The National Nuclear Security Administration has finished updating all of the U.S. Navy’s W76-0 nuclear warheads to the W76-1 configuration, Defense News reported Thursday.
The W76-1 warhead is intended to be installed onto the re-entry vehicle for the Trident II D5 ballistic missile launched via submarine. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of NNSA, said the agency incorporated safety features as part of its “significant modifications” to the warhead’s configuration.
NNSA commenced W76-1 production in September 2008 to extend the weapons’ service life by around 20 years. NNSA’s warhead modification effort is the first of its major life-extension initiatives underway. The agency is slated to commence production of B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs to replace predecessor variants throughout fiscal years 2020 through 2024. The project is expected to cost $7.3 to $9.5B.