Charles Stark Draper Laboratory

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (“Draper”) is the prime contractor for the Trident Life Extension (LE) boost guidance and is manufacturing the guidance system for the Trident missile system in use by the UK and the US.

Company profile

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (“Draper”) is a US-based non-profit research and development organization. It engages in design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions, providing engineering services to government, industry, and academia.[a] It was founded as a teaching laboratory in the 1930s and since the 1950s, it has been involved in the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) development of the United States.[b]

In the financial year ending June 2016, Draper generated revenues of US$ 656.0 million (€ 591.8 million).[c]

Contact Information

Contact Information

Website: Twitter: @DraperLab

555 Technology Square
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139  USA

Nuclear weapons

Draper has been designing and developing inertial guidance systems for strategic missile applications since the 1950s. It designed, among others, the guidance system for the US Air Force Peacekeeper ICBM.[1] Furthermore, it designed, upgraded and maintains the Trident boost guidance system. Being the prime contractor for the Trident Life Extension (LE) boost guidance, Draper has completed the design phase and begun manufacturing of the MK6 MOD 1 Guidance System, which will function as the boost guidance system for the Trident D(5)LE missile through 2040.[2]

Recent contracts include a September 2014 award under the Strategic Systems Programs of the US Navy with a maximum value of US$ 47.4 million (€ 37.1 million), of which US$ 10.2 million (€ 8.0 million) were obligated in fiscal year 2014. It includes among others tactical engineering services to improve test equipment availability, reliability and maintainability of Trident II (D-5) weapon systems; test and evaluate MK6 MOD 1 engineering development units and preproduction units systems; and research on Trident (D-5) guidance and re-entry systems. Contract completion is expected by September 2017.[3]

In December 2015, Draper obtained a US$ 54.3 million (€ 49.7 million) contract to provide specialized tactical engineering and related services to test, repair and maintain guidance subsystems, test equipment, and related support equipment for the Trident (D-5) weapon systems; to provide technical and engineering services for the initial fielding of the MK6 MOD 1 guidance systems; and to perform various other services to support Trident II (D-5) guidance and re-entry systems in relation to the US Ohio submarine replacement programme and UK Successor program. If all options are exercised, the contract value will reach a maximum of US$ 393.0 million (€ 359.4 million). Completion of the initial set of tasks was scheduled for September 2016.[4]

In March 2016, Draper was awarded a maximum US$ 163.6 million (€ 147.3 million) contract by the US Navy for Trident (D5) MK 6 guidance system production with failure verification, test, repair and recertification of inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, and electronic modules. The contract was last modified in February 2017 and is expected to run until September 2021 if all options are exercised. The maximum value of the contract, paid for by the US and UK navies, if all options are exercised is now US$ 370.2 (€350.5 million).[5]




[a]  Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, “Who we are”, Website Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (, viewed August 2017.

[b]    Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, “Draper History”, Website Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (, viewed August 2017.

[c]    CitizenAudit, “Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc – Income Statement as at 2016.06”, Website CitizienAudit (, viewed August 2017.

[1] Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, “Form 990 – Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax”, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, 28 January 2015.

[2] Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, “Boost guidance”, Website Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (, viewed January 2018;
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, “Maintaining Strategic Deterrence – Navy Trident Missile Test Featured Draper Guidance System”, Website Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (, viewed January 2018.

[3] U.S. Department of Defense, “Daily Contract List – Contract N00030-14-C-0054”, U.S. Department of Defense, 30 September 2014 (, viewed January 2018.

[4] U.S. Department of Defense, “Daily Contract List – Contract N00030-16-C-0014”, U.S. Department of Defense, 15 December 2015 (, viewed January 2018.

[5] U.S. Department of Defense, “Daily Contract List – Contract N00030-16-C-0008”, U.S. Department of Defense, 21 March 2016 (, viewed January 2018; U.S. Department of Defense, “Daily Contract List – Contract N00030-17-C-0008”, U.S. Department of Defense, 24 February 2017 (, viewed January 2018.

This page was last updated 19 January 2018.

Top 20 Producers

Looking for information on other nuclear weapon associated companies? Check here.

In some nuclear-armed states – in particular the United States, the United Kingdom and France – private companies are hired by governments to carry out work on maintaining and modernising nuclear arsenals.

This report looks at the top 20 companies that are providing the necessary components to develop, test, maintain and modernise nuclear weapons.The contracts these companies have with nuclear armed countries are for materials and services to keep nuclear weapons in their arsenals. The companies described are substantially involved in the nuclear weapons programmes of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, or India and are themselves based in France, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. More information on other companies involved in nuclear arsenals, not listed in the top 20, can be found here.

In other nuclear-armed countries –Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea – the maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces is carried out primarily or exclusively by government agencies.


The nuclear weapon producers identified were selected on the basis of a predetermined set of criteria.
– Information on investments is publicly available.
– The company is directly involved in the development, testing, production, maintenance or trade of nuclear weapons related technology, parts, products or services.
– The company’s involvement is related to warheads, or to delivery systems such as missiles, that are specifically developed for nuclear tasks. This includes technology that is designed for ‘dual use’ (military and civilian) but excludes technology that is not designed for, but can be used in nuclear warfare. It does not include delivery platforms such as bombers and submarines.

State owned or controlled nuclear industries are outside the scope of this research, as are companies not publicly listed. Our research uncovered a number of Universities involved in nuclear weapons programmes, but these are also outside the scope of the report.

The list of nuclear weapon producers investigated was compiled through a wide variety of sources, including financial institution exclusion lists, civil society reports, media reports, etc. Additional details on the contracts and components is on the website.
We welcome information at any time about possible nuclear weapon producing companies to investigate.