An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class fleet ballistic-missile submarine USS Maryland off the coast of Florida during a test launch in 2016. Photo by John Kowalski/U.S. Navy
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Space was awarded a $559.6 million contract for production and system support of submarine-launched Trident II D5 missiles.
The contract, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, covers Trident II D5 missile production for the U.S. and U.K. navies, both of which carry the missiles on their Ohio-class and Vanguard-class submarines.
Work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2023, at several locations, including Lockheed Martin's Space headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., as well as Magna, Utah, and Cape Canaveral, Fla.
United Kingdom funds in the amount of $137.8 million will be obligated on this award, in addition to Navy fiscal 2019 weapons procurement funds in the amount of $412,000 and other fiscal 2019 procurement Navy funds in the amount of $9.7 million. No funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Trident II D5s aboard Ohio-class vessels represent the sea-based part of the U.S. nuclear triad, while those on the U.K. Vanguard-class vessels are the nation's main method for delivering nuclear weapons.
The Trident II D5, which was first deployed in 1990, followed the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident I C4 programs. It is scheduled to remain in service until at least 2027.
The missile, which weighs 130,000 pounds, is a three-stage solid-propellant rocket with a maximum range of 4,600 nautical miles, according to the U.S. Navy.
The U.S. Navy operates 14 of these ballistic missile submarines, each of which can carry as many as 20 Trident II missiles aboard Ohio-class vessels. They also are on four British Vanguard-class submarines, which can carry 16 missiles each.
The Trident II D5 missile has achieved 167 successful test launches, according to Lockheed Martin.