ABSTRACT

Low-Yield, Submarine-Launched Nuclear Warhead: Overview of the Expert Debate [Updated September 9, 2020]   [open pdf - 464KB]

From the Document: "The Trump Administration has developed a new low-yield version of the W-76 warhead for existing submarine-launched Trident II (D-5) missiles. Unclassified sources state that the current W76-1 warhead has an explosive yield of around 100 kilotons. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has said the low-yield version, the W76-2, would be configured 'for primary-only detonation.' This could mean a yield of less than 10 kilotons. Congress appropriated $65 million for the W76-2 warhead in FY2019 and $10 million to complete work in FY2020. NNSA completed the first modified warhead in February 2019 and began delivering warheads to the Navy by late 2019. The Pentagon announced that the Navy had begun to deploy the warheads on February 4, 2020. Congress authorized $19.6 million in the FY2020 NDAA (P.L. 116- 92) for the Navy to begin integrating the warhead into the submarine force. NNSA has not disclosed the total number of planned W76-2 warheads, although it is expected to be a very small portion of the W76 stockpile (estimated, in unclassified sources, to be around 1,300 total warheads)."

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF11143
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2020-09-09
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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