Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Work Chronicles History at Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Event

Work Chronicles History at Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Event

By Amaani Lyle, DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD News) — October 3, 2015 — The Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile Program has a six-decade record of safety, reliability and “pure operational excellence” that is extremely hard, if not impossible, to match, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said last night at the program’s 60th anniversary celebration in Falls Church, Virginia.

Work said he discussed with his British counterparts the U.S. partnership with the United Kingdom’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent program during a recent visit there, and he noted that program began with aa historic 1962 meeting between President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, which led to the Polaris Sales Agreement. The close partnership in nuclear deterrence continues today, the deputy secretary said.

“Just a few weeks ago, one of our missile boats, the U.S.S. Wyoming concluded a successful visit to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, Scotland,” Work said, adding that it was the first U.S. fleet ballistic missile submarine to visit to a foreign port since 2003. “These visible examples of the deep cooperation and mutual support between our two countries do not go unnoticed by our adversaries.”

Despite the scope of deterrence provided by the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarine force today, Work said, he finds it hard to believe the Navy came close to being without a strategic deterrent mission.

In the late 1940s, he said, the Navy attempted to develop a supercarrier that could handle the nuclear bomber, a program canceled by the Truman administration just as the keel was laid for the first of those supercarriers.

‘Revolt of the Admirals’

A public disagreement known as the “Revolt of the Admirals” occurred in protest of plans to shrink the Navy and instead augment the Air Force’s strategic nuclear bombing role as the primary means of the nation’s defense, Work said, and the Navy didn’t fare much better in the early years of the Eisenhower administration, which diverted funding for nuclear weapons to the Air Force and the Army.

Work credited the foresight and determination of Adms. Arleigh Burke and William F. Raborn, part of a small but influential group in the Navy, who he said believed it was possible to safely launch a long-range nuclear missile from a submarine.

The Navy established special projects office, with Raborn in charge, to push what would become the Polaris missile program. The project became a high priority, and required overcoming various hurdles to incorporating ballistic missile capability into submarines, Before the Polaris, the deputy secretary said, nuclear warheads weighed 1,600 pounds, missiles stood six stories tall, and the idea of liquid rocket fuel sloshing around inside a submarine was a frightening thought.

Pushing Boundaries

Scientists such as Harold Brown, who would later become defense secretary during the Carter administration, and physicists such as Edward Teller continued to push the boundaries of nuclear weapons design and innovation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, Work said.

“They developed a smaller, lighter nuclear warhead that could be put atop a missile carried vertically inside a silo,” he explained. “And the Polaris warhead’s radical new technology was an absolute turning point in nuclear weapon design, establishing breakthroughs that have been adopted in almost every subsequent warhead we have developed.”

As the new warhead was taking shape, Raborn’s Special Project Office finalized the design of a solid-fuel rocket motor.

Still, Work noted, challenges remained for the Polaris missile’s development. He cited Rear Adm. Robert Wertheim, the fourth director of Strategic Systems Programs, who was present at last night’s event.

“As our early test missiles were raining down from the skies over Cape Canaveral, we learned to use a new code,” he quoted from an article Wertheim had written. “For example, ‘successful launch’ would mean ‘didn’t blow up until after leaving the launch pad.’ Or, ‘successful first-stage flight’ meant ‘went out of control and was destroyed during second-stage flight.’”

Of the first 17 Polaris flights, only five flew as planned, Work said. Today, he added, with that record, the program probably would be cancelled. But that was never even considered back then, he said. That faith is vindicated today, with 155 of 157 Trident missile launches being successful, Work said.

Operational Missile Boat

As problems were being resolved with Polaris, the Navy still needed a submarine to carry it, Work noted. “In 1957, long before the bugs were even worked out in the Polaris A-1, Burke declared the Navy was going to have an operational missile boat in three years.”

So, Work said, Navy officials at the submarine yards at Groton, Connecticut, cut the hull of the attack submarine Scorpion in half and added a missile compartment. On July 20, 1960, at 12:39 p.m., the first Polaris missile was fired from the George Washington, Work said. Since that day, the U.S. Navy has conducted more than 4,035 strategic deterrent patrols, he said.

Defense Department Commitment

Today, Work said, the Defense Department remains committed to maintaining the fleet’s strategic weapon system in the Ohio replacement program. He acknowledged the program will be a “heavy lift” in today’s budgetary environment, but he pledged that it will continue, because the nation’s security depends on a survivable and reliable second strike capability that only ballistic missile submarines provide.

“The end of the Cold War did not end great-power politics,” Work said. It’s been reawakened with a vengeance. “We see it plainly in Russia’s aggressive actions in Eastern Europe and Syria, and we see it in China’s emergence as a military power and its belligerent actions in the South China Sea.”
(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDoDNews)

Related Videos :
Keynote Speech at Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Event

Related Biographies :
Bob Work
 


Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact