U.S. Navy to Conduct Test Launch of Trident II (D5) SLBM

The U.S. Navy has scheduled to conduct test launch of a Trident II (D5) submarine-launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) from its Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) on March 27.

According to reports, the test launch will be conducted from a launch area West of San Diego and the missile will land in Waters East of Guam.

Two U.S. Navy P-3C Orion patrol aircraft assigned to its Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30 (VX-30) has conducted range monitoring operations near the proposed SLBM launch area.

UGM-133A Trident II/ Trident D5

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.

It was first deployed in March 1990, and remains in service. The Trident II Strategic Weapons System is an improved SLBM with greater accuracy, payload, and range than the earlier Trident C-4. It is a key element of the U.S. strategic nuclear triad.

The missile has a range of 4,230 nautical miles (7,840 km) with full load and approx. 7,500 mi (12,000 km)
with reduced load (exact is classified) with a speculated circular error probable (CEP) of 90 metres (300 ft). The missile is guided with the MK 6 Astro-inertial guidance navigation system which is able to receive GPS (Global Positioning System) updates.

Trident II (D5) missiles are carried by 14 U.S Navy Ohio-class and 4 British Royal Navy Vanguard-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

The Ohio-class SSBNs are able to carry 24 missiles each while Vanguard-class submarines can carry 16 missiles each. The number of missiles on Ohio-class submarines will be reduced to 20 each in coming years, in compliance with the New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.

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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