Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Space is being awarded two contract modifications worth a combined $90.4 million for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile production and support of already deployed systems.
The work will take place in both domestic and overseas locations and is expected to run through Sep. 2023. Navy fiscal weapons procurement and research and development funding totaling $90.4 million were obligated upon award.
The Trident II D5 is the submarine launched ballistic missile used by both the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It has intercontinental range and can carry several nuclear warheads using multiple independent reentry vehicles designed to shower a wide target area, greatly increasing each missiles destructive capabilities.
It forms the sea-based leg of the nuclear "triad" for U.S. nuclear forces and is the sole deployed nuclear weapon system in use by the United Kingdom. They form a difficult to detect and destroy undersea deterrent what would ensure retaliation in the face of an enemy first strike against land missile force.
Trident II has a range of over 8000 miles with exact numbers classified and can mount either 475kt or 100 kt warheads. Submarines can use their stealth to move close to enemy shoreline, reducing the missiles flight time and raising the possibility of a surprise first launch.
The Trident II is currently deployed on U.S. Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines. It is planned to be fielded by the future Columbia-class and Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines as well. The Trident Is expected to stay in service with upgrades for decades to come.