Strategic Systems Programs State of the Program 2002
I am proud to report that the State of the Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) is excellent. Last year, I outlined a Plan for the Future that we were pursuing to provide a steady baseline for our leg of the Strategic Triad. We had a very good year. The events and programs that we have accomplished will ensure the Nation will continue to have a flexible, adaptable and survivable deterrent, and it proves that our heritage of excellence continues.
Early in his administration, President Bush directed the Defense Department to transform America’s military and prepare it for the new, unpredictable world in which we are living. The result was the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that established the foundation for America’s post-Cold War defense strategy. As part of the QDR, Congress directed the Defense Department to conduct a comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to layout the direction for American nuclear forces over the next five to ten years.
This transformational document provides direction for a New Triad designed to provide the Nation the necessary offensive and defensive systems to ensure our security in the post-Cold War era. Our Trident system will play a major role in our Nation’s security for the next 40 years.
The New Triad is composed of 3 legs, the first being offensive strike systems both nuclear and non-nuclear. Strategic Systems Programs is participating in both aspects of this offensive leg of the New Triad. The second leg is Missile Defense. We have been active with the newly formed Missile Defense Agency in sharing technology and management information. The third leg, very important to the SP Family, is a revitalized defense infrastructure that will provide new capabilities in a timely fashion to meet emerging threats.
On September 11, our world changed. We entered a new era with new challenges to meet. Deterrence is much more complex with multiple non-traditional threats. Offensive deterrence weapon systems like Trident must be more flexible, and as we develop new adaptable conventional weapon options; SP’s heritage of solid systems engineering and program management will come to the forefront.
The Nuclear Posture Review validated the Trident submarine launched ballistic missile system as the backbone of the offensive nuclear strike forces. The force will consist of 14 Ohio class SSBN’s all with D5 weapons systems, in two oceans. To accomplish this we are extending the life of the entire Trident II D5 System.
We have started the backfit of four SSBNs from Trident I to Trident II. As part of this backfit, we migrated our shipboard systems to commercial-based open-system architecture. The first backfit D5, USS ALASKA has completed her conversion at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, ahead of schedule and under cost. This is extraordinary for a first-of-type conversion and is a tribute to the heritage of excellence of the entire SSP Family. The Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) of USS ALASKA culminated in the first successful Trident D5 launch using our new commercial based systems.
Early in May, I certified USS ALASKA for Strategic Service. After completing her strategic outload at our Strategic Weapons Facility, Atlantic (SWFLANT) in Kings Bay, Georgia, USS Alaska will return to her homeport at Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC) in Bangor, Washington this summer as the first West Coast D5 SSBN.
The second D5 backfit, USS NEV ADA is ahead of schedule. All new systems are installed, and integrated testing is in progress. USS NEV ADA will complete her conversion this summer and start her DASO period in the fall. As part of the backfit we are installing the Strategic Retargeting System (SRS). This commercial-based, open-architecture fire control upgrade will
provide the increased flexibility and capability required by the Nuclear Posture Review for our offensive strike platforms. We are also installing the new DS Navigation system. This is also commercial-based and applies open architecture to provide unprecedented navigation capability for the SSBNs.
Support equipment like the Data Recording Systems has also been upgraded to a commercial base and it is in this way that we intend to keep our strategic shipboard systems current for the next 4 decades. We have also started to install these new commercial systems in the current DS SSBNs, and so far have installed five new Fire Control systems and one new Navigation system in the Atlantic Fleet.
Our goal is to continue to migrate towards a consolidated Strategic Weapon System with common workstations, common hardware and software building blocks, integrated documentation, and integrated onboard training. The flexibility and adaptability that will be required of SSBNs in the future will require considerably more situational awareness by the crew. We owe them the tools to succeed.
This past year was dominated by obtaining approval for our plan to extend the service life of the D5 flight hardware. The Secretary of Defense personally approved and funded our program to continue production of critical DS missile components to ensure enough cost-effective missiles to support our flight-testing for the next 37 years. A companion program was also approved and funded to develop modifications to our missile electronics and strategic guidance systems. Support for the DS system was strong across the board, from Congress to the Department of Defense.
Nobody can argue against our performance record. Trident is the most reliable delivery system in the President’s arsenal and this again is a tribute to our heritage of excellence.
The nuclear warhead is probably the most complex part of our system. Refurbishment of our W76 warhead is also a part of life extension. This is the most numerous warhead in the Nation’s stockpile. In a joint program with the Department of Energy (DOE), we have set out to extend the life of this critical asset to an unprecedented 60 years. We must ensure its reliability and safety, and our initial analysis and development has already begun. Once again we are on the cutting edge-faced with the task of ensuring this warhead is certified without the benefit of Underground Testing.
I mentioned that we were also participating in the development of the offensive conventional strike weapons for the New Triad. The SSGN Program will convert four Ohio class Tridents to a conventional role. SSP was chosen to develop the Attack Weapons Systems for this transformational program. The FY02 Defense Appropriations Bill, signed into law this past January, provided funding and authorization for the four·ship SSGN program. Each SSGN will have the capability to carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles for covert, conventional strike and a very robust capability to support Special Operations Forces.
Our Launcher Branch and industrial partners were out in front of this fast running program. They defined the concept of a Multiple All-up-Round Canister (MAC) to be placed in the Trident tubes to support Tomahawk. Then our Fire Control Branch and industrial partners developed a design to utilize the existing Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control system married with our commercial based Trident backfit Fire Control System to provide the SSGN an unprecedented targeting, planning and launch capability.
Sometimes it is pure pleasure to watch our fine SSP Team operate. We widened our mission for this transformation. It will not be easy. The schedule for the SSGN is challenging … this program is reminiscent of Admiral Red Raborn and Polaris.
But if we can’t do it, who can? We were hired for our discipline, for our systems engineering and program management expertise, and most of all, we were hired because we deliver systems that work … PERIOD.
Back in 1956, SSP was tasked with integrating the Army Jupiter missile into a surface ship and submarine. History relates how this effort in Huntsville, Alabama came to an end with the advent of the solid rocket initiative that became Polaris.
Well … 46 years later, we find ourselves back in Huntsville … hired by the Army to develop, test and deploy a Penetrating Warhead for the Army standard Tactical Missile System (TACMS). This high-priority project will use an existing Trident re-entry aeroshell to house this robust warhead to destroy hard and deeply buried targets. Initial fligh~ tests at White Sands Missile Range are scheduled for early 2003. This is another project on a hot track.
Remember our Mission: “The SSP team is dedicated to serving our Nation by providing credible and affordable sea-based deterrent missile systems.” Deterrence is now composed of nuclear and conventional weapons systems… and we are a major player.
Support of the Fleet is our most important mission. The Trident Fleet successfully completed twenty-two (22) C4 and thirty-four (34) D5 patrols. The reliability of all our systems on these patrols remains well above goal, and we continually validate this through strong engineering, surveillance and by testing under near tactical conditions.
Since last year’s State of the Program, C4 Follow-On CINC Evaluation Tests (FCETs) 52 and 53 took place on 9 and 18 December. Our Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) completed 8 in-tube-conversions on USS OHIO at SWFLANT in Kings Bay. This was the last flight test for the venerable warrior, the Trident I-one tough little missile. We were successful for 7 of the 8 tests. This is remarkably close to our success rate experience over the 23-year life of this temporary missile. No strategic missile has served as long as the C4 without a major refurbishment. We will retire this great system in 2005.
Also since last year we have conducted three (3) 05 FCETs, with seven (7) successful launches. FCET 24 was conducted in May 2001 by USS KENTUCKY. USS LOUISIANA conducted FCET 25 in June 2001, as well as FCETs 26 and 27 recently held in April. FCET 27 saw our first 05 launch failure. Well, this isn’t magic-it’s ordnance, and ordnance is a tough master. As our Technical Director said after that flight-sometimes our system reminds us who really is in charge.
Together we celebrate our successes and learn from our failures.
Our British partners have had a busy year as well. HMS VANGUARD (SSBN UK05) was successfully offloaded at SWFLANT Kings Bay in preparation for her first re-fueling at Devenport Shipyard in Plymouth, England. We will start the major updates to the Navigation and Fire Control systems to the Royal Navy late this summer. Our unique Joint Program is as strong, and as vibrant as ever.
Our conversion to an all D5 Fleet is in full stride with the upcoming D5 Activation at SWFPAC in Bangor, Washington. SWFPAC is certified to handle and store D5 missiles and to process Mk4 and Mk5 warheads. Last summer, Captain Keith Lyles assumed command of SWFPAC. He has the facility ready to support USS ALASKA when she returns to Bangor in July. SWFPAC is also the recipient of SSP’s Golden Anchor Award-as the top SSP command in Sailor retention.
Commanded for almost four years now by Captain John Friend, SWFLANT in Kings Bay, Georgia remains our Factory in the Field and performed superbly this past year. SWFLANT achieved a number of firsts. They completed the first British Strategic offload when HMS VANGUARD dropped off her missiles prior to returning to Devenport for her first re-fueling. This summer, SWFLANT will outload the first Pacific 05 boat, USS ALASKA.
Captain Bill Borger assumed command of the Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) on 26 September 2001. As SSP on-site test director, NOTU had a very active year with the last C4 FCET on USS OHIO (8-missile), 05 FCETS for USS LOUISIANA and USS KENTUCKY, and USS ALASKA’s D5 DASO. NOTU is defining the operational concepts to be used at our Pacific Missile Range scheduled for initial operation in 2005.
Our Program Management Office in Sunnyvale (SPL), under the command of Commander Doug White had another banner year as our missile, launcher and re-entry representative on the plant floor. Achievements include design of our follow-on Test Missile Kit, re-engineered for affordability; and engineering support for the life extension of the MK4 Re-entry Body. SPL also received the inaugural Raborn award for “demonstrating an outstanding level of technical knowledge, professionalism and dedication to the team effort”-the very philosophy inspired by our Founder, Admiral Red Raborn over four decades ago.
The Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) (RD&A) has designated me as the Executive Agent for all Department of the Navy (DON) Arms Control Treaty Implementation and compliance. I administer this responsibility through our Naval Treaty Implementation Program (NTIP), led by Captain Mike Maxfield.
From October 2000 to November 2001, Benelux, Hungry, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Finland and the Ukraine conducted flights over the U.S., using the provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies as a guideline. Formal Entry into force is scheduled for 31 December 2003,
We also participated in a mock challenge inspection at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Indian Head to prepare for the upcoming Chemical Weapons Convention. The intent was to demonstrate DOD’s preparations for such an inspection, exercise the established guidance, and demonstrate decision-making procedures in an interagency and international context.
Some say we are the “best run program in Department of Defense”, we continue to validate this by receiving recognition for our efforts both individually and as an organization.
So WHAT IS OUR FUTURE? Our Research and Development Programs are starting to pay off.
Our Guidance Applications Program is giving us the launchpad for the technologies that will form the Next Generation Guidance Systems.
Our Re-Entry Applications program is playing a key role in the development of the Mk4A and the TACMS-Penetrator Weapon.
Our Enhanced-Effectiveness (E2) Reentry Body is a candidate for future deployment on the TRIDENT Weapon Platform. This exciting concept brings GPS-like accuracy to a strategic weapon that can be launched and delivered to a target very quickly after a decision to strike by National Command Authority (NCA). The enhanced accuracy and quick delivery expands the potential targets that are threatened by Trident. With improved accuracy, a range of warhead options is being considered, from nuclear to conventional. The reentry branch has been developing the E2 technologies in the Reentry Applications Program (RSAP), and leveraging off existing Extended Navy Test Bed (ENTB) instrumentation. We are very close to a flight demonstration.
We are developing the technology for fiber optic gyro naviga-tion systems that meet SSBN navigation requirements.
We are initiating a development program for a Buoyant Capsule that will protect a missile designed for use on the surface during its ascent from launch depth. Our first task is to launch an Army TACMS missile from the SSGN-truly making the SSGN the transformational submarine where we can test concepts for the future multi-mission, high volume strike submarine of the future.
This has been an exciting year in which everything came together. The Strategic Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) mission was validated and widened by the Nuclear Posture Review. Life extension of the SWS sub-systems is proceeding well. D5 missile flight hardware was approved for continued production and development. D5 backfit is underway. New applications of SSP’s talents have been extremely success-ful-Navy treaty compliance and SSGN are just two examples. Yes, it has been a very good year.
But the congratulations go to all of you. You are the Team that made this success happen. From Capitol Hill to the halls of the Pentagon, from the shipyard to the plant floor or the missile processing buildings of the SWFs. It’s the people, you, our Family that makes it happen. Nowhere else in the Department of Defense does such a high performing integrated military, civilian, government, industry team exist. Without the team, the whole team, there is no Trident system. Our Sailors depend on us, our Navy depends on us and our Nation depends on us.
Two years ago, I told you that I intended to expand SSP to be the premier Weapons Systems Engineering outfit in the Depart-ment of Defense. The excellent performance of our Team this year validates that we have reached that goal. Everyone wants to be like SSP.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the SSP team as your Director. I could not be any prouder of your accomplishments. Well done to each and every one of you, and GOD BLESS AMERICA.