Four U.S. Navy TRIDENT I C4 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems-Missiles & Space Operations, Sunnyvale, Calif., were successfully test fired from the USS OHIO (SSBN 726) in a launch operation conducted yesterday on the Atlantic test range east of Cape Canaveral off the Florida coast.

The missile flight tests were the latest in an ongoing series of operational evaluation tests (OT-III) conducted by the U.S. Navy over the past four decades to monitor the safety, reliability, readiness and performance of the TRIDENT I C4 Strategic Weapon System (SWS). The TRIDENT I C4 Strategic Weapon System will be retired from strategic service in 2005 in favor of the more modern, accurate and supportable TRIDENT II D5 missile system, which is currently deployed in the Atlantic fleet. The four missiles represented the 218th through 221st test firings of the TRIDENT I C4 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM).

“These missile tests demonstrate to our adversaries, who ever they might be, that the U.S. continues to maintain a credible, robust strategic nuclear deterrent, ” said Tom Morton, vice president, strategic missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

TRIDENT I C4 is a three-stage, solid propellant, inertial-guided submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is 34 ft in long, 74 inches in diameter, weighs 73,000 lbs., has a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles, and carries up to eight Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs).

Operating in the Pacific Ocean aboard six Ohio-class TRIDENT I SSBNs, TRIDENT I C4 missiles are the oldest, continuously operated, Fleet Ballistic Missiles ever deployed by the U.S. Navy. Designed initially for a ten-year service life, these missiles continue, after 22 years of service, to meet or exceed all system performance and mission requirements. TRIDENT I C4 missiles will continue to serve the nation’s strategic deterrence needs for another four years.

The Navy selected Lockheed Martin Space Systems as its prime missile system manufacturer in 1955. Since then, the FBM team has produced the POLARIS (A1), POLARIS (A2), POLARIS (A3), POSEIDON (C3), TRIDENT I (C4) and the TRIDENT II (D5) missile. Between 1976 and 1986 Space Systems produced 570 C4 missiles for the U. S. Navy.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full range of space launch systems, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics and technology services.


For more information about Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, see the website.