CAMBRIDGE, MA—With the successful launch of two Trident II D5 Life Extension missiles that were equipped with a guidance system developed by Draper, Navy submarine USS Nebraska demonstrated the readiness of the crew and strategic weapon system. The unarmed test missiles were launched as part of Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 28 in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California.
The Trident II Weapons System was initially engineered to serve until 2027. When the Navy announced an initiative to extend its life to 2042, the challenge was to modernize the system and introduce life-extending modular design capabilities while continuing to meet the Navy’s stringent performance and budget requirements.
The test served as a milestone for the design, development and modernization of Draper’s MARK 6 guidance system, which is used in the Trident II, according to Steve DiTullio, Draper’s vice president for strategic systems.
“The successful completion of DASO 28 was not only an important milestone for the USS Nebraska, but also an important demonstration of the reliable and credible leg of its strategic deterrent capability for years to come,” DiTullio said.
As the U.S. Navy’s strategic guidance prime contractor, Draper has designed and supported the guidance system for every fleet ballistic missile deployed since the program began in 1955. DASO 28 serves as another milestone in Draper’s more than 60-year support of the U.S. Navy’s mission by delivering a modernized guidance system for the Trident II D5 missile.
The Trident boost guidance system enables the missiles to operate in harsh environments, including radiation, with extreme accuracy. The missile’s acceleration, velocity and position are calculated based upon precision instruments and the missile is directed to the target without using any external reference aids.