A billion-dollar contract to forge the future of naval defense

Lockheed Martin has recently secured an impressive contract worth $1.2 billion to produce Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missiles for both the United States and the United Kingdom.

The announcement of this crucial agreement was made on September 29, underlining the strategic partnership between the two nations in bolstering their naval capabilities.

The contract encompasses not only the production of the Trident II (D5) missiles but also extends to providing essential systems support to the naval forces of both countries. This collaboration is set to strengthen the maritime defense capabilities of these allied nations and contribute to global security.

Trident II (D5): The Apex of Ballistic Missiles

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has revealed that a majority of the work for this contract will be carried out in Florida, with the ambitious goal of completing the project by September 2028. This timeline reflects the commitment of Lockheed Martin and its partners to deliver high-quality, advanced ballistic missiles within a specified timeframe.

The Trident II (D5) Strategic Weapon System (SWS), at the center of this contract, is widely recognized as one of the most advanced ballistic missiles globally. This three-stage weapon boasts cutting-edge technology and exceptional capabilities, making it a cornerstone of modern naval defense.

One of its key features is the capacity to carry multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs) over impressive distances. With a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles or approximately 7,360 kilometers, the Trident II (D5) can strike distant targets with pinpoint accuracy, further enhancing the deterrent power of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Cutting-Edge Navigation System for Unrivaled Precision

What truly sets the Trident II (D5) apart from its counterparts is its state-of-the-art celestially-aided inertial navigation system. This intricate system consists of gyroscopes, accelerometers, a stellar tracker, and a highly sophisticated computer, all working in tandem to ensure precise and effective strikes.

Through this technology, the Trident II (D5) missile is recognized as a vital weapon in maintaining national security and safeguarding international peace.

First deployed in 1990, these formidable missiles weigh 130,000 pounds, each measuring 44 feet in length and boasting an 83-inch diameter. They operate from US Ohio-class submarines, which can carry up to 20 missiles, and UK Vanguard-class submarines, capable of housing 16 missiles.

Recent Triumph: The Trident II (D5) Pacific Test

In a recent demonstration of the missile’s capabilities, the US Navy, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, conducted a test involving an unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile. The test took place in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and served multiple purposes.

An unarmed Trident II D5LE missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) on September 27, 2023. (Image source: DVIDS)

Primarily, the demonstration allowed the crew of the Ohio-class submarine USS Louisiana (SSBN-743) to showcase their readiness and proficiency in operating the strategic weapon system. This readiness is vital in ensuring that the naval forces are well-prepared to respond to potential threats and challenges, thus deterring adversaries from hostile actions.

Furthermore, the test was designed to evaluate and maintain the reliability and precision of the Trident II (D5) ballistic missile. This ongoing assessment is crucial for continually improving the missile’s performance and ensuring its effectiveness in future conflicts.

It’s important to note that during the test, the US Navy took extensive precautions to ensure the safety of the public and the crew. The unarmed Trident II was launched in a manner that kept its trajectory entirely over the sea, minimizing any potential risks to civilians or personnel involved.

A Milestone Acknowledged

Strategic systems program director Johnny Wolfe, Jr. commented on the successful test, stating:

“The completion of [the test] marks a historic milestone in the life of the Trident II D5 weapons system, and provides the SSP team with a tangible reminder of the great responsibility before us.”

This sentiment underscores the gravity of the task at hand and the dedication of those involved in safeguarding national security.


In conclusion, the $1.2-billion contract secured by Lockheed Martin for the production of Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missiles is a pivotal moment in the field of defense technology and international security. This contract signifies the commitment of the United States and the United Kingdom to enhancing their naval capabilities and ensuring the continued effectiveness of their strategic weapon systems.

The Trident II (D5) missile’s advanced features, including its impressive range and celestial-aided navigation system, highlight its significance in modern naval defense. The recent successful demonstration further underscores its reliability and readiness for deployment in critical situations.

As Lockheed Martin embarks on this ambitious project, the highly advanced weapon system remains a symbol of deterrence and defense, ensuring the safety and security of nations in an increasingly complex and uncertain world.