The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Conventional Strike Missile
Conventional TRIDENT Modification (CTM)

The Conventional Strike Missile is a maneuverable hypersonic boost-glide weapon system capability is to deliver precision conventional effects with global reach (~9000nm) within one hour. The weapon system could be boosted by excess and/or commercial motors, or perhaps via future responsive space lift platforms. In either case, the majority of the flight trajectory would be endoatmospheric and have sufficient maneuverability to avoid overflight of restricted airspace (600-3000nm cross-range capability). Delivered payload is on the order of 1000-2000lbs, with flexible kinetic and non-kinetic configurations including multiple precision guided sub-munitions, unitary penetrating munitions, and/or sensor packages. Physical characteristics of the hypersonic vehicle are 12 feet length, 4 feet width, and up to 3500lb weight. The vehicle speeds are nominally Mach ~24 reentry, a Mach 10-15 glide, and Mach 4 terminal impact.

Conventional Strike Missile (CSM) would conduct flight demonstrations of an advanced boost-glide weapon system. Includes Minotaur rocket boost, biconic hypersonic glide vehicle, advanced GPS guidance, and conventional payload integration. Flight demonstrations will prove maneuverable long range endoatmospheric glide with advanced TPS and precision terminal accuracy. Three demonstration flights are planned for 2012-1015.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) all describe a future military that will be able to respond rapidly, anywhere around the world, with the required flexibility to meet a variety of contingencies. National security will depend on the ability of the U.S. military to respond within a complex and uncertain security environment which is characterized more and more by asymmetric threats. Strategic Strike, specifically Prompt Global Strike (PGS), describes a concept for conducting a strike globally, precisely, and rapidly with kinetic effects against high payoff and time sensitive targets.

The 2006 QDR determined that a program designated Conventional Trident Modification (CTM) was the best low-cost, low-risk, near-term solution to begin closing the current gap in prompt conventional global strike capabilities. In March 2006 the Defense Department announced plans to deploy, within two years, an initial capability to promptly engage targets globally with precision-guided conventional weapons. The FY2007 Defense Budget requested $127 million to pursue the deployment of conventional warheads on Trident missiles, but the 109th Congress rejected most of this request. The budget request included funding over the FYDP for development of Conventional TRIDENT Modification (CTM). This puts conventional (non-nuclear) warheads on existing TRIDENT II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles. In Fiscal Year 2007, DoD requested funding to modify two Trident II D5 missiles on each of the 12 deployed strategic ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and replace their nuclear warheads with non-nuclear warheads. Funds were to provide for development and procurement of 96 CTM conventional warheads over four years (FY07-FY10). This will provides timely precision strike capability from global ranges, with no warning to the target and without the need for having forces in the region.

This initial prompt Global Strike capability will be achieved by arming a small number of long-range Trident missiles them with accurate, non-nuclear warheads. The rationale for focusing on ballistic missiles, in general, and on a non-nuclear Trident missile in particular, is that Conventional Trident represents a near-term, affordable, low-risk option for providing the President of the United States with an important, new capability. By deploying SSBNs armed with Conventional Trident missiles we will close a long-standing gap in our strike capability for engaging an adversary promptly and precisely, any where in the world, and without having to resort to nuclear weapons.

These efforts support the ability to produce affordable solutions (i.e. ballistic missiles from an underwater environment) to answer the PGS need. Projects 9611 support both Advanced Strike Capability Demonstrations contracted in FYs 2005 and 2006 (which will demonstrate the feasibility of producing intermediate size low-cost rockets) and the development in FY 2007 of a modification to the TRIDENT II (D5) strategic weapon system (SWS) known as the Conventional TRIDENT Modification (CTM) which will allow it to carry conventional payloads.

The conventional "Trident" missile program is part of a larger strategy to better address diverse threats facing the United States and will further the country's defense goals, a Defense Department spokesman said on March 9, 2006. The Conventional Trident Modification program, which will cost about $503 million, was developed based on a 2001 comprehensive review of America's deterrence policy, the spokesman said, speaking on background. The study, he said, recognized that a deterrence strategy that relies primarily on nuclear weapons does not address the diverse threats the United States faces, and therefore the country must have a balance of nuclear forces, conventional strike capabilities and non-kinetic capabilities, which include information operations and non-lethal weapons.

The goal of this new strategy was to produce a force capable of assuring allies, dissuading competitors, deterring adversaries, and if necessary defeating enemies, the spokesman said. The conventional missile program will help achieve this goal by providing the capability to defeat threats on short notice without crossing the nuclear threshold, he said.

"(Conventional Trident Modification)'s advantages over other conventional strike capabilities is its ability to provide prompt response to threats around the globe," he said. "The (program) will allow national leadership to act in a crisis without a lengthy military buildup." Additional benefits of the Conventional Trident Modification are that it requires no forward-deployed or visible presence, has few if any requirements for allied overflight permission, and gives the enemy little or no warning before a strike, the spokesman said.

To ensure other countries don't mistake a conventional missile launch for a nuclear missile attack, DoD is developing confidence-building measures, such as advance notification and shared early warnings, he said. Also, DoD can borrow notification procedures from its long history of test launches of dual-role weapons systems. The Conventional Trident Modification program gives the United States a long-range strike option against targets beyond the range of current systems or that are heavily defended, the spokesman said. Also, the deployment of the program will send a message to adversaries that the United States is prepared to defend its national interests, he said. "If needed in the war on terrorism, the (Conventional Trident Modification program) can help deter state actors from sponsoring terrorism by imposing the threat of prompt conventional attack," he said.

This project supports efforts for both Advanced Strike Capability which will demonstrate the feasibility of producing intermediate size low cost rockets, and the development of a modification to the TRIDENT II (D5) strategic weapon system (SWS) to allow it to carry conventional payloads. The Conventional TRIDENT Modification (CTM) will adapt the TRIDENT II (D5) missile to carry conventional payloads. SSP intends to modify the existing D5 SWS to carry conventional payloads as an affordable approach to providing Combatant Commanders near term kinetic Precision Global Strike (PGS) capability. This strategy leverages an established program and its personnel, contractor base, and infrastructure to rapidly field a desired capability. This new capability is needed to defeat a diverse set of unpredictable threats, such as Weapons of Mass Destruction and Effect (WMD/E), on short notice without the requirement for a forward-deployed or visible presence and without risk to the U.S. forces and with little or no warning prior to strike. CTM will complement nuclear weapons in their deterrent role and is an evolution of deterrence away from the complete dependence on nuclear weapons.

The FY2007 Defense Authorization bill required the Secretary of Defense to submit, not later than February 1, 2007, to the congressional defense committees a report setting forth a proposal to replace nuclear warheads on 24 Trident D-5 sea-launched ballistic missiles with conventional kinetic warheads for deployment on submarines that carry Trident sea-launched ballistic missiles. The report shall be prepared in consultation with the Secretary of State.

(b) ELEMENTS.-The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1) A description of the types of scenarios, types of targets, and circumstances in which a conventional sea-launched ballistic missile might be used.

(2) A discussion of the weapon systems or weapons, whether current or planned, that could be used as an alternative for each of the scenarios, target types, and circumstances set forth under paragraph (1), and a statement of any reason why each such weapon system or weapon is not a suitable alternative to a conventional sea-launched ballistic missile.

(3) A description of the command and control arrangements for conventional sea-launched ballistic missiles, including launch authority and the use of Permissive Action Links (PALs).

(4) An assessment of the capabilities of other countries to detect and track the launch of a conventional or nuclear sea-launched ballistic missile.

(5) An assessment of the capabilities of other countries to discriminate between the launch of a nuclear sea-launched ballistic missile and a conventional sea-launched ballistic missile, other than in a testing scenario.

(6) An assessment of the notification and other protocols that would have to be in place before using any conventional sea-launched ballistic missile and a plan for entering into such protocols.

(7) An assessment of the adequacy of the intelligence that would be needed to support an attack involving conventional sea-launched ballistic missiles.

(8) A description of the total program cost, including the procurement costs of additional D-5 missiles, of the conventional Trident sea-launched ballistic missile program, by fiscal year.

(9) An analysis and assessment of the implications for ballistic missile proliferation if the United States decides to go forward with the conventional Trident sea-launched ballistic missile program or any other conventional long-range ballistic missile program.

(10) An analysis and assessment of the implications for the United States missile defense system if other countries use conventional long-range ballistic missiles.

(11) An analysis of any problems created by the ambiguity that results from the use of the same ballistic missile for both conventional and nuclear warheads.

(12) An analysis and assessment of the methods that other countries might use to resolve the ambiguities associated with a nuclear or conventional sea-launched ballistic missile.

(13) An analysis, by the Secretary of State, of the international, treaty, and other concerns that would be associated with the use of a conventional sea-launched ballistic missile and recommendations for measures to mitigate or eliminate such concerns.

(14) A joint statement by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State on how to ensure that the use of a conventional sea-launched ballistic missile will not result in an intentional, inadvertent, mistaken, or accidental reciprocal or responsive launch of a nuclear strike by any other country.

Consistent with the House-passed FY2007 bill authorizing appropriations for the Defense Department, the House Appropriations Committee recommends $30,000,000 in RDT&E, Navy for development of a modification to the Trident Weapon System to accommodate non-nuclear payloads. The President's budget included $127,000,000 for this program, including $77,000,000 in research and development and $50,000,000 in procurement accounts. The Committee believes the proposed schedule for this program is unrealistic, and prejudges the outcome of internal planning and programming reviews, including the analysis of alternatives and the vetting and documentation of operational requirements. While agreeing to provide some funds for this new start, the Committee remains concerned that important strategic, international, and operational considerations have not been fully addressed, and the Department's acquisition community has not completed its review.

The FY2008 budget requested $175.4 million. But the Conventional TRIDENT Modification (CTM) program was "cancelled" in FY08 Appropriations Bill and funding was realigned to a defense-wide account [0604165D8Z - Prompt Global Strike Program] to investigate all prompt global strike alternatives and technologies.

The Navy CPGS Technology Refinement and Demonstration sub-project supports Navy Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) technology development and will assess the feasibility of producing an affordable solution (i.e., ballistic missiles from an underwater environment) to fill the CPGS capability gap. It will assess CPGS technologies that could lead to a weapon system with the stealth, availability, accuracy and rapid response of today's ballistic missiles. The technologies developed will have cross-service and cross-concept applicability and will be developed through close coordination among DoD components. In FY09, a CPGS Flight Experiment (FE1) using a Life Extension Test Bed (LETB-2) re-entry body (RB) will be conducted using a currently planned TRIDENT II (D5) missile flight to demonstrate communication and telemetry link overhead for future experiments.

In preparation for the FY09 FE1, FY08 activities will involve: test completion and delivery of flight software; assembly and integration of components into LETB-2; fabrication and delivery of heatshield, nosetips and flaps, and; assembly and delivery of power distribution unit and telemetry systems. In addition, two other CPGS technology efforts will be pursued/developed in FY09 to support a future (FY11 timeframe) Flight Experiment (FE2) utilizing a Sandia STARS A3 launch vehicle: the Medium Lift Re-Entry Body (MLRB), and; Warhead and Fuze (WF). For MLRB, deliverables in FY09 include: completion of detailed design, and; an 80% completion of RB software modules. For WF, deliverables include completion of the following items: Kinetic Energy Projectile (KEP) warhead static test; KEP and penetrator lethality modeling; full-scale penetrator gun test; KEP/aeroshell interaction test; KEP warhead arena test, and; KEP warhead sled test number one.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:35:36 ZULU