UGM-133 Trident II

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Product Type:

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

No more new missiles planned.
Focus is on upgrades and sustainment.

Prime Contractor:

Lockheed Martin Corporation

The Trident II D5 Ballistic Missile

About the Trident II:

The Lockheed Martin UGM-133 Trident II (D5) is a three-stage, solid propellant, inertially guided submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Trident II missiles are deployed in 14 nuclear-powered SSBN 726 Ohio Class submarines (each carrying 24 missiles) as well as in British Vanguard-class submarines. The missile was first deployed in March 1990 and deliveries to the U.S. Navy were completed in 2007.

The Trident II provides greater range, payload capability, and accuracy than the older Trident I (C4) missile. All three stages of the Trident II are made of lighter, stronger, stiffer graphite epoxy, whose integrated structure means considerable weight saving. The missile's range is increased by the aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that reduces frontal drag by about 50%.

Trident II is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. When the missile attains sufficient distance from the submarine, the first stage motor ignites, the aerospike extends and the boost stage begins. Within about two minutes (after the third stage motor has kicked in), the missile is traveling in excess of 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) per second. Following third-stage motor separation, the missile deploys its reentry vehicles. The missile has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and is capable of carrying multiple W76-Mk4/Mk4A or W88-Mk5 reentry vehicles.

According to Lockheed Martin, from 1989 through 2017, the U.S. Navy has conducted 161 successful and consecutive test launches of the Trident II D5 missile, a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.

It is expected that the Trident II missile will be deployed through 2042. The missile will be the intial payload for the future Columbia Class submarine, which is being developed to replace the SSBN 726 Ohio Class. The Navy is funding a Trident II sustainment program called D5 Life Extension (D5LE) to ensure that missiles are upgraded and modernized. The first life-extended D5LE missiles were fielded in early 2017.


The mission of the Trident II (D5) ballistic missile is to deter nuclear war by means of assured retaliation in response to a major attack on the United States or its allies, and to enhance nuclear stability by providing no incentive for enemy first strike. The Trident II (D5) missile has the ability to precisely attack time-critical, high value, fixed targets. The importance of this program as a key component to the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad was confirmed by the President and Congress in the New START Treaty ratification.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - DoD Trident II Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides historic Trident II spending figures and quantities as well as a 5-Year Budget Forecast.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Lockheed Martin Corp.

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