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Navy’s SSP Director Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Pays Respects Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

23 September 2022
WASHINGTON – Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, Jr., Director, Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) paid his respects to Queen Elizabeth II at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Her Late Majesty at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday and signed the condolence book of Her Majesty the Queen for the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom at the British Embassy in the United States Sept. 16.

“I was honored to pay my respects to Her Majesty on behalf of the Navy and the Strategic Systems Programs team,” Wolfe said. “She was a leader who was dedicated to her country and its people, a steadfast advocate of the rules-based international order, and a torchbearer who safeguarded the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Vice Adm. Wolfe’s official participation in these historic events represented the enduring and special relationship between the U.S. and the UK and, specifically, the working partnership the two nations share under the Polaris Sales Agreement (PSA), an international agreement established between the U.S. and the UK in April 1963.

As a part of his responsibilities as Director, SSP, Vice Adm. Wolfe serves as the U.S. Project Officer for the PSA. The agreement allows the UK to purchase a U.S.-developed submarine launched ballistic missile system to support an independent submarine nuclear deterrent force for the UK.

The PSA originally provided for the sale of the U.S. Polaris Strategic Weapon System including Polaris missiles (less warheads)—together with engineering services—to be installed aboard a UK-designed and constructed RESOLUTION class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine.

In the 1980s, the U.S. began launching the OHIO-class SSBNs and embarked on a program to develop the Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon System. Through an exchange of letters between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan in 1982, the U.S. and UK agreed to amend the PSA to allow for the sale of the Trident II SWS to the UK. The TRIDENT II D5 sale provided major technological advances to the UK deterrent force including greater range, accuracy, and throw-weight.

Today, the UK deploys the Trident II SWS aboard the VANGUARD class SSBN fleet. As the U.S. and UK continue to develop their successor classes of SSBNs (the COLUMBIA-Class for the U.S. and DREADNOUGHT-Class for the UK), U.S. and UK engineers have worked under the auspices of the PSA to develop a Common Missile Compartment (CMC). The CMC will support today’s Trident II D5 SWS, which will deploy as the initial loadout on both classes of SSBNs. The agreement remains strong and continues to serve each nation’s defense interest.

“We look forward to continuing this important mission with the United Kingdom,” Wolfe said. “The Polaris Sales Agreement remains a significant tenant of sustaining common Strategic Weapons Systems today and providing the next generation of security for our nations through Sea-Based Strategic Deterrence.”

SSP develops and deploys the nation's Sea-Based Strategic Weapons Systems. The program directs the end-to-end effort of the Navy's Strategic Weapons Systems which includes requirements for training, systems, equipment, facilities, and personnel. The program also fulfills the terms of the U.S.-UK Polaris Sales Agreement.


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