As is known, the characteristics of the UGM-96A Trident I rocket were limited by the need to fit into the dimensions of the second-generation SSBN missile mines of the previously armed UGM-73 Poseidon C-3 SLBMs. During the design of the third generation boat for it, the standard size of the “D” missile shaft was adopted - with a diameter of 2,4 m and a length of 14,8 m. At the same time, the hull of the Ohio-class missile carriers was much larger, which in the long term allowed to equip already built boats new, much heavier and longer missiles. The top of the rocket shaft is closed with a durable steel lid with a hydraulic drive, which ensures the sealing of the shaft, designed for the same pressure as the robust case
Despite the significant increase in the launch range of UGM-96A Trident I SLBMs relative to previous UGM-73 Poseidon C-3 and UGM-27C Polaris A-3 missiles, the US SLBMs that were in service in the 80s were still inferior to the ICBMs based LGM-30G Minuteman III and LGM-118A Peacekeeper. In the late 70s, Lockheed Corporation began developing a rocket weighing about 60 tons in order to reduce the delay in launch distance from ballistic missiles available to the Strategic Aviation Command. Increasing the firing range made it possible to conduct combat patrols of SSBNs in areas directly adjacent to American territorial waters, outside the coverage area of the Soviet fleet and anti-submarine aviation. This increased the combat stability of submarine missile carriers and made it possible to abandon the use of advanced basing points abroad. In addition, when designing a new missile, which received the designation UGM-133A Trident II (D5), the task was to increase the casting weight, which made it possible to equip it with a large number of warheads with individual guidance and means of breaking missile defense.
Initially, the new SLBM was planned to unify the LGM-118А Peacekeeper with the ICBM as much as possible. However, the calculations showed that in the case of creating a “single” rocket, it would not be possible to achieve the planned characteristics, and ultimately refused to unify. The time and resources allocated to researching the possibility of creating a unified ballistic missile suitable for placement on submarines, railway cars and underground mines were actually wasted, which adversely affected the timing of the design and development of the promising SLBMs.
Launch of the UGM-133A Trident II SLBM from the test site of the Eastern Missile Range
Flight trials of the Trident - 2 rocket began in 1987. For this, the launch pad LC-46 of the Eastern Missile test site on Cape Canaveral was originally used. Hence, in the past, trial launches of the Poseidon and Trident - 1 SLBMs were carried out.
Submarine Launch UGM-133A Trident II
In the spring of 1989, the first test launch from the submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) took place. This ninth in the Ohio-type SSBN series, which entered service in the US Navy in December 1988, was originally built for a new missile system.
USS Tennessee SSBN (SSBN-734)
In total, 19 launches were made from the ground test site before being put into service, and 9 launches were launched from the submarine. In the 1990, the UGM-133A Trident II SLBM (the Trident D5 designation is also used) was officially adopted. Compared to the Trident - 1, the new rocket has become significantly larger and heavier. The length increased from 10,3 to 13,53 m, diameter from 1,8 to 2,3 m. Mass increased by approximately 70% - to 59,08 t. At the same time, the launch range at the minimum combat load was 11 300 km (range with a maximum load - 7800 kg), and the throwable Weight - 2800 kg.
UGM-133A Trident II SLBM
The first and second stage engines were jointly created by Hercules Inc and Thiokol, which already had experience in designing and producing engines for the Trident - 1. Cases of engines of the first and second stages are made according to the technology, developed in earlier models of rockets, of carbon-epoxy composite. The third stage engine is developed by United Technologies Corp. and was originally made of Kevlar yarn with a sizing of epoxy resin. But after 1988, it also began to be made from carbon fiber and epoxy.
Solid fuel engines use composite fuel consisting of: HMX, ammonium perchlorate, polyethylene glycol and aluminum powder. Binding components are: nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. To reduce the overall length of the rocket in the engines of all three stages, recessed nozzles are used, with inserts made of thermo-wear-resistant carbon composite material. Pitch and yaw control is performed by tilting the nozzles. To reduce aerodynamic drag when moving in dense layers of the atmosphere, a telescopic aerodynamic needle tested on the Trident - 1 is used.
Structurally, it is a sliding bar of 7 parts with a disc at the end. Before the start, the bar is in the folded state in the head fairing in a niche of the third-stage engine. Its extension occurs with the help of a powder accumulator of pressure after the rocket leaves the water and starts the engine of the first stage. The use of aerodynamic needles has significantly increased the range of the rocket.
When launching the Trident - 2 rocket, traditionally for American strategic missile carriers, the “dry” launch method was used - from a missile shaft, without filling it with water. The launch principle of the Trident-2 is no different from the Trident-1. Missiles can be launched at intervals of 15 — 20 seconds from a depth of no more than 30 meters, at a boat’s speed of about 5 nodes and waves of the sea to 6 points. Theoretically, the entire Ohio-class SSBN missile cannon can be fired in one salvo, but in practice such shots have never been fired.
The control system "Trident - 2" during the entire flight is under the control of the onboard computer. The position in space is determined using gyrostabilized platforms and astrocorrection apparatus. The autonomous control equipment produces the generation of commands to change the angle of the thrust vector of the engines, enters the data into the blocks of undermining the warheads, cocks them and determines the moment of separation of the combat units. In the propulsion unit of the dilution stage there are four gas generators and 16 “slotted” nozzles. To disperse the stage of breeding and stabilize it in pitch and yaw, four nozzles are designed, located on the upper part, and four on the lower part. The remaining nozzles are designed to create a roll control effort. Due to better targeting of combat units and due to an increase in the efficiency of the SSBN navigation system, the CEP for the Mk.5 units is 130 m. According to US data, if the NAVSTAR satellite navigation system is used in the pointing process, more than half of the combat units fall into a circle with a 90 diameter The UGM-133A Trident II SLBM can carry up to 8 warheads equipped with WNNXX 88 thermonuclear warheads or 475 14 warheads with 76 warheads.
Platform with mock warheads W88
Compared to the Mk.4 combat units used in the Trident-1 rocket, the accuracy of the Mk.5 units has increased approximately 2,5-3 times. That, in turn, has significantly increased the likelihood of defeating “hardened” (according to American terminology) targets, such as: mine launchers, underground command posts and arsenals. When firing at rocket mines, the use of the so-called “two-by-one” method is envisaged - and at the same time two warheads with different missiles are aimed at one target. According to American data, the probability of destroying a “hardened” target is no less than 0,95. Considering that the fleet ordered warheads with W400 warheads around 88, most of the Trident - 2 missiles were equipped with Mk.4 warheads with W76 warheads, which were previously used on the UGM-96A Trident I warheads. The silos with the “two by one” method are estimated not higher than 0,85 - which is associated with a lower charge power.
In addition to the US Navy, the Trident - 2 missiles are in service with the British Royal Navy. Originally, the British planned to arm their Vanguard submarine missile carriers with Trident - 1 missiles. However, in 1982, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher appealed to US President Ronald Reagan to consider the possibility of delivering only Trident-2 missiles developed at that time. I must say that the British have not lost, making a bet on more advanced SLBMs.
British SSBN HMS Vanguard
The Vanguard-type SSBNs replaced the Resolution submarines. The lead British missile submarine HMS Vanguard was laid in September 1986 of the year - that is, even before the trials of the Trident - 2 missile began. Her entry into the Royal Navy took place in August 1993. The fourth and last boat in the series was transferred to the fleet in November 1999 of the year. Each Vanguard strategic missile carrier has 16 missile silos. Missiles purchased by the UK are equipped with their own developed combat units. According to the media, they were created with American support and are structurally close to the W76 thermonuclear warheads, but differ from them in the possibility of stepwise adjustment of the power of the explosion: 1, 5, 10 and 100 CT. Maintenance and modernization of missiles during the operation carried out by American experts. Thus, the nuclear potential of Great Britain is largely controlled by the United States.
Relatively recently, the British edition of the Sunday Times published information about the incident that took place in June 2016. A missile without a nuclear warhead during the control test was launched with the British SSBN HMS Vengeance. According to Saindi Times, after the launch of the Trident - 2 SLBM "lost its course", rushing towards the United States, which "caused a monstrous panic." The rocket fell off the coast of Florida, but the British leadership tried to hide it from the public. However, after the incident became public, it was used by the British Department of Defense as an argument at a hearing in parliament, where the issue of allocating funds for the modernization of the British nuclear potential was discussed.
In total, Lockheed Martin Corporation in the period from 1989 to 2007 put 425 Trident - 2 missiles of the US Navy and 58 missiles of the British Navy in the year. The most "fresh" batch of 108 missiles transferred to the customer in 2008 — 2012. The cost of this contract was $ 15 billion, which, based on one rocket, gives $ 139 million.
Due to the fact that the Trident - 2 rocket, designed in the middle of 80-x, is in fact the basis of the naval component of the American strategic nuclear forces, and will be in this status for at least the next 10 years, a program of its comprehensive modernization has been developed. In particular, according to expert estimates, it is necessary to create new inertial and astrocorrection equipment on a modern elemental basis, which requires the development of high-speed microprocessors that are resistant to the effects of ionizing radiation. In addition, in the near future, rockets built in the 90-ies will need to replace solid fuel, which requires more effective formulations that can increase the drop weight.
At the beginning of the 2000-x, admirals in the framework of the Enhanced Effectiveness program (eng. Increased efficiency) requested in Congress means to create new warheads with a W76 warhead. A prospective maneuvering combat unit was to be equipped with a GPS receiver, a simplified inertial guidance system and control on the final part of the trajectory using aerodynamic surfaces. This would allow to correct the trajectory of the combat unit during movement in the dense layers of the atmosphere, and to improve accuracy. However, in 2003, congressmen rejected the allocation of funds for this program and the military no longer returned to it.
In the framework of the Prompt Global Strike concept (in English, Fast Global Impact), Lockheed Martin Corporation in 2007 offered to create an SLBM variant designated CTM (Conventional TRIDENT Modification). It was envisaged that, by equipping the missile with conventional warheads adjusted at the atmospheric part of the trajectory, it would solve non-nuclear tasks. The command of the Navy hoped with the help of a new combat unit, corrected at the atmospheric sector according to GPS, to get a QUO about 9 meters, which would allow solving both tactical and strategic tasks without using nuclear weapons. At congressional hearings in 2008, the Navy requested $ 200 million for this program, emphasizing the possibility of using conventional warheads to solve "anti-terrorism" tasks. The American admirals suggested replacing on each of the Ohio-class SSBNs that are on combat patrols, two missiles with nuclear warheads on missiles with conventional combat units. The total cost of converting 24 missiles as of 2008 for the year was approximately $ 530 million. Technical details of the program were not disclosed, but it is known that research was conducted on the creation of two types of warheads. To defeat highly protected targets, it was planned to create an armor-piercing high-explosive warhead with the possibility of an air blast, and a variant of a kinetic action warhead in the form of a tungsten boom was also considered. It is quite obvious that such combat units are primarily intended for targeted strikes against command bunkers, communications centers and mine launchers of ICBMs, and excuses about the “fight against terrorism” are needed to calm public opinion.
The program to create an SLBM with conventional high-precision warheads has been criticized by a number of American experts dealing with international security issues. According to these experts, launching from a submarine conducting a combat patrol of a ballistic missile could provoke the onset of a nuclear conflict. This view is based on the fact that early warning systems in Russia and China are not capable of determining conventional or nuclear warheads carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile. In addition, the ability of conventional combat units to destroy strategic objectives has eroded the line between nuclear and conventional weapons, since the conventional Trident, which is highly likely to destroy ICBM mines, is suitable for a disarming strike. As a result, Congress rejected funding for the CTM program. However, Lockheed Martin Corporation, with the support of the Navy in 2009, continued, in an initiative, research aimed at developing precision-guided combat units designed for the conventional Trident. In particular, in the framework of the LETB-2 test cycle (eng. Life Extension Test Bed-2 - Life Cycle Extension Test Program - 2), the possibility was exploited of using the modified Mk.4 warheads dismantled from the dismantled UGM- 96A Trident I.
The line of SLBMs that were in service with the US Navy
"Trident - 2" is the pinnacle of the evolution of American SLBMs. On the example of this rocket, it is clearly seen how, simultaneously with the increase in range, throw weight and accuracy, the weight and dimensions grew, which ultimately required the creation of third generation Ohio-type submarines, currently leaving the basis of the American naval component of strategic nuclear forces. It is very significant to make a comparison of the "Trident - 2" with SLBMs produced in the USSR / Russia, France and China.
The most sophisticated in terms of the weight and range fired by a Soviet missile, designed to be armed with the SSBN and brought to mass production, was the P-29РМ. The official adoption of the rocket, developed in the machine-building design bureau (now JSC “State Rocket Center named after academician V.P. Makeev”), took place in 1986 year. Liquid three-stage submarine-launched ballistic missile of the D-9RM complex was intended for missile carriers of the 667BDRM avenue with 16 launch shafts. The P-29PM missile could carry four units with charges of 200 kt or ten units with 100 kt warheads. With a weight of 2800 kg, the launch range is 8 300 km (11500 km - with a minimum combat load). Thus, with the same drop weight, the firing range of the P-29PM is higher than that of the Trident - 2. In this case, the starting mass of the P-29RM is 40,3 t against 59,1 t in the American SLBM. Liquid rockets are known to have an advantage in energy perfection, but they are more expensive to operate and sensitive to mechanical damage. Due to the use of toxic fuels (asymmetric dimethylhydrazine) and caustic oxidizer (nitric tetroxide), which ignites combustible substances, in case of leakage of these components there is a high risk of accidents. For launching Soviet liquid SLBMs, it is necessary to fill the mines with water, which increases the pre-launch preparation time and unmasks the boat with characteristic noise.
In the 2007 years in Russia, the SL-P-29RMU2 “Sineva” was adopted. The development of this rocket was largely forced, and is associated with the expiration of the service life of the P-39 missiles and with problems in the development of new Bark and Bulava complexes. According to open sources, the starting mass of the P-29RMU2 and the weight to be dropped remain the same. But at the same time, resistance to the effects of an electromagnetic pulse has increased, new means of overcoming missile defense and combat blocks with improved accuracy have been installed. In 2014, the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant OJSC began mass production of the P-29RMU2.1 “Liner” missiles, which carries four individual-targeting combat units with a power of 500 kt with a QUO about 250 m.
Soviet submariners and designers were well aware of the shortcomings of liquid-fuel submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and therefore repeated attempts were made to create safer and more reliable solid-fuel missiles in operation. In 1980, a boat of the 667AM project with 12 mines loaded with two-stage solid-propelled SLBM P-31 was accepted for trial operation. The missile with a launch weight of 26800 kg had a maximum range of 4200 kg, a throw-over weight of 450 kg and was equipped with a 1 Mt warhead, with a CWD - 1,5 km. A rocket with such data would look decent in 60-70-years, but for the beginning of 80-s it was already morally obsolete. Since the first Soviet solid-propellant SLBM was significantly inferior in all respects to the American Polaris A-3 adopted for service in the USA in 1964, it was decided not to launch the mass production of the P-31 rocket, and in 1990 it was removed from service.
In the first half of the 70-x in the machine-building design bureau, the development of a Soviet three-stage SLBM of intercontinental range began. Since the Soviet chemical and radioelectronic industries were not able to create solid fuel recipes and guidance systems similar in characteristics to the American ones, a much larger mass and dimensions were initially used for designing a Soviet rocket than Trident - 2. The D-19 missile system with the P-39 rocket was put into service in May 1983. The rocket with a launch weight of 90 t, had a length of 16,0 m and a diameter of 2,4 m. Throwing weight - 2550 kg, firing range - 8250 km (with a minimum load 9300 kg). The X-Rum-39 SLBMs carried 10 warheads with 100 CT thermonuclear warheads, with the KVO 500. That is, with such a large mass and dimensions, the P-39 did not have superiority over the much more compact American Trident-2 rocket.
Moreover, for a very large and heavy rocket, the P-39 had to create “unparalleled” SSBNs, 941 Ave. The boat with an underwater displacement 48 000 t had a length of 172,8 m, width - 23,3 m and carried 20 missile silos. The maximum submerged speed is 25 units, the working depth is up to 400 m. It was originally planned to build 12 boats of 941 Ave., however, due to the extremely high cost and due to the collapse of the USSR, the fleet received only 6 heavy strategic missile submarine cruisers. Currently, all TRPKSN of this type removed from the combat fleet. First of all, it was connected with the development of the warranty resource for the SLBM P-39 and the cessation of the production of new missiles. In 1986 year in KB them. Makeeva began to develop a promising SLBM P-XNUMHUTTH. It was assumed that a new missile with a launch weight of about 39 t and a weight of more than 80 kg will carry 3000 thermonuclear warheads up to 10 kt and have a range of 200 10 kilometers. However, in the middle of 000-x due to the collapse of the economic and technological ties and the cessation of funding, work on this rocket turned.
In 1998, the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering, in place of the almost finished SLBM R-39UTH, began the creation of a lighter R-30 “Bulava-30” missile designed for use as part of the D-30 complex on the new XXNUM Ave. According to information published in the Russian media, the Bulava SLBM, despite the not very favorable statistics of test launches, has been adopted. A three-stage solid propellant with a mass of 955 t, a length of 36,8 m and a diameter of 12,1 m has a stated range of up to 2 km. Drop weight - 9300 kg. Most sources say that the Bulava carries 1150 warheads with an 6 power of kt, while the CWO carries the 150 m. Frankly speaking, the characteristics of the Bulava against the data of American SLBMs are not impressive. The new Russian missile has characteristics comparable to the UGM-150A Trident I SLBM, which was put into service in the distant 96 year.
The closest thing to the "Trident - 2" approached the French with its M51.2 SLBM. The French rocket with a launch mass of 56 t, 12 m long and 2,3 m diameter has a firing range of up to 10 000 km and carries 6 self-guided combat units with 100 CT warheads. But at the same time, the QUO is inferior to the Americans approximately two times.
Active development of solid-propellant SLBMs is conducted in China. According to open sources in the 2004, the JL-2 (Julan-2) missile, which is part of the ammunition of the SSBN, 094 Avenue Jin, entered into service with the Chinese Navy. Each boat of this project has 12 rocket mines. In China, before 2010, 6 boats were built, which outwardly and according to their data strongly resemble Soviet SSBNs, etc. 667 BDR. According to unconfirmed reports, the JL-2 rocket has a launch range of about 10000 km. Its mass is about 20 t, length - 11 m. The declared payload is 700 kg. The missile allegedly carries an 3 combat unit each with a power of 100 kt, with a QUO about 500 m. However, a number of American military experts have doubts about the reliability of the data presented in Chinese sources. The firing range of the JL-2 is likely to be greatly overestimated, and the small throw-in weight allows the rocket to be equipped only with a one-piece warhead.
From a comparison with other missiles, it follows that the UGM-133A Trident II (D5) SLBM, which was put into service in the 1990 year, still surpasses all similar-purpose missiles built outside the United States. Thanks to the high-tech backlog and the use of the most advanced achievements in the field of materials science, chemistry and solid-state radiation-resistant electronics, the Americans managed to create a very successful rocket that did not lose reserves for further improvement even after 28 years after the start of mass production. However, not everything in the Trident 2 biography was perfect. Thus, due to the reliability problems of the safety-control automatics of warheads, the very expensive LEP program (the Life Extension Program) was launched in 2000, the purpose of which was to extend the life cycle of a part of the available WNNXX thermonuclear warheads and improve them e-filling. According to the plan, the program was designed to 2000 year. American nuclear physicists have criticized W76 for a number of inherent flaws: the low power output for such a mass and size, high vulnerability to neutron radiation of electronic components and fissile materials. After the elimination of defects, the upgraded warhead was designated the W2021-I. In the course of implementing the modernization program, the service life of the charge was extended, its radiation resistance was increased, and a new fuse was installed, which allows for in-depth detonation. In addition to the warhead itself, the warhead under the designation Mk.76А has undergone refinement. Thanks to the modernization of the blasting system and more precise control of the position of the combat unit in space, in the case of a flight, a command is sent to an earlier high-altitude blasting of the warhead.
Modernization of warheads, warheads, control systems and replacement of solid fuel must ensure that the Trident - 2 is in the ranks before the 2042 year. To this end, in the period from 2021 to 2027, the fleet is scheduled to transfer 300 updated missiles to the fleet. The total value of the contract entered into with Lockheed Martin is $ 541 million. Simultaneously with the modernization of the Trident D-5, the development of a new missile, previously designated as Trident E-6, was given the go-ahead.
It is reported that the command of the US Navy has expressed interest in equipping part of the upgraded SLBMs with high-precision warheads with a capacity of no more than 10 кт, which can be undermined after being dug into the rocky soil. Despite the reduction in the power of warheads, this, by analogy with the B-61-11 free-fall aviation thermonuclear bomb, should increase the ability to destroy highly engineering-protected targets.
Despite doubts about the 100% performance of warheads, the UGM-133A Trident II SLBM as a whole has proven to be a very reliable product. During test checks of control equipment and detailed examination of missiles removed from combat duty conducted in the naval arsenals of Bangor (Washington) and Kings Bay (Georgia) bases, more than 96% of missiles are fully operational and able to perform combat missions with guarantee. This conclusion is confirmed by the control and training launches, regularly carried out with submarines of the Ohio type. Currently, more than 160 Trident - 2 missiles are launched from American and British atomic submarines. According to the US Department of Defense, these tests, as well as regular test launches of the LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM, carried out from the Wandnberg missile test range, indicate a fairly high combat readiness of US strategic nuclear forces.
To be continued ...