The U.S. Navy loaded the first two life-extended Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles on an Ohio-class submarine last month, a service official said March 8.

The event was a “significant milestone” for the nuclear-armed missile, said Adm. Bill Moran, vice chief of naval operations, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on nuclear deterrence.

Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile. Photo: Lockheed Martin
A Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Navy declined to say which submarine received the missiles or where the loading occurred. The Navy typically loads D-5s at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia and Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state.

The Navy and D-5 prime contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT] are replacing aging parts on the 44-foot-long missile to double its 25-year life to 50 years. Each of the Navy’s 14 Ohio submarines can carry up to 20 D-5s.

The life extension will allow the missile to serve the remainder of the Ohio fleet’s service life and the early tenure of the future Columbia-class submarine, the Ohio’s replacement. The Navy, meanwhile, is in the early stages of exploring what an eventual D-5 successor will look like (Defense Daily, Sept. 21).