$869M for USA’s FY06 Trident D-5 Nuclear SLBM Production and Support
Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA received an $869 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-award-fee contract from the US Navy to provide funding for fiscal 2006 Trident II (D5) Missile Production and Deployed System Support. The Trident D-5 is a very accurate submarine-launched nuclear missile, and can be found on the US Navy’s Ohio Class SSBNs and the Royal Navy’s Vanguard Class SSBNs. It is the most survivable, capable, and important facet of these nations’ nuclear deterrent forces.
So, where is all this money going? Didn’t America already buy the required missiles back in the 1980s-1990s, when it deployed the submarines?
GlobalSecurity.org notes many of these efforts trace back to the Trident II D-5 life extension (LE) program, which is required now that the service life of their Ohio Class SSBN submarines is being extended. This has a number of spinouts and effects.
New Guidance & Electronics. The guidance system and missile electronics must be replaced due to aging and obsolescence issues. The Mk6 LE guidance system is a replacement for the aging Mk6 guidance systems, which used 1980s technology that isn’t in production any more. Nor is it really a good idea to try integrating 2005 technologies with 1980s technologies and designs. The Next Generation Guidance (NGG) program aims to develop the Mk6 LE as a modern replacement that can achieve the same or better performance as the guidance systems that are breaking down. This requires the development of precision instruments, sensors, and radiation hardened architectures, in order to adapt the underlying commercial technologies for use in a must-not-malfunction nuclear weapons system. Similar efforts are underway for the missile’s electronics generally.
More Missiles. A missile inventory shortfall would occur starting in approximately FY 2014 when the oldest Ohio Class submarine would have originally been decommissioned. Avoiding that problem requires an additional 115 Trident II D-5 missiles, revising the total D-5 procurement objective from 425 to 540, as the 30-year service life procurement objective of 425 missiles does not support the additional flight tests required. Production is therefore expected to continue at a rate of 5-12 missiles per year. This ties into the need for…
Ongoing Availability of Key Components. The US Navy is currently executing a low rate production continuity procurement strategy for critical components of Trident II D-5 missiles – like the rocket motor sets. These critical components are being procured at their minimum rate to sustain component quality and maintain the supplier base. The production continuity procurement strategy has been extensively reviewed and approved by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Congress and has been in execution for nearly 15 years.
This information adds a great deal of perspective to the recent Trident II D-5 contracts that DID has covered on November 18, 2005 ($215.6 million for gyro navigators, guidance support and improvement, weapons control system support and repair, and special technical investigations), and December 15, 2005 ($101.1 million to further develop the MK6 LE).
Work on this FY 2006 Trident II D-5 production & sustainment contract will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (39%); Magna, UT (12%); Kings Bay, GA (11%); Cocoa Beach, FL (12%); Bangor, WA (8%); Gainesville, VA (3%); Kings Port, TN (1%), Rockville, MD (1%), Lancaster, PA (2%); and other locations (11%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs in Arlington, VA (N00030-05-C-0100, Mod. No. PZ0001).