First Improved W88 Nuclear Warhead For Navy's Trident Missiles Rolls Off The Assembly Line | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

First Improved W88 Nuclear Warhead For Navy's Trident Missiles Rolls Off The Assembly Line

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has announced the completion of the first production example of the improved W88 Alteration 370 warhead, or W88 Alt 370, after 11 years of work, and a major, costly delay that was first revealed more than a year ago. This modernization program is aimed at mitigating issues relating to the age of the existing stockpile of W88s and maintaining the readiness of these warheads, which are among multiple types presently available for loading into the U.S. Navy's Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The first production unit of the W88 Alt 370 was completed at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas on July 1, 2021. Specific details about the warhead are classified, but the Alt 370 upgrade package “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,” according to an official fact sheet. In addition, the effort is concurrent with "planned exchanges of limited-life, or routinely replaced, components, including the gas-transfer system and neutron generators." National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has estimated that the total cost for the program, which is expected to continue updating W88s through 2026, will be around $2.8 billion.

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