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How Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. Navy

/discover/features/mission-focus/w76asset-ownerScott Faulk/Pat Fierro (Diana del Mauro)NotestypebreadcrumbHow Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. Navysite://Green/discover/features/mission-focus/w76Greenw76How Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. NavyHow Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. NavyHow Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. NavyFeb 11, 2019 12:00 AMImage/_assets/images/xtransparent.gifsite://Green/_assets/images/xtransparent.gifGreenxtransparent.gif64/_assets/images/xtransparent.gifsite://Green/_assets/images/xtransparent.gifGreenxtransparent.gifxInternal/mission/nuclear-deterrenceasset-ownerScott FaulkNotesbreadcrumbNuclear Deterrence and Stockpile Stewardshipsite://Green/mission/nuclear-deterrenceGreennuclear-deterrenceDeterrence and Stockpile StewardshipNuclear Deterrence and Stockpile StewardshipNuclear Deterrence and Stockpile StewardshipTom Harper, Chief Information Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of EnergyWhile the role and prominence of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy has diminished with the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons continue to provide an essential component of national security.Apr 6, 2018 12:00 AM/_assets/2018/images/radioactive.svgNotessite://Green/_assets/2018/images/radioactive.svgGreenradioactive.svgradioactiveradioactiveradioactiveProtecting Against Nuclear ThreatsInternal/mission/nuclear-threatsasset-ownerScott FaulkNotesbreadcrumbProtecting Against Nuclear Threatssite://Green/mission/nuclear-threatsGreennuclear-threatsProtecting Against Nuclear ThreatsProtecting Against Nuclear Threatsprotection, nuclear, threats, security, scienceTom Harper, Chief Information Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of EnergyProtecting against nuclear threatsApr 6, 2018 12:00 AM/_assets/2018/images/lock.svgNotessite://Green/_assets/2018/images/lock.svgGreenlock.svglocklocklockEmerging Threats, CybersecurityInternal/mission/emerging-threatsasset-ownerScott FaulkNotesbreadcrumbEmerging Threats and Opportunitiessite://Green/mission/emerging-threatsGreenemerging-threatsEmerging Threats and OpportunitiesEmerging Threats and OpportunitiesEmerging Threats and OpportunitiesTom Harper, Chief Information Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of EnergyEmerging Threats and OpportunitiesJun 20, 2018 12:00 AM/_assets/2018/images/globe.svgNotessite://Green/_assets/2018/images/globe.svgGreenglobe.svgglobeglobeglobeEnergy Security SolutionsInternal/mission/energy-securityasset-ownerScott FaulkNotesbreadcrumbEnergy Security Solutionssite://Green/mission/energy-securityGreenenergy-securityEnergy Security SolutionsEnergy Security Solutionsenergy, security, solutions, science, challengesTom Harper, Chief Information Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of EnergyLos Alamos is using its world-class scientific capabilities to enhance national energy securityMay 2, 2018 12:00 AM/newsroom/indexasset-ownerScottNotesbreadcrumbNewsroomsite://Green/newsroom/indexGreenindexNewsroomNewsroomWe are committed to active participation in the community and to cleanup and restoration of the local environment in and around Los Alamos as well as protection of air and water in New MexicoNewsroomNews stories, news releases, science columns, photos, news trends and more about Los Alamos National Laboratory, located in Northern New Mexico, USA.Jan 17, 2017 12:00 AMComputingExternal/http://www.lanl.gov/newsroom/news-releases/computing/index.phpExternalhttp://discovermagazine.com/~/media/5C37F2C848A94C01B22D00CD2EEB9AE9.ashx?w=900&h=942&mw=900&bc=transparent&as=1&thn=1Digital matter inside a 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She is now an R&D engineer on the Lab’s Target Engineering team, where she designs targets that physicists put in the path of lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the University of Rochester. The experimental campaigns serve Stockpile Stewardship and the efforts to achieve. 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That same tinkering streak serves him well today as he oversees all pulsed laser deposition operations for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos. Innovation drives his contributions to a range of projects, from chemical lasers to the R&D 100 award-winning flexible superconducting tape.Internalhttp://via.placeholder.com/450x450http://via.placeholder.com/100x100Character Thumbnail/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/_assets/images/dowden2.jpgNotestypebreadcrumbPaul Dowdensite://Green/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/_assets/images/dowden2.jpgGreendowden2.jpgPaul DowdenPaul DowdenPaul DowdenPaul DowdenPaul DowdenMay 2, 2017 12:00 AM/_assets/2018/images/dowden-thumbnail.jpgNotessite://Green/_assets/2018/images/dowden-thumbnail.jpgGreendowden-thumbnail.jpgtana-thumbnail.pngtana-thumbnail.pngTana's face in clear viewInternal/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/paul-dowdenNotesbreadcrumbBeing Innovative: Paul Dowdensite://Green/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/paul-dowdenGreenpaul-dowdenInnovative: Paul DowdenBeing Innovative: Paul DowdenWe are committed to active participation in the community and to cleanup and restoration of the local environment in and around Los Alamos as well as protection of air and water in New MexicoThe Laboratory’s Purpose Statement identifies nine positive character traits that call out who we strive to be as a community and what we want to be known for.Being Innovative: Paul DowdenA monthly profile series featuring a Lab employee who exemplifies one of 9 traits identified in the Laboratory’s Purpose Statement.Mar 1, 2017 12:00 AMRusty GrayGeorge (Rusty) Thompson Gray III is a tactile person. As a Los Alamos materials scientist, he uses high-powered gas guns to subject materials to dynamic forces, examining the resulting damage patterns to understand why materials fail. For more than 30 years, Gray has made essential contributions to the Laboratory’s national security science mission. He’s made a name for himself within the materials science community.Internalhttp://via.placeholder.com/450x450http://via.placeholder.com/100x100Character Thumbnail/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/_assets/images/rusty-banner2.jpgNotestypebreadcrumbPaul Dowdensite://Green/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/_assets/images/rusty-banner2.jpgGreenrusty-banner2.jpgRusty GrayRusty GrayRusty GrayRusty GrayRusty GrayMay 2, 2017 12:00 AM/_assets/2018/images/rusty-thumbnail.jpgNotessite://Green/_assets/2018/images/rusty-thumbnail.jpgGreenrusty-thumbnail.jpgBeing Scientific: Rusty GrayBeing Scientific: Rusty GrayBeing Scientific: Rusty GrayInternal/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/rusty-grayNotesbreadcrumbBeing Scientific: Rusty Graysite://Green/careers/diversity-inclusion/lab-character/rusty-grayGreenrusty-grayScientific: Rusty GrayBeing Scientific: Rusty GrayWe are committed to active participation in the community and to cleanup and restoration of the local environment in and around Los Alamos as well as protection of air and water in New MexicoThe Laboratory’s Purpose Statement identifies nine positive character traits that call out who we strive to be as a community and what we want to be known for.Being Scientific: Rusty GrayA monthly profile series featuring a Lab employee who exemplifies one of 9 traits identified in the Laboratory’s Purpose Statement.Mar 1, 2017 12:00 AMVeronica LivescuVeronica Livescu’s career has taken quite a turn since she earned her master’s in aerospace engineering in Romania in 1991. 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MISSION FOCUS

W76

How Los Alamos helped extend the life of the W76 warhead for the U.S. Navy

Originally designed by Los Alamos, the W76 entered the stockpile in 1978. Thousands of Los Alamos employees have helped modernize it.

Teamwork and dedication

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration marked the completion of the Program of Record for the W76-1 Mk 4A Life Extension Program (LEP) on Jan. 24 at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

The W76-1 is a modernized W76-0 warhead, which is a submarine-launched ballistic missile system first introduced into the stockpile for the U.S. Navy in 1978. This LEP has strengthened the safety and security of the United States and its allies by extending the warhead’s service life for another 20 years.

"A great deal of teamwork and dedication went into this incredible achievement. People all across our country did their part to make the delivery of this refurbished warhead possible, and they did it ahead of schedule and under budget," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

The LEP has been underway since 2008 and, in partnership with the Navy, every one of NNSA’s Nuclear Security Enterprise’s labs, plants and sites contributed to this major modernization program.

A W76-1 test assembly is subjected to a shock wave, ensuring the system can survive a variety of stresses.

A W76-1 test assembly is subjected to a shock wave, ensuring the system can survive a variety of stresses.

Contributions of Los Alamos

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, thousands of employees have been involved in the modernization effort. All the physics component design and engineering, and much of the qualification work, were performed at Los Alamos.

"This is one of the most significant accomplishments for Los Alamos National Laboratory since the end of the Cold War," said James Owen, associate director for Weapons Engineering. "This achievement can only be done through the concerted efforts of the entire Laboratory. I’d personally like to thank every employee at the Laboratory who contributed to this important project."

The W76 warhead was originally designed by Los Alamos. There are more W76 warheads in the U.S. nuclear stockpile than any other type of warhead.

In addition to Secretary Perry and NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Department of Defense, state and local dignitaries and representatives from across the Nuclear Security Enterprise attended the Jan. 24 commemoration at the Pantex Plant. Laboratory Director Thom Mason, Deputy Director of Weapons Bob Webster, James Owen and several Los Alamos employees associated with the W76 program were present.

"I am proud of the leadership Los Alamos exhibited, from originally designing the W76 warhead to breathing new life into it through an arduous modernization effort," Director Mason said. "This was a decade-long effort that drew on employees from different parts of the Lab and demonstrated steadfast dedication to our national security mission."

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty tweeted this photo, saying "Congrats to @PantexPLant

On Jan. 24, NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty tweeted this photo, saying "Congrats to @PantexPLant and the entire #nuclear security enterprise on completing the W76-1 LEP ahead of schedule and within budget."

More modernization efforts underway

The nation’s nuclear warheads are now at their lowest number since the 1950s, according to a recent NNSA report to Congress. Meanwhile, the average warhead age has climbed steadily, hovering above 30 years old.

NNSA tracks the age of each weapon as well as the age of each component within every nuclear weapon. "The age of each weapon is taken from the day that final assembly at the Pantex Plant is completed," explains an NNSA report, and following a major LEP “the weapon is certified by the national security laboratories for an additional 20-30 years, depending on the weapon type and modernization conducted."

Los Alamos designed five of the seven types of warheads in the U.S. nuclear stockpile, which provides the nation — and its allies — with a safe, secure and effective deterrent to deal with 21st century security challenges.

Los Alamos, along with Sandia National Laboratories, is responsible for the W78 warhead and B61 bomb, and the submarine-launched W76 and W88 warheads. As with the W76, Los Alamos is leading the effort to modernize the B61-12 and the W88, with a target completion date of 2024.

"The success we’ve achieved on the W76-1 is a testament to our ability across the Nuclear Security Enterprise to deliver on commitments to the Department of Defense, Congress and the American people,” said Gordon-Hagerty. “With this proven path forward, we will continue to make progress on our other modernization programs, including the B61-12, W80-4 and the W88 Alteration 370."

The W76 is delivered via the Trident II,

The W76 is delivered via the Trident II, D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile. This image shows the D5 being tested.