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US Navy tests Trident ballistic missiles


The Trident II D5 missile being test fired. A Lockheed Martin photo

SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA (BNS): The US Navy has carried out successful test firings of the Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) as part of an evaluation trial earlier this month.

Four of the advanced Trident II D5 SLBMs were test launched from the Navy's Ohio-class submarine on Sept 10 and 12 in the Atlantic Ocean.

The missiles were fired without payloads.

The Navy test fired the missiles as part of Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Tests, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the Trident programme, announced on Sept 24.

As required by the Department of Defense's National Command Authority, the US Navy conducts a continuing series of operational system evaluation tests of the Trident Strategic Weapon System under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard US Navy Ohio-class and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines.

The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,408 km) and carries multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.

The Fleet Ballistic Missile team has produced six generations, each more capable than its predecessor: the Polaris A1, Polaris A2, Polaris A3, Poseidon C3, Trident I C4 and Trident II D5 missiles.

Lockheed Martin has been the Navy's strategic missile prime contractor since the programme's inception in 1955.

The latest tests marked the 145th, 146th, 147th and 148th successful test flights of the D5 missile since its design completion in 1989, the defence contractor said.

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