US Navy tests hypersonic missile that will eventually be launched from submarines

The US Navy Strategic Systems Program and the Department of Defense this week tested a conventional (hypersonic) prompt strike capability that could one day be fielded from guided-missile submarines.

Strategic Systems Program (SSP) Director Vice Adm. Terry Benedict said on Nov. 2 that “I’m very proud to report that at 0300 on Monday night SSP flew from Hawaii [Pacific Missile Range Facility] … the first conventional prompt strike missile for the United States Navy in the form factor that would eventually, could eventually be utilized if leadership chooses to do so in an Ohio-class tube. It’s a monumental achievement.”

The admiral spoke at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium in Arlington, Va. He credited his organization for, in addition to working on the nuclear weapons that support the Ohio-class boomers and their Columbia-class replacement in development now, “we have supported the OSD AT&L defense-wide account for technology demonstration, and on our first go out of the box a very successful flight of a conventional prompt strike maneuvering reentry body.”

Four Ohio-class SSBNs were previously converted to guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) to carry conventional weapons. These four subs — or future Virginia-class attack submarines with the Virginia Payload Module that inserts additional missile tube capacity into the smaller boat — would likely be the ones contributing to conventional prompt global strike, if Pentagon leadership were to pursue the idea being tested now, the Strategic Systems Program office told USNI News.

17 thoughts on “US Navy tests hypersonic missile that will eventually be launched from submarines”

  1. I am not a paid US troll. I post here on NBF because I have nothing better to do.

    Well there is one thing I do enjoy and that is taking a big fat hypersonic missile up my rear. Quite enjoyable.

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  2. “The test collected data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test-range performance for long-range atmospheric flight.” Trident missiles do not do boost-glide and certainly do not do long range atmospheric flight you imbicile on Putin’s payroll.

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    • “Trident missiles do not do boost-glide”
      Trident,cretin,BOOSTS PAYLOAD.Which then glides.Here.Boost-glide explained to you.
      “do not do long range atmospheric flight ”
      /facepalm
      Payload does.
      “This is not a Trident missile.”
      Yes,it is.USA simply doesn’t have anything else with proper stats.Dumbo,the thing has over three thousand mile range(because testing anything shorter is plain illegal),and Minuteman won’t fit in Ohio tube under any circumstance.

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      • Hey Genius….

        “According to the Defense Science Board Task Force, this missile might have delivered a 2,000-
        pound payload over a 1,500-mile range,40 with an accuracy of less than 5 meters. This would
        allow the missile to reach its target in less than 15 minutes.41 Reports of the initial studies into this
        concept indicated that this proposed missile could carry either nuclear or conventional warheads,
        allowing it to contribute to the missions requiring prompt, long-range strike capabilities.42 These
        missiles could also be deployed on nuclear-capable Trident submarines, with 2 or 3 missiles
        deployed in up to 22 of the submarine’s launch tubes, for a total of 66 missiles per submarine.
        However, as the concept emerged, it became evident that the missiles would have been deployed,
        with perhaps two per launch tube, in the four Ohio-class submarines that have already been
        converted to carry conventional cruise missiles and other non-nuclear weaponry.
        Congress appropriated $10 million for the SLIRBM in FY2005 and $7.2 million in FY2006. In
        the House, the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added $2 million for this effort in FY2007,
        but the conference committee provided only $1.3 million. The Pentagon did not request any
        additional funding for this program for FY2008, but it did indicate that prior-years’ funding
        would be used to continue funding efforts that will demonstrate the affordability and feasibility of
        this concept.
        The Pentagon remained interested in this concept in 2008, and considered allocating $120 million
        in FY2008 and $140 million in FY2009 to pursue a medium-range “Submarine-launched Global
        Strike Missile” with a range of 2,000-3,000 nautical miles.43 However, as is noted below,
        Congress eliminated Navy funding for conventional prompt global strike programs in FY2008
        and combined all DOD funding in a single defense-wide account. This account did not provide
        any funds to this missile, and the Navy did not request any additional funds in its budget in
        subsequent years.
        The Pentagon reasserted its interest in deploying a prompt strike capability on submarines in
        January 2012, in its report on defense budget priorities and choices. It noted that, as a part of the
        U.S. effort to “rebalance” U.S. forces towards the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, the
        United States would need to invest in capabilities “required to maintain our military’s continued
        freedom of action in the face of new technologies designed to frustrate access advantages.” The
        list of such technologies included the “design of a conventional prompt strike option from
        submarines.”44 In his briefing after the release of this document, Secretary of Defense Leon
        Panetta linked this effort with a program to provide the Virginia-class attack submarines with the
        capability to carry more conventional cruise missiles. The same mid-body launch tubes, known as
        the Virginia payload module, that might carry more cruise missiles might also carry conventional
        boost-glide systems.45
        DOD has not yet decided whether it will deploy a PGS system on land or at sea. However, it has
        left open the option of deploying the systems at sea, so that as it develops both the booster and the
        hypersonic glider technologies, it can pursue technologies that will reduce the cost and risk of the
        program even if they come with a reduced range. Moreover, unlike with the conventional Trident
        program, with an intermediate-range PGS system, DOD would not install conventional warheads
        on missiles that had been equipped with nuclear warheads. Moreover, they boosters would travel
        on a flatter trajectory, and would likely have different launch profile and a different number of
        stages, than the existing Trident missiles. According to General Martin Dempsey, the former
        Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these differences in technology would likely mitigate the
        risk of an adversary observing the launch and concluding, incorrectly, that the United States had
        launched an attack with a nuclear-armed missile.”

        https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R41464.pdf

        Reply
          • 1.INF covers 500-5500 km range. 3437 miles. If your IRBM has a range > 3437 miles, it is not in violation of INF.

            2. Russia is already in violation of INF: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/03/07/how-washington-should-respond-to-russias-missile-treaty-violation/

            3. HTV-2 did not violate INF because it was not an operational warhead and its intended range would be far in excess of 5500 km (17,000 km).

            4. Subsequent AHS design program range was also 6000-8000km. Not in violation of INF.

            5. Range of unknown hypersonic glide vehicle needs only be in excess of 3437mi to not be in violation of INF.

            6. A current US defense contractor is, and has been, designing, manufacturing and selling off nuclear-capable IRBMs and MRBMs to Missile Defense/Targets & Countermeasures Directorate for 10+ years. You just have no fucking idea what I’m talking about.

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          • https://pacs.einaudi.cornell.edu/sites/pacs/files/Lewis.Prompt%20Global%20Strike%20Weapons%20and%20Missile%20Defenses.pdf

            “The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) is a less ambitious program, with a shorter range, likely 6,000to 8,000 km, a correspondingly lower glide speed (perhaps about Mach 12), and an accuracy goal of 10meters. The AHW’s glide vehicle uses a conical design that had previously been flight-tested severaltimes as a ballistic missile warhead. Given its shorter range, the AHW would likely be deployed at sea orat forward operating bases. In 2012, a successful test of the AHW was conducted in which it flew about4,800 km in less than a half hour. A second, longer-range, test in 2014 failed for a reason unrelated tothe AHW itself. Although the AHW was originally developed by the Army, the program has recently beenturned over to the Navy, which is developing a version that can be launched from submarine missilelaunch tubes. The first flight test of this naval version of the AHW is planned for 2018 using a land-basedlauncher, with a second test to follow by about 2020.”

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    • “This is real deal”
      No,idiot,it’s not.It’s conventionally-armed Trident.Which is a)nothing new and b)moronic even more than you are.

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      • There are two different concepts (multiple really) covered under CPGS. One of them is the recycled old conventional trident modification program, but that is NOT the only one. The public CPGS report to congress from this year does mention CTM but only because congress and the DOD decided to unite the concept of CTM and other hypersonic glide vehicle prompt strike solutions under one funding roof. The program actually encompasses sub launched, air launched and ground launched solutions to the conventional prompt global strike. This test launch could have been a CTM, but I doubt it. The Admiral’s statement makes it sound like it’s not currently in a vehicle that obviously fits in Ohio class tubes, just that it eventually will; and, because Lockheed has already flight tested CTM a few times 10-15 years ago. It seems more likely this is one of the hypersonic glide vehicles they’re looking at.

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        • The source article clearly says “The test collected data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test-range performance for long-range atmospheric flight.”
          Phaeton is a paid Russian troll.

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          • A person could be forgiven for thinking it’s a Trident CTM launch if you looked at the article for like 15 seconds. It’s related, and it’s being pitched as launchable from a Trident tube. But it’s pretty clear from the congressional report and the test schedule that it was very likely not a trident (I can’t find that line of text you are quoting in the source article but I believe you). I couldn’t find public information on the CPGS-FE1 test.

            Reply

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