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As Industrial Base Shrinks, Concerns Rise Over Supply of Trident Missile Motors

WASHINGTON — The officer responsible for ensuring that the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines continued their mission as the nation’s most survivable strategic nuclear deterrent is worried about the shrinking industrial base for the solid fuel rocket motors that propel the Trident D-5 strategic missiles.

“I remain concerned about the state of the large solid rocket motor providers, but increasingly concerned about their suppliers of critical constituents,” Vice Adm. Terry Benedict said June 2. “The large solid rocket motor industrial base has shrunk significantly. That has prompted our industrial partners to take extreme measures to right size the industrial base and to consolidate operations.”

Benedict, director of Strategic Systems Programs (SSP), noted that since the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program the producers of large solid fuel rocket motors have shrunk to two: Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Those two firms are operating in an environment today in which “the need for solid rocket motors is significantly downsized from where it was,” Benedict told a breakfast held by the Mitchell Institute. To illustrate the scope of the reduced demand, the admiral said, “one Shuttle motor is equal to 10 Trident missiles.”

“Today, the U.S. Navy strategic missile program is the only program in production, at strategic level, for solid rocket motors,” Benedict said.

 

Read the complete article here.

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The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.