Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM)
Submarine Launched Global Strike Missile (SLGSM)
A new SLBM would be needed in about 2029 to match the schedule for a follow-on SSBN. The Navy has begun studies to examine range-payload requirements and missile size, but no specific plans for a follow-on SLBM at this point other than extending the service life of the Trident D-5.
The Department of Defense does not plan to pursue a common ICBM/SLBM ballistic missile. However, the Air Force and Navy are cooperating in research and development on common technologies related to current and future ballistic missiles - the Guidance Applications Prograrn (GAP), Reentry Systems Applications Program (RSAP), Propulsion Applications Program (PAP), and Technology for the Sustainment of Strategic Systems (TSSS) programs.
The Trident II (D5) system is currently undergoing a life-extension (LE) program to extend the service life of the weapon system until 2042, to match the hull life of the Ohio-class submarine. The life-extension strategy uses a mix of continuing production of the existing design, as well as redesign based on component criticality, expected life, and future supportability and affordability. The D5 Life Extension program will be sufficient for training and transferring domain knowledge to the next generation of inertial guidance and electronics engineers.
However, there is no clear long-term strategy beyond the end of this decade. The combined impact of no clear national strategy, workforce demographics, and no planned development activity beyond circa 2015 will, in the absence of corrective action, put the workforce in serious jeopardy.
Modernization programs such as the LE and Application Programs have been effective in preserving DoD-unique technologies and capabilities as well as critical skills since the early 1990s. The currently planned, post-life-extension environment involves only the incorporation of life-extension alterations into the deployed fleet and sustainment activities. These activities are necessary but not sufficient for long-term maintenance of the S&T, prototype, design, and test skills needed for new development, complex failure investigations, and major technology insertions.
In the next 10 years, a serious loss from the workforce of personnel with SLBM domain knowledge and critical skills can be expected. S&T and development of non-nuclear strategic capability, such as that recommended by the 2003 DSB Summer Study, would attract innovative individuals with the strongest technical capabilities. Continuation of the SLBM Applications Programs will help with DoD-unique critical skills. If these areas are not supported, long-term sustainment of SLBM critical skills and support of future systems will be at serious risk.
Recruitment and retention of a workforce willing to make the long-term commitment necessary to become the leaders and skilled workers who can execute the development challenge for the next-generation SLBM will be difficult. Today, new-hire civil service and industry professionals have difficult career choices to make. Young people want to use the modern skills they have acquired in college, frequently at considerable cost to themselves and their families, in viable careers that provide long-term personal growth and financial opportunity.
This will become increasingly problematic as a significant portion of the current workforce will have to be replaced over the next 10 years. Subsequent to recruiting these replacement workers, their skills will need to be developed so they can be in position to execute the design and development of the next-generation SLBM system.
On 25 August 2003 the Department of the Navy, Strategic Systems Programs [SSP] issued a Request for Information (RFI) to determine the latest plans and programs including technology challenges and proposed solutions for affordable Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (SLIRBMs), including launch considerations and potential payloads. Responses to this RFI were used by the Government to select presentations to be given at the upcoming SLIRBM Technical Exchange or to otherwise be reviewed by the government.
The SLIRBM requirements include: 1. System must be affordable 2. Range - IRBM 3. Missile diameter - 32.5 inches maximum [ie, half that of the current Trident-2] 4. Both conventional and nuclear payloads to be considered 5. Payload weights, diameters and length to be consistent with missile dimensions and range 6. Conventional payload system to have GPS accuracy 7. Missile subsystem hardened to Space Grade 8. Control of collateral damage to be considered (e.g., stage debris control) 9. Intermediate range ballistic missiles, including their payloads, and all of the launcher subsystem except for electronics, are to be contained within the 86 inch diameter TRIDENT missile launch tube 10. Usable missile tube length (for missile, payload and launcher) of 36 feet maximum.
The Strategic Systems Programs (SSP), SLIRBM Integrated Product Team held a SLIRBM Technical Exchange in the SSP Management Center on 22 September 2003. Representatives from Industry (limit, three members per company) are encouraged to attend. At this technical exchange, SSP presented detailed Navy requirements, current and future technology plans, and ongoing programs. In the interest of assisting SSP in developing a comprehensive SLIRBM project plan; industry was encouraged to participate in one or both of two manners: first by presenting information they believe germane at the Technical Exchange, and second, by submitting detailed concept papers explaining their approach and technical solutions for a SLIRBM, including cost drivers. Information relating to IRBM applications on surface ships is also sought. Those offering the first approach submited an abstract of their proposed remarks containing the following information: a) current programs, b) future plans, and c) technology challenges and solutions.
For all inputs: presentations, concept papers, or one-on-one briefings, information that comprehensively addresses the three technical areas of missile, payload, and launcher in a system context are desired. However, inputs that only address any one or two of these areas separately also are desired. The requirement is to consider both conventional and nuclear payloads. In doing so, if respondents believe the nuclear option is affecting affordability substantially, they are requested to separate the two payload areas so that the affordability of the conventional payload case may be understood clearly. Similarly, respondents may present only the conventional or the nuclear payload case if their expertise is limited in this manner.
On 12 July 2005 Alliant Techsystems and Lockheed Martin were awarded a $9.2 million contract by the U.S. Navy's Strategic Systems Program (SSP) office to demonstrate and validate solid rocket motor technologies suitable for a Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM).
SLIRBM is a conventional missile concept that builds on the heritage the two companies share in US Navy strategic missile development. Lockheed Martin and ATK provide the US Navy with the submarine-launched Trident D5 nuclear ballistic missile.
SLIRBM is designed to precisely deliver a conventional payload on target at ranges in excess of 1100 miles within 10-15 minutes of launch.
ATK and Lockheed Martin developed SLIRBM using numerous off-the-shelf components to speed the development of a low-cost solution while minimizing program risk. The SLIRBM design shared common hardware across all stages of the propulsion system to shorten development time while keeping the missile's cost and complexity to a minimum.
Under the 16-month contract, ATK and Lockheed Martin developed the missile and validated its concept with first and second stage static firings conducted at ATK Thiokol's solid rocket motor facilities in Promontory, Utah. ATK Thiokol is the world's leading provider of solid rocket motors and associated technologies.
ATK led the Ground Demonstration Integrated Product Team (IPT) while Lockheed Martin served as overall systems integrator and led a Missile System Trade Study IPT. After completing ground demonstrations, ATK and Lockheed Martin were to work to transition the program to the flight demonstration phase in the 2008 timeframe.
The March 2006 Defense Science Board "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Future Strategic Strike Skills"
On 03 August 2006 Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) successfully test fired a second-stage booster motor under the Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM) Booster System Demonstration for the U.S. Navy. This was the second static test firing conducted in the summer of 2006 under the demonstration. The modified second-stage ATK Orion 32-4 booster motor was fired for 40 seconds at maximum thrust at an ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah. The Orion 32-4 motor used high-performance solid rocket fuel. In a similar test in July 2006, the team successfully test fired a modified ATK Orion 32-7, the first stage for the prototype two-stage propulsion system. Both tests demonstrated the integrated operation of the motor with an electro-mechanical thrust vector control system that steers the motor's nozzle by responding to flight control and steering commands issued by an avionics system. Moog Inc. developed the thrust vector control system, which was integrated by ATK; Lockheed Martin developed the avionics system.
In the SLIRBM Booster System Demonstration, Lockheed Martin and ATK are demonstrating cost-effective, reliable and producible solid-propellant rocket motor technologies for a proposed conventional missile. The demonstration is the first phase in a low-risk development path for a proposed new missile that would travel at supersonic speed to reach intermediate-range targets within 15 minutes. The proposed missile would be deployed on the U.S. Navy's Ohio-class SSGN guided-missile submarines. An SSGN-based SLIRBM would offer the war fighter an extremely accurate, no-notice prompt global strike capability from an undetectable, highly mobile platform that is on station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On 16 October 2006 Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, announced a contract award from U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs to provide an affordable boost motor demonstrator for the Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM) concept. The contract is valued at $4.96 million. During the 12-month program, Aerojet will design, develop and test a boost motor demonstrator which will provide advanced, low-cost propulsion for the SLIRBM mission.
In January 2007 Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems successfully completed the Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM) Booster System Demonstration for the U.S. Navy. The team successfully met all technical, cost and schedule objectives, demonstrating the availability of this near-term, affordable solution for prompt global strike. The team has delivered the final missile system trade study to the Navy, completing the booster system demonstration contract, the first phase in a low-risk research and development path toward a deployable system. Potential follow-on phases could include flight test demonstrations with launcher integration and underwater launch tests.
In the booster system demonstration, Lockheed Martin and ATK demonstrated cost-effective, reliable and producible solid-propellant rocket motor technologies for a proposed conventional missile that would travel at supersonic speed to reach intermediate-range targets within 15 minutes. The proposed missile would be deployed on Ohio-class SSGN guided-missile submarines, offering the war fighter an extremely accurate, no-notice prompt global strike capability from an undetectable, highly mobile platform that is on station around the clock.
In November 2007 Aerojet, a GenCorp company, recently conducted a critical static fire test of an innovative, low-cost large booster in support of the U.S. Navy's Submarine Launched Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (SLIRBM) demonstration. The motor design incorporates cost-saving manufacturing techniques and tested several new high-performance technologies for potential use in Department of Defense Prompt Global Strike efforts.
This unique Aerojet booster tested several advanced technologies, including a highly efficient solid propellant that is designed to maximize performance. The Aerojet team employed cutting-edge manufacturing methods to demonstrate a low-cost tactical motor fabrication approach. In addition, the company used a new, environmentally benign resin in the manufacture of the graphite composite case and configured a modular nozzle/thrust vector actuation system to simplify assembly of the rocket motor.
With U.S. Navy personnel in attendance, the 12-foot, 32" in diameter, high-performance demonstration motor was tested, and achieved a peak thrust of over 50,000 lbf. Post-test inspection and data will be used to compare component performance and ballistic performance to analytical prediction models. Primary ballistic and structural composite case performance goals were met. Test data will be used to improve design margins in areas where performance fell short of analytical prediction models. Aerojet incorporated several state-of-the-art modeling and analytical tools throughout design, fabrication and testing.
The Aerojet team will use the results from the SLIRBM test to advance rocket motor design options for the Submarine Launched Global Strike Missile (SLGSM) concept.
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