NNSA nuclear warheads activity in FY2011

The FY2011 budget request (local pdf) for the National Nuclear Security Administration submitted by the U.S. administration to Congress requests funding for a number of programs related to nuclear warheads.

The Stockpile Support component of the Stockpile Management Program "will fully support the ongoing Life Extension Programs (LEP) for the W76 warhead and the refurbishment of the B61 bomb." The request will also "initiate a study in FY 2011 to evaluate future options and approaches to maintaining the W78 warhead" (p 10).  NNSA will also continue to support W80, B83, W87, and W88 warheads (pp. 71-72).

W76 and W88 nuclear warheads are deployed on D-5 Trident II missiles. W78 and W87 are the warheads deployed on Minuteman III ICBMs. W80 is a warhead used in Air-Launched Cruise Missiles and in Tomahawk Land Attack Missile-Nuclear (TLAM-N). B61 and B83 are used in gravity bombs.

The goal of the W76 Life Extension Program is to extend life of the warhead by additional 30 years. Currently deployed W76 warheads, W76-0, will be disassembled to be used in assembly of the W76-1 life-extended warheads (see also earlier post). Full-scale production of the W76-1 is scheduled to begin by the end of FY 2013 (pp. 68-69).

No actual refurbishing activity is planned for B61 warhead. However, NNSA requested substantial funding ($252 million) for "a life extension study of the nuclear and non-nuclear components scope, including implementation of enhanced surety, extended service life and modification consolidation" (p. 70). (More on B61 refurbishing program at Nukes of Hazard.)

The Weapons Dismantlement and Disposition program will support "activity for portions of the B53, B61, W80, and B83" at Pantex (this presumably means disassembly) and disassembly and disposition of canned subassemblies (CSA) at Y-12.