The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has completed the first production unit of the modernized version of a 1980s era nuclear warhead at the Pantex Plant in Texas.
The W88 Alteration 370 is designed to keep the aging W88/Mk5 strategic deterrent ready for launch onboard the U.S. Navy's Ohio-class submarines whenever needed, the Department of Energy said Tuesday.
The NNSA, DOE and the Department of Defense achieved the milestone a month ahead of schedule and after over 11 years of design, development, qualification and production processes.
Charles Verdon, the acting NNSA administrator, described the achievement as a testament to the capability of his organization's Nuclear Security Enterprise to modernize major systems.
"As we continue to modernize the stockpile, the successes and lessons learned from this program will bolster our future warhead activities to provide a safe, secure and reliable deterrent," continued Verdon.
According to the NNSA, the milestone was made possible with the help of the Enterprise, Navy Strategic Systems Program Office and a number of naval contractors.