Trident I (designated C4) was deployed in 1979 and retired in 2005. Its objective was to achieve performance similar to Poseidon (C3) but at extended range which improved survivability of the submarine. Trident II (designated D5) had the objective of improved accuracy, and was first deployed in 1990, and was planned to be in service for the thirty-year life of the submarines, until 2027.
Trident missiles are provided to the United Kingdom under the terms of the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement which was modified in 1982 for Trident. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wrote to President Carter on July 10, 1980, to request that he approve supply of Trident I missiles. However, in 1982 Thatcher wrote to President Reagan to request the United Kingdom be allowed to procure the Trident II system, the procurement of which had been accelerated by the US Navy. This was agreed in March 1982. Under the agreement, the United Kingdom made a 5% research and development contribution.
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