General Dynamics (GD) has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to support production and deployed systems of the US and UK Trident II submarine strategic weapons systems.

Under the $95.9m contract, GD will support the SSBN fire-control system, SSGN attack weapon-control system, US SSBN-replacement and UK SSBN-successor common missile compartments. The company will also oversee elements of the D5 modernisation programme, including life cycle support of the fire-control and attack weapon-control systems.

GD will also provide fleet documentation, logistics, performance evaluation, engineering support, reliability maintenance and training, as well as engineering support for the US and UK common missile compartment including concept development, prototyping and initial design efforts.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems president Lou Von Thaer said: "Deploying a common compartment across different platforms will decrease cost and introduce more flexibility for meeting today’s mission requirements and those of the next generation of sailors."

The US Navy initiated the D5 Life Extension Programme in 2002 to ensure that the nuclear deterrence capability of the submarine remains at peak readiness and safety by replacing the ageing components of the Trident II missile.

The Trident II D5 is a sophisticated three-stage, solid-propellant, inertially guided missile capable of carrying a heavy payload and is accurate enough to be a first strike, counterforce or second strike weapon. The weapon is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) capability and is the primary weapon carried by the US Navy’s Ohio-class submarines.

The US Navy’s Ohio-class fleet of ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are conventionally armed, nuclear-powered and virtually undetectable undersea launch platforms for intercontinental missiles.

The contract has a potential value of $225m if all options are exercised, and work will be carried out at the company’s facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, US.