percent of the US nuclear deterrent, which also includes the US Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.

In 2016, the missile test was in the ‘line of fire’ as it failed and went wayward. Instead of its intended route towards the US mainland, the missile went in the completely opposite direction and was blown up midair using the self-destruct feature.

The test was conducted by the British Royal Navy. The issue is that when HMS Vengeance test-fired the missile off the coast of Florida, the missile was not out by a few meters but several thousand miles. It had been targeted at the southern Atlantic off the coast of West Africa. Instead, it was traveling in the opposite direction, over the US, British media – The Guardian reported.

Missile’s comet-like trail had ignited the evening sky across the Florida state from the Treasure Coast to Southern Palm Beach County. Those who spotted the light promptly turned to social media, sharing thrilling visuals.

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The Trident SLBM has been developed by the US defense giant, Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation. SLBM Trident II has an operational range of over 7,500 miles and makes an essential component of the US and UK nuclear deterrent stockpile.

  • Nitin holds a double master’s degree in Journalism and Business Management (MBA) from The University of Glasgow, UK. He has over 15 years of global experience in Marketing & Communications, Journalism, and Digital Marketing and widely worked & traveled across Europe, the Americas and Asia. CONTACT: [email protected] 
  • With Inputs From Sputnik News Agency
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