167 Successful Launches Since 1989
On 26 March the OHIO-class ballistic submarine USS NEBRASKA (SSBN-739) demonstrated the readiness of both crew and weapon system by firing two TRIDENT II D5 Life Extension (LE) missiles, built by Lockheed Martin. The test, known as Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 28, took place in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California and took to 167 the number of successful test launches since design completion in 1989 – the most reliable test record for a large ballistic missile.
The joint government-industry team achieved initial fleet introduction of the D5 LE design last year, modernising the submarine-launched ballistic missile while maintaining the proven performance of the D5 missile for significantly less than the cost of designing a new missile. Featuring modernised electronics and upgraded avionics subsystems, the LE configuration will be in service with the US and Royal Navies through the 2040s.
“In addition to certifying the submarine and crew for patrol, the test launch collected valuable data about the performance of the D5 Life Extension missile configuration,” stated Lockheed Martin Vice President of Navy Strategic Programmes, Eric Scherff. “Instead of warheads, the missiles carried test kits and instrumentation to give us troves of information about flight and subsystem performance. The joint government and industry team will use this data to assess performance and to inform maintenance and sustainment plans for the upgraded TRIDENT missile fleet for decades to come.”