Draper Laboratory Receives $83M Contract in Support of Trident II (D5) Strategic Weapon System

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) is awarded an $83.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract by the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) Office in support of the Trident II (D5) Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) system.

As per the contract, CSDL will provide research into the applications of technologies to meet guidance requirements for the U.S. Trident II (D5) Strategic Weapon System, and provide specialized technical knowledge for the guidance, navigation and control applications that will support Navy programs.

The contract work will be performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2021.

This contract was a sole-source acquisition pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) as CSDL has been the design agent for Navy Strategic Missile Guidance Systems since the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program inception in the late 1950s.

Excerpt from the U.S. Department of Defense statement announcing the contract:

“CSDL possesses the unique knowledge of the total Trident Guidance system including its design and use on the Trident II weapon system. The purpose of an MK6 life extension effort also procured under this contract is to provide credible deterrence throughout the TRIDENT II weapon system’s extended service life. The unique expertise and experience at CSDL make them uniquely qualified to perform this life extension effort. No source other than CSDL has the technical capacity, facilities, and critical expertise, including comprehensive knowledge and understanding of design, to provide the engineering, program management, and repair and refurbishment support of deployed TRIDENT II MK6 missile guidance systems or the development of the MK6LE guidance systems. No other known source possesses similar capability, and no other institution possesses the combined, unique system test facilities, receives knowledge and overall experience to understand and resolve the issues associated with the Navy’s TRIDENT II guidance and reentry mission.”

UGM-133A Trident II, or Trident D5, is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California, and deployed with the American and British navies.

The missile has a maximum operational range of over 7,500 miles (12,000 km) and a CEP of 90 metres (the exact values are classified). The missile’s MK 6 Astro-inertial guidance navigation system is also able to receive GPS (Global Positioning System) updates.

The missiles deployed on U.S. submarines can be equipped with a Mark 5 MIRV warhead that can carry up to 8 W88 (475 kt) warheads, or a Mark 4 MIRV that can also carry 14 W76 (100 kt) warheads.

Trident II missiles are carried by 14 U.S. Navy Ohio-class and four UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), with 24 missiles on each Ohio class and 16 missiles on each Vanguard class.

The D5 is the sixth in a series of missile generations deployed since the sea-based deterrent program began 60 years ago. The Trident D5LE (life-extension) version will remain in service until 2042.

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