The US Navy conducted a successful test launch, on May 15, of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles (FBMs) built by Lockheed Martin. The Navy launched the unarmed missiles from the USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) in the Eastern Range in the Atlantic Ocean.

With this two-missile Follow-on Commander Evaluation Test, the Trident II D5 missile has achieved 119 consecutive successful test launches since 1989—a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.

The launches are part of a continuing series of operational system evaluation tests conducted by the Navy to assure the safety, reliability, readiness and performance of the Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon System, as required by the Department of Defense’s National Command Authority and conducted under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A new test missile kit design was used for the first time in the test. Produced by Lockheed Martin, the new design uses a combination of custom military and commercial off-the-shelf components.

The kits convert operational missiles into test configurations and contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. “Consistent with every test launch conducted by the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, this test was important to ensuring the reliability and credibility of the Fleet Ballistic Missile,” said Tory Bruno, vice president of Strategic Missile Programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

“This test had added significance because the new test missile kits extend the effectiveness of the Navy’s rigorous testing program.” First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard 12 Trident II Ohio-class submarines. The three-stage, solid propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles.

Lockheed Martin Space System Co., Sunnyvale, CA, is the prime contractor and program manager for the US Navy’s Trident Missile. Approximately 2400 Lockheed Martin Space Systems employees, principally in California, Georgia, Florida, Washington and Utah, support the design, development, production, test and operation of the Trident strategic weapon system.