Lockheed Martin will continue to manufacture submarine-launched ballistic missiles for the US Navy and the Royal Navy under a four-year, $559.6M contract modification.

The company will also support both countries deployed Trident II D5 missile systems, the Department of Defense said Thursday.

The full text of the contract notice is displayed below.

“Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, California, is awarded $559,622,074 for cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification P00004 to a previously awarded contract (N00030-18-C-0100) for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed system support.  

Work will be performed in Magna, Utah (29.47 percent); Sunnyvale, California (16.75 percent); Cape Canaveral, Florida (14.07 percent); Pittsfield, Massachusetts (6.00 percent); Denver, Colorado (5.56 percent); Camden, Arizona (3.96 percent); Titusville, Florida (3.87 percent); Kingsport, Tennessee (3.87 percent); Kings Bay, Georgia (3.15 percent); El Segundo, California (2.87 percent); Lancaster, Pennsylvania (2.00 percent); Clearwater, Florida (1.11 percent); Inglewood, California (1.08 percent); and other various locations less than one percent (6.24 percent total), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2023.  

Fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $412,117,013; fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,717,587; and United Kingdom funds in the amount of $137,787,474 will be obligated on this award. No funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  

Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.”

Work is scheduled to conclude by Sept. 30, 2023.

Trident II D5 missiles are currently aboard U.S. Ohio-class and U.K. Vanguard-class submarines and designed to carry multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicle warheads.

47 COMMENTS

  1. Do we know what ballistic missile the Drednought class will have onboard? And why doesn’t France and the UK work on their own new one? Or Maybe we in the UK are to close to American systems now.

    • Dreadnoughts will pack Trident D5 ICBMs onboard, same as the USA’s Colombia class.

      As for working with France? I wouldn’t trust them to codesign a pencil, let alone a nuclear missile. Plus America has far more experience and resources than France, making them a better partner and one that can be trusted (mostly) to uphold their end of the programme

      • Precisely.

        Also, I believe that the Vanguard and Columbia class subs will have the same, identical launch tubes, which presumably reduces the cost all round?

        As to the French, well said.

        • “As to the french well said”. The french have independently build there own nuclear warheads, ballistic missiles and systems and have also successfully adapted the Rafale for nuclear strike missions!. A bit more than Britain has done in the past few years and in future, we lost our RAF Nuclear bomb decades ago. But hey atleast we still build our own warheads in the UK, something to be really proud of I think, we also protect all of NATO and Europe with them, but what thanks do we get?

          • The UK is protecting the US with its nuclear missiles? With its one Vanguard submarine at sea. Right. What planet do you live on?

      • ‘As for working with France? I wouldn’t trust them to codesign a pencil’

        Why is that ? I’ve never seen the Russians buy serious hardware from a western nation before but they bought two Mistral class assault ships.

        • The Russians would buy a dead dog from anAlbanian if they had the chance. They are not exactly picky. Who cares what the Russian’s buy and from whom?
          Besides there is an arm’s embargo and sanctions on Russia on account of Russia invading a sovereign country, The Ukraine.

          • Why do you need to tell me about Ukraine – irrelevant. The point about this is French capabilities. The comment was a blanket dismissal of French products. I asked why.

          • Seems to me that distrust and dislike of France is a default attitude for a lot of people on here. You’ll have heard the term ‘perfidious Albion’, no doubt. Often just a question of perspective.

  2. It makes you wonder how France could afford to go it alone with their strategic deterrent, nuclear carrier and Rafale. The UK doesn’t seem to get much work share from teaming up with the Americans on Trident which I assume is offset by lower risk and lower cost due to EOS. I take it RR receiving the updated reactor designs if included in the joint package.

    • Can someone clear up something.

      Are we saying here that the new subs need new missiles? Can’t use the existing missiles? Why not?

      Also how hard can it be to make a missile leave point A and hit point B? Just need a sat nav type device? Or is that way too simplistic? Buy a cheapish drone, that knows where it is and can fly a pre determined route and if it loses signal return to the point of origin.

      • ‘Also how hard can it be to make a missile leave point A and hit point B’

        Extremely hard, especially if the target is small and hardened. The first generation of ballistics missiles had massive warheads because they were so inaccurate. Polaris didn’t have the capability to hit a hardened target with any accuracy and were purely ‘city buster’ area weapons that had no counterforce value. Improvements in accuracy meant that warheads could be made smaller, and more put on a missile (MRV or MIRV). With MIRV one missile could hit, in the case of Trident D5, up to 12 seperate individual targets.
        Guidance could use updates from satellites but in the RN case its assumed this won’t be available and guidance will be inertial, using star fixes to make corrections.

      • It’s not as simple as hitting point B from point A it’s the ballistic side! Going into space pretty much then all the stresses and strains that puts on the systems. It’s more complicated than most people think. That’s why I laugh when people think North Korea have that capability lol! They don’t and won’t ever have! It’s not just a cruise missile….

        • With what we have learnt since the Germans first threw a few v2’s across the channel 70 odd years ago and the initial problems Werner Von Braun had with the V2 disintergrating, and the guidance issues with the gyroscopes. He managed to make the first ballistic missiles.

          With the GPS technology available today in 2019. It cannot be anywhere as near as difficult. If we can make a cruise missile hit the target with GPS why not a ballistic missile?

          I’m just curious to know why its allegedly so difficult, I’m not disbelieving the answers given by you.

          North Korea probably cant manage it yet, but they haven’t had 70 years practice

          • Ballistic Missiles use dead reckoning and Astro guidance as they need to be able to to hit a target, even if satellites have been taken out leaving GPS down and out.

          • Firstly, the primary guidance for Trident is not GPS because in a scenario where nuclear weapons have already been released, potentially in great numbers and the SSBN is making a retaliatory strike, GPS might be off line. Trident is designed to use inertial navigation for the entire potentially more than 12,000 km flight (in fact much more because that’s just the range which is quoted, the flight path will be longer than the range). That requires incredibly accurate accelererometers and gyros to maintain constant awareness of position. In fact it’s not really possible with 100% confidence so Trident is also able to look upwards with a camera and take star fixes to check/correct calibration on its inertial navigation systems. GPS is there but it is simply a third input that feeds into the nav system and can be done without.

            Next, yes V2 and Trident are both rockets but consider the differences. Range, max trajectory altitude and max trajectory speed for V2 were 320km, 88km and 5,760 km/h respectively. For Trident D5 those figures are >12,000km, about 900km and 29,000 km/h respectively. You can see that the differences are huge and the engineering challenges just don’t compare. For a start Trident needs to be able to handle a proper orbital re-entry with all the heat issues that involves.

            Then there are the practical differences. Trident is three-stage so computer-controlled separation of each stage and ignition of the next stage needs to be handled while maintaining stability and not messing up inertial guidance. Also, when on target it has multiple warheads that can be released at different times on different final trajectories which involves some clever final thruster juggling, it doesn’t just all smash into one single target. And finally, the whole thing needs to be compact enough to fit into a submarine and launch from fully submerged.

            It’s really misleading to compare it in any way to something like a cruise missile (for instance) as far as technology goes, it’s more like Saturn V or the modern equivalent such as Ariane, SpaceX Falcon etc but in a much smaller package. This stuff really is rocket science!

      • The new SSBNs will use the same Trident missiles. USN and RN missile bodies are drawn from a common pool. This contract does not involve replacing them.

        • Plus the UK designed the Common Missile Compartment module for 4 missiles to fit both the new US and UK SSBNs. UK subs will have 3 modules , the US 4.

  3. Memory tells me, We joined the Nuclear Club with a little bit of British Craftiness having helped in the Initial Project only to be sidelined shortly after. Can’t remember which test It was but once our Package was seen to be the real thing, the US gave us Access to their ongoing program.

    Not sure how the French did it but bugger, that Godzilla was a hard act to Kill.

    • Watched a documentary about that very thing not long ago, the Americans weren’t very helpful as I recall and yes, some negotiations took place that we were a bit fortunate in. Bit like the supersonic flight thing, chuck yeager and all that, the Americans agreed to ‘share’ info, but in reality took info but reneged on giving info.

      • ‘ the supersonic flight thing, chuck yeager ‘ – they actually used British research to do that, similar to the Manhattan project which was heavily based on British & Commonwealth research. After WW2 Congress passed the McMahon Act, which prohibited the sharing of nuclear weapons information with anyone. Gratitude, eh ?

          • Sorry if I misunderstood. I didn’t realise that the Yeager thing was based on British research until recently. Not sure many people do.

        • The critical mass necessary for an atomic explosive device was calculated correctly by Max Perls and Otto Frisch at the University of Birmingham in 1941. Heisenberg, acknowledge as one of the greatest mathematicians and atomic theorists of his time failed to find the correct answer for the Nazi program to develop the nuclear bomb. Perls and Frisch’s calculation and other research into atomic weapons pioneered in the U.K under the Tube Alloys project was handed to the U.S. allowing the speedy construction of the bombs developed by the American team. In return the U.K. was sidelined and eventually shut out by U.S. officials though I believe some U.S. scientists and engineers were not exactly tight lipped with their U.K. partners. Matters were restored rapidly under Eisenhower, in my opinion the most pro-British President ever to sit in the Oval Office.

          • To make matters worse it now appears that some of the Uranium in the payload was actually German. So the Americans used a bomb partially developed by the UK where they kept then the UK out of future developments and used Uranium Oxide captured from a German U-Boot U234 that was shipping it to Japan to bomb Japan. You could make it up even if you wanted to.
            Americans, I don’t know who I trust the most France or America, personally I trust the Germans, at least you know what you get with them.

          • ‘He and his administration were solely responsible for the Suez Crisis and the final death blow to the British Empire’. The people responsible were the UK & french governments. True, though, that a major war aim of the USA was the end of the Btitish Empire, for both economic and ideological reasons.

        • The US was leery of working with the UK after the fiasco of finding several British traitors among the group of nuclear scientists in the Manhattan Project. It was a major reason why the USSR obtained the bomb so quickly. None of the traitors really got what they deserved.

          • Was only well after they stopped working together that they found out about the British Communist spy Klaus Fuchs (1950) who by that time had already moved on to the British nuclear program. They had already found several American spies at the University of Berkley Rad Lab in 1944. And several less successful British and American spies were found around the same time as Fuchs. Meanwhile the second most successful spy, the American Theodore Hall, wasn’t identified till 1990, he had been interviewed by the FBI in 1951 but cleared.

    • That would be Operation Grapple, where the UK demonstrated ability to build a large nuclear weapon, then a true thermonuclear one.

  4. Just remember if Godzilla kicks off we have snuggled very close with Japan, are we at risk of getting the Queen Elizabeth eaten…….. just saying…… I’m not sure we have invested heavily in the big metal monster killing robots needed to sort out Godzilla.

  5. Enjoy the banter but the reality is Putin either sends Russia broke and gets overthrown or he goes to war. An economy the size of Italy’s cannot sustain his defence spending. Suggest UK spends its £39b on putting 12 warheads on trident; more type 41’s with Astor block 1&2 and two more trident subs so at least 4 at sea. You also need Astor land based in large numbers. Time May told EU what the deal is or learn to speak Russian very quickly. You are sleepwalking into WW3.

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