UGM-133 Trident II

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UGM-133 Trident II
Trident II missile image.jpg
A Trident II launch from a submerged submarine.
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1990
Used by United States Navy
Royal Navy
Production history
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Unit cost $30,900,000
Produced 1983
Weight 129,000 lb (59,000 kg)
Length 44 ft (13 m)
Diameter (2.11 m) (1st stage)
Warhead Multiple W88 or W76 nuclear warheads
Various (see W88 and W76)

Engine Three solid-propellant rocket motors; first & second stage - Thiokol/Hercules solid-fueled rocket; third stage - United Technologies Corp. solid-fueled rocket
with full load 7,840 kilometres (4,230 nmi);
with reduced load approx. 7,000 mi (11,300 km) (exact is classified)
Speed Approximately 13,000 mph (21,000 km/h) (Mach 17)(terminal phase)
Accuracy 90–120 m (300–390 ft) CEP
Submarine-launched ballistic missile(SLBM)

UGM-133 Trident II, or Trident D5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California, and deployed with the US and Royal Navies. It was first deployed in 1990, and is still in service.

Trident II was designed to be more sophisticated than Trident I (retired in 2005[1]), and have a greater range and payload capacity. It is accurate enough to be used as a first strike weapon. All three stages of the Trident II are made of graphite epoxy, making the missile much lighter than its predecessor. Trident II missiles are carried by US Ohio and British Vanguard-class submarines. USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) was the first submarine to be armed with Trident IIs. Trident II missiles are currently carried by fourteen Ohio class and four Vanguard class SSBNs, with 24 missiles on each Ohio class and 16 missiles on each Vanguard class. The four oldest Ohio class submarines were withdrawn from the strategic role and converted to SSGNs beginning in 2002, capable of firing up to 154 Tomahawk missiles each and supporting SEAL operations. There have been 148 successful test flights [2] of the D5 missile since 1989, with the most recent being from an Ohio-class submarine in September 2013.

The development contract for Trident II was issued in October 1983. The first Trident II launch occurred in January 1987, and the first submarine launch was attempted by Tennessee, the first D-5 ship of the Ohio class, in March 1989. The launch attempt failed because the plume of water following the missile rose to greater height than expected, resulting in water being in the nozzle when the motor ignited. Once the problem was understood relatively simple changes were very quickly made but the problem delayed the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of Trident II until March 1990.[3]

It is estimated that 540 missiles will be built by 2013. The Trident D5LE (life-extension) version will remain in service until 2042.[4]


  • Purpose: Strategic Nuclear Deterrence
  • Unit Cost: US$ 30.9 million
  • Range: Varies, with full load 7,840 kilometres (4,230 nmi), with reduced load estimated 11,300 kilometres (6,100 nmi)
  • Maximum speed: > 6,000 metres per second (22,000 km/h; 13,000 mph).[3]
  • Guidance system: Inertial, with Star-sighting; GPS experiments done but not deployed.
  • CEP: Requirement: 90–120 metres (300–390 ft).[3] That demonstrated by flight tests is classified, but rumored to be significantly better.
  • Warhead (in USA usage only): nuclear MIRV up to eight W88 (475 kt) warheads (Mark 5) or eight W76 (100 kt) warheads (Mark 4). The Trident II can carry up to 14 MIRV warheads[5][6] but START I reduces this to eight and SORT reduces this yet further to four or five. New START provides for further reductions in deployed launch vehicles, limiting the number of Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) to 288, and the number of deployed SLBM warheads to a total of 1,152. In 2014, another START Treaty will reduce the number of deployed SLBMs to 240.[7]

Submarines currently armed with Trident II missiles[edit]

 United States Navy
 Royal Navy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Popejoy, Mary. "USS Alabama Offloads Last of C4 Trident Missiles". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Parsch, Andreas. "UGM-133". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Trident D5". Missiles of the World. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  5. ^ "Lockheed Martin UGM-133 Trident II". Retrieved december 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Lockheed UGM-96A Trident I C4/UGM-113A Trident II D5". Retrieved december 12, 2013. 
  7. ^