On February 22, 2015, the US Navy conducted its 155th successful test flight of two unarmed Lockheed Martin-built Trident II D5 Fleet ballistic missiles. The first test flight of a Trident missile took place in 1989. The 155th successful test flight marks over 25 years of reliability which is unmatched by any other ballistic missile. The missile was launched from a submerged Ohio-class submarine in the Pacific Ocean. The test flight demonstrates the missile’s reliability and the readiness of the Trident Strategic Weapon System.
The Trident II D5 is a three-stage, solid propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile. It has a range of 4,000 nautical miles while carrying multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles. In addition to the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class submarine, the Trident II is also aboard the UK Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines. There are a series of operational system evaluation tests for Trident Strategic Weapon System under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Before testing, the missiles are adapted to test configurations. Kits are used comprised with range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.
The missile was first deployed in 1990 following the highly successful Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident I C4 programs. The Polaris A1, the first Fleet Ballistic Missile, was a two-stage ballistic missile with a range of 1,200 nautical miles. The first successful underwater launch of the A1 was July 20, 1960 and the Polaris series ended in 1979 when the A3 was retired. The longest continuously operated Fleet Ballistic Missile ever deployed by the U.S. Navy was the Trident I C4. Featuring advanced propellant technology, micro-electronics and weight saving materials, the C4 could hit targets more than 4,000 nautical miles away with a full payload.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is the Navy’s Trident missile prime contractor. In addition to developing and producing the missile and support equipment the company also supplies technical and logistics support. Over 112.000 people are employed by the global security and aerospace company. Lockheed is engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Net sales in 2014 were $45.6 billion.
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