After a decade of work, the US will have a new W88 warhead
WASHINGTON, BM – The US Armed Forces will have a new warhead from the W88 series, after the first sample of the W88 Alt 370 model was presented by the National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA], learned BulgarianMilitary.com. This means that the W88 Alt 370 will be on the production line and by 2026 the entire project will spend approximately $ 2.8 billion.
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The NNSA is an agency of the US Department of Energy and has been working on the new warhead for 11 years. During these years, the project was accompanied by various obstacles, with experts noting that the biggest was not the development or improvement of the W88, but the money that the project has spent so far.
The United States needs new warheads for its armed forces. That is why this program is mostly related to the age of the existing stocks that are still in service with the Americans. The W88 is a key warhead, especially for the US Navy, as it represents the largest percentage used in loading naval Trident D5 ballistic missiles.
“The W88 Alt 370 is a crucial part of Nation’s strategy for the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad, and a testament to the Enterprise’s ability to execute major modernization programs,” Dr. Charles Verdon, acting NNSA administrator said.
W88 began its existence in the late 80’s in Los Angeles. In the same year, the serial production of the warhead began. The warheads have an estimated yield of 475 kilotons and can be used in blasting or contact detonation methods. According to unconfirmed information, the United States has produced about 400 warheads from the 1980s to the present. W88 differs in small size, which allows them to be integrated on different missiles and, accordingly, on different sized vessels.
The new warhead W88 Alt 370 will be manufactured at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas. The United States does not provide more information about the new characteristics of the warhead, but according to the officially distributed document “replaces the arming, fuzing, and firing subsystem, adds a lightning arrestor connector, and refreshes the conventional high explosives within the weapon to enhance nuclear safety and support future life extension program options.”
The National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] estimates that the total cost of the program, which is expected to continue updating W88 until 2026, will be about $ 2.8 billion.
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