The U.S. Navy has awarded Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. a $191 million contract for the Trident II weapons system as the Pentagon upgrades its nuclear weapons arsenal. The contract includes technical support and research into the guidance, navigation and control applications for the U.S. and British D5 MK6 systems, the Department of Defense announced Friday. Work, which is expected to be completed by July 31, 2022, will be performed at Draper’s plant in Cambridge, Mass., as well as Clearwater, Fla., Pittsfield, Mass., and McKinney, Texas. If all options on the deal are exercised, the total value of the contract would be $391.8 million and add a year onto the contracted work period.
Draper has designed and supported the guidance system for all fleet ballistic missiles since the program began in 1955. The Trident II D5, named for the three-pronged spear of mythology’s King Neptune, was developed by Lockheed Martin. The Draper Lab contract extends the life of the D5 missiles to the year 2040 by replacing obsolete components with commercial off-the-shelf hardware. The first flight test of the guidance system was in early 2012 aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee. In February 2018, Draper signed a $132.9 million contract for Trident’s failure verification, test, repair and recertification of inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies and electronic modules for the U.S. and British systems.
The Trident II Weapons System is the U.S. and British’s primary submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missile fleet. They are launched from the Navy’s 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and from four British Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic-missile submarines. These vessels together carry about half of all U.S. strategic thermonuclear warheads. They are also planned for the Navy’s future Columbia-class submarine. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021, with the vessels expected to enter service in 2031. Draper has been obligated $189.5 million from fiscal 2019 Navy weapons procurement funds and $1.5 million in United Kingdom funds, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.