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L'US Navy a accompli avec succès le 155ème test du missile balistique stratégique Trident II D5 depuis un SNLE classe Ohio

L'US Navy a accompli avec succès le 155ème test du missile balistique stratégique Trident II D5 depuis un SNLE classe Ohio | Newsletter navale | Scoop.it
The US Navy has successfully conducted the 155th test flight of two unarmed Lockheed Martin-built Trident II D5 Fleet ballistic missiles, which were launched in the Pacific Ocean from a submerged Ohio-class submarine.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Strategic and Missile Defense Systems deputy and Fleet Ballistic Missile programmes vice-president Mat Joyce said: "These latest test flights demonstrate the reliability of the D5 missile and the readiness of the entire Trident strategic weapon system, every minute of every day.

"The navy programme office, the submarine crews and the industry team never rest to ensure the safety, security and performance of this crucial deterrence system."

Prior to testing, the missiles were adapted to test configurations using kits comprising a range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.

The US Navy performs a series of operational system evaluation tests for the Trident strategic weapon system under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trident II D5 is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile, capable of travelling a range of 4,000nm while carrying multiple, independently targeted re-entry vehicles.

It is currently aboard the US Navy Ohio-class and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines.

The missile's design was completed in 1989 and was first deployed in 1990.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the strategic missile prime contractor for the US Navy's strategic systems programmes.

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L'US Navy cherche une alternative aux propulseurs à propergol solide pour les missiles stratégiques de SNLE

L'US Navy cherche une alternative aux propulseurs à propergol solide pour les missiles stratégiques de SNLE | Newsletter navale | Scoop.it
Key Points
  • USN considering alternative propellants for SLBM rocket motors
  • Safety issues prevent using liquid rocket motors on submarines

The US Navy's (USN) strategic systems programme (SSP), which oversees and maintains submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), is facing a potential shortage of solid rocket motors.

"Right now there is a decline in demand for solid rocket motors," Vice Admiral Terry Benedict, director, SSP, said during a Capitol Hill briefing on 13 June.

"Sustainment of the industrial base remains an issue that must be addressed at the national level," he added.

While the USN is maintaining a continuous production capability at a minimum sustaining rate of 12 rocket motor sets per year, the demand from NASA and the US Air Force (USAF) has declined, Adm Benedict said.

If NASA decides to use a liquid propulsion system for its advanced booster it will result in significant future cost increases for the USN Trident D5 SLBM and the USAF's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) rocket motors, he added.

Because of safety matters, the USN cannot deploy SLBM's outfitted with liquid rocket motors from submarines. "Liquids are not an option for the submarine force due to the confined space in which the missile resides," said Adm Benedict.

NASA's decision could also result in diminished critical skills in the solid rocket motor production line as well as impact sustainment of a key industrial base. The decision places the entire specialised solid rocket motor industry at risk, Adm Benedict noted.

NASA is expected to make a decision in the 2016 timeframe on the use of liquid or solid propulsion systems for its programmes.

"If NASA were to choose to move to something other than the solid rocket motors used for ascent [for the Space Launch System's advanced boosters], it would reduce the ATK/Orbital business base sufficiently to adversely impact the cost to the navy for its solid rockets," a NASA spokesperson told IHS Jane's on 18 June.

SSP does have ongoing efforts with its industry partners exploring other types of propellants.

"I think there is a myriad of options," Adm Benedict said. "We are trying to insure we are looking at [research and development] from the physical-technical standpoints and we are in communications with navy leadership in terms of the potential cost impacts."

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