Navy chooses Curtiss-Wright solid-state drive for data storage on Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines

The Curtiss-Wright Removable Memory Cartridge (RMC) will provide performance upgrades and deal with obsolescence aboard ballistic missile submarines.

Ohio Class Submairne 13 June 2019

CRANE, Ind. – U.S. Navy submarine experts needed commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged data storage for upgrades to the Navy's fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. They found their solution from the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Defense Solutions division in Fairborn, Ohio.

Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, Ind., announced a $10 million contract to Curtiss-Wright on Tuesday for the company's Removable Memory Cartridge (RMC) for upgrades to Ohio-class submarines to increase performance and address obsolescence issues.

The Curtiss Wright RMC is a rugged, removable memory cartridge for deployed applications and is being used as part of a network-attached storage system that includes Curtiss Wright’s DTS3 -- a rugged network-attached storage system that contains three RMCs. With a 100,000-insertion-cycle connector, the RMC is designed to withstand years of insertion and removal for data storage and transport.

Based on industry-standard 2.5-inch SATA solid-state drive (SSD), the RMC is scalable from 128 gigabytes to 4 terabytes today, and can adapt to new SSDs in the future, Curtiss-Wright officials say.

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The drive has a non-proprietary mil-spec QPL connector that can accommodate a variety of available connectors aboard military platforms like the Ohio-class submarine.

The 2.5-inch SATA drive footprint enables systems designers to use a wide variety of SSD types and capacities. For the most demanding applications, Curtiss-Wright can install SLC type NAND Flash SSDs.

The rugged RMC is small enough to fit a shirt pocket or flight suit pocket, making it suitable for data transport applications such as cockpit data loaders or data recorders, Curtiss-Wright officials say.

The U.S. Navy today operates 18 Ohio-class submarines -- 14 of which carry the Trident nuclear missile. Four Ohio-class subs have been modified to carry conventionally armed long-range cruise missiles.

The Ohio-class submarine has been in commission since 1981, and this class is scheduled to be decommissioned and replaced starting in 2029. The United Kingdom Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarine has been at sea since 1993. The Royal Navy operates four Vanguard-class subs.

The 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines each can carry as many as 24 Trident II missiles. Although the Trident II is designed to carry as many as 12 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads, current treaties reduce this number to four or five.

The Trident II D5 is one of the most advanced long-range submarine-launched nuclear missiles in the world. It is the primary U.S. sea-based nuclear ballistic missile, and is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.

Each Trident II missile has a range of 4,000 to 7,000 miles. The Trident II D5 was first deployed in 1990 and is scheduled to remain in service until at least 2027.

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The Navy started the D5 Life Extension Program in 2002 to replace obsolete components using as many commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts as possible to keep costs down and to enhance the missile's capability.

Lockheed Martin also is integrating the Trident II onto the next-generation ballistic submarine designs of the U.S. and United Kingdom by adapting the Trident II missile and reentry subsystems into the common missile compartment for the Ohio replacement and United Kingdom successor programs.

On this contract Curtiss-Wright will do the work in Fairborn, Ohio, and should be finished by October 2024. For more information contact Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions online at, or the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division at

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