The Navy revealed today that last month the service successfully loaded two life-extended Trident D5 missiles into a ballistic missile submarine.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran noted March 8 in his written testimony submitted to the House Armed Services Committee that this was the first time the service loaded the life-extended missiles on the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. This is a "significant milestone in this life-extension program," he wrote.
"We are modernizing and extending the life of the D5 missile from 25 years to 50 years through sound engineering analysis and investment, and also modernizing the strategic weapon system that will be carried on the next generation SSBN, the COLUMBIA class," according to Moran.
Inside the Navy reported in February the Navy is beginning to assess what would replace the Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missile because the Columbia class will outlast the munition.
Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, strategic systems program director, told ITN Feb. 15 after his presentation at an industry conference in Arlington, VA, that Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley green-lighted Benedict's office to begin an early conceptual phase of a fleet ballistic missile replacement. Stackley is currently serving as acting Navy secretary.
"It's something that we have to face at some point in the future," Benedict said. "There's still a large time band on when that might be. It's appropriate to start thinking about that now, start asking ourselves questions, start looking at the early upfront onsets as well as threats and any additional requirements."