TRIDENT, named for the three pronged spear (TRIDENT) of mythology's King Neptune is the Navy's third generation fleet ballistic missile program. It is a part of the Nation's strategic deterrent triad, which also includes land-based missile systems and manned bombers.

Trident II is more sophisticated than Trident I (C4) with a significantly greater payload capability. All three stages of the Trident II are made of lighter, stronger, stiffer graphite epoxy, whose integrated structure means considerable weight saving. The missile's range is increased by the aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that reduces frontal drag by about 50 percent. Trident II is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. When the missile attains sufficient distance from the submarine, the first stage motor ignites, the aerospike extends and the boost stage begins. Within about two minutes, after the third stage motor kicks in, the missile is traveling in excess of 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) per second.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Strategic Nuclear Deterrence
Power Plant: Three-stage solid-propellant rocket
Thrust: First stage, 202,600 pounds (91,170 kilograms)
Length: 44 feet (13.41 meters)
Weight: 130,000 pounds (58,500 kg)
Diameter: 83 inches (2.11 meters)
Range: Greater than 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 statute miles, or 7,360 km)
Guidance systems: Inertial
Warheads: Nuclear MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable re-entry Vehicle); Maneuverable Re-entry Vehicle
Date Deployed: 1990

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