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25 Sep 13. US Navy further tests Lockheed-built Trident II D5 missile. The US Navy has successfully test fired four unarmed Lockheed Martin-built Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missiles in the Atlantic Ocean, under the testing guidelines of the joint chief of staff. During the testing, the submerged US Navy’s Ohio-class submarine launched four missiles as part of follow-on commander’s evaluation trials, marking the 145th, 146th, 147th and 148th successful test flights of the D5 missile since design completion in 1989. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company fleet ballistic missile programmes vice-president, Doug White, said that the ultra-capable system will provide a critical role in combating aggression. Prior to testing, the missiles were transformed into test configurations using kits comprising range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. The US Navy performs a series of operational system evaluation tests for the Trident strategic weapon system as required by the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) National Command Authority. The Trident II D5 is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile, capable of travelling a range of 4,000nm while carrying multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles. Powered by a pressure water reactor GE PWR S8G with two turbines, the General Dynamics electric boat division-built Ohio-class submarines are also armed with eight launchers for the mk2 torpedo decoy. (Source: naval-technology.com)

25 Sep 13. French Air Force evaluates ASMPA enhanced stand-off missile. The French Strategic Air Force has successfully conducted a full operational trial of the C135 tanker/ Mirage 2000N fighter/ASMPA stand-off missile operational chain to validate the functionality of a real nuclear deterrence mission. Carried out using a representative training missile and a Mirage 2000N nuclear strike fighter from the French Directorate General of Armaments’ (DGA) missile testing centre at Biscarrosse, the successful trial demonstrated the performance and reliability of the weapon system.The three-hour trial brought together all significant phases of this type of mission, including high-altitude flight, refuelling from a C135FR tanker to increase range, low-altitude penetration flight and terrain-following approach, as well as firing of an ASMPA missile without a nuclear charge onto the target. Both the mission profile and the missile’s trajectory were confirmed by the military and civilian authorities to have complied in all respects with the planned flight profile. Also supported by staff and resources of the DGA and MBDA, the test guaranteed the technical and operational credibility of the airborne component of France’s nuclear deterrent, as well as confirming the ability of the strategic air force, which has ensured the nuclear deterrence mission for around 50 years. An advanced variant of the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP) air to surface missile,
ASMPA features an operational range of around 500km at a Mach 3 speed and a new 300k Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)-built tête nucléaire aéroportée (TNA) thermonuclear warhead. Powered by a solid fuel motor and a powder booster, the nuclear attack-hardened missile can be fired at various altitudes and flies at supersonic speeds along a trajectory that enable it to evade enemy air defences. The missile entered service with the French Air Force’s Mirage 2000NK3 in October 2009 and with the Rafale fighters in July 2010. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

23 Sep 13. Boeing and the U.S. Air Force have completed the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight, demonstrating the next generation of combat training and testing. Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. The QF-16 mission profile included auto takeoff, a series of simulated maneuvers, supersonic flight, and an auto land, all without a pilot in the cockpit

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