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Trident Facts and Figures

What is the Trident submarine?

Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine, nuclear- powered, able to remain submerged for long periods without surfacing, virtually undetectable when submerged.

Length: 560 , beam: 42 feet.
Crew: 15 Officers, 140 Enlisted men

What is its mission?

From the US Navy website:
"Strategic deterrence has been the sole mission of the fleet ballistic missile submarine since its inception in 1960. Trident provides the nation's most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.

Trident ballistic missile submarines provide the sea-based "leg" of the triad of U.S. strategic deterrent forces. The 18 Trident submarines carry 50 percent of the total U.S. strategic warheads. Although the missiles have no pre-set targets when the submarine goes on patrol, the submarines are capable of rapidly targeting their missiles should the need arise, using secure and constant at-sea communications links."

How many US Navy Tridents are there?

18, 10 in King's Bay, Georgia, 8 at Bangor, Washington. According to the 1994 "Nuclear Posture Review," this number is to be reduced to 14 when START II goes into effect. START II was ratified by the Russian Duma in April, 2000. Usually, at least five of the 18 Trident submarines are on patrol in the Atlantic and Pacific at any given moment. They carry 960 nuclear warheads.

Where is the Bangor base?

Sub Base Bangor is on Hood Canal north of Silverdale on the Kitsap Peninsula. The base employs 11,000 military and civilian people, it is the largest employer in North Kitsap County. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates over 1,600 nuclear weapons are based at the Bangor base.

Who else has these kinds of submarines?

Russia has 23 strategic submarines loaded with 384 missiles. As of 2000, no more than one or two of these submarines is ever on patrol at one time. Great Britain has 4 Trident submarines, each with 16 Trident D-5 missiles. France has 5 ballistic missile submarines with 80 missiles. China is developing a ballistic missile submarine.

What sorts of weapons are on the Trident submarines?

Bangor - based submarines carry 24 Trident I C-4 missiles, with a range of 4000 miles. Maximum warheads allowed under START I is eight per missile. The Atlantic fleet carries Trident D-5 missiles.

Should the order come, the missiles are launched in a compressed air bubble, fly into space, steer in space using satellite navigation, then the warheads separate to drop onto different targets. Total flight time is 25 minutes or less, depending on how close the submarine is to the target

Accuracy is within 800 feet from the target. The warheads are 100 kilotons each, about 6 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Each Trident submarine carries over 1000 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb.

The "Trident Upgrade" will equip Bangor's submarines will replace the 100 kiloton weapons with 475 kiloton weapons mounted on missiles with greater accuracy and longer range.

If Trident submarines visit Seattle for Seafair, do they have their nuclear weapons on board? US Navy policy is to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons on any of its vessels or stations.

How much do these Tridents cost

Each submarine cost approximately $3 billion to build
To operate: $77 million per year per submarine
To purchase each new Trident II D-5 missile: $60 million

What is the "Trident Upgrade?"

The Bangor fleet, starting with the USS Alaska, is slated to be retrofitted to carry the larger Trident D-5 missiles. The D-5 has a range of 6000 miles and much more powerful warheads, 475 kt.

How much will the upgrade cost?

The upgrade will cost between $5 and $6.5 billion.

Sources