Firing and Embedded Systems (F&ES)

In the F&ES group, we research, design, develop, and deliver highly reliable, trusted systems and high consequence hardware and software products to serve our National Security customers today, tomorrow, and always.

Sandia’s core purpose since 1949 has been to deliver exceptional service in the national interest. Sandia’s primary mission is ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, and reliable, and can fully support our nation’s deterrence policy. As the engineering arm of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise Sandia weaponizes the nuclear explosive package to create an effective and sustainable nuclear deterrent.

The Firing and Embedded Systems group’s unique responsibilities in nuclear deterrence create a foundation that enables us to solve complex national security problems. The F&ES group delivers engineering solutions, with a profound understanding of their functional performance, to our customers, for high consequence system applications supporting the national security mission.

Areas of Expertise

Firing Sets for Nuclear and Conventional Weapons

As stewards for the United States’ nuclear stockpile, Sandia is tasked with delivering critical firing systems for nuclear weapon life extension programs and alterations. The specialized resources and skillsets associated with these programs are often applied in a collaborative manner to benefit strategic partnerships across our government and beyond.

Nuclear Weapons Surety

The US nuclear weapons stockpile must always be available for use, if and only if, authorized by the President and must never be subject to unauthorized use. This always/never philosophy is the guiding principle behind nuclear weapons surety – the safety, security, and use control of nuclear weapons. Key aspects of nuclear weapons surety are integral to the products realized by the Firing and Embedded Systems group.

Analog Electronics Design

Analog electronics design in the Firing and Embedded Systems group spans a broad set of competencies necessary to be successful in high reliability weapons applications: high-voltage discharge circuits, pulse forming networks, high-power control system design, high-voltage generation, signal conditioning, and many more.

Electronic Survivability

Sandia has a rich history of designing and delivering data recorder and fuze hardware for weapon applications that require critical electronics and subsystems to survive extreme vibration, shock, pressure, thermal, and radiation environments. These environments are often ill-defined and difficult to understand. To be successful, Sandia engineers rely on the broad expertise and resources of the entire laboratory: high performance super computers, specialized finite element codes, and unique environmental test facilities. In doing so, Sandia continues to be a world leader in this niche field of engineering.

Applied Weapons Research

The Firing and Embedded Systems group at Sandia aims to be on the forefront of any new enabling technologies such as novel sensors, sub-components, and algorithm developments for both conventional and nuclear weapons. We interact closely with collaborators in the fuzing industry and across the DOE/DoD to address emerging threats and develop solutions to maintain effective deterrents.

Secure Processing and Cryptography

The US Government is under constant attack by hackers and spoofers. Our nation is challenged to create system designs that are resistant to a variety of attacks but are also affordable and useable. Sandia has a long history of protecting National Security Information and designing secure systems that provide a unique capability for complex security problems.