With its work on the refurbished W76-1, Sandia has played a crucial support role in the Life Extension Program (LEP) to replace the W76-0 warhead.
Nick DeReu, manager of Sandia’s W76-1 LEP Dept. 2222, says the Labs management and staff are integrated closely with a team from across the nuclear security enterprise (NSE) and with NNSA’s Navy customer.
NNSA announced last month that it had reached the halfway point in the production phase of the W76-1 LEP. An event Oct. 23 at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, underscored NNSA’s commitment to meeting the Navy’s requirements for the W76-1.
Gen. Frank G. Klotz, NNSA administrator, was on hand to thank the NSE team that helped achieve the production milestone. “The W76-1 Life Extension Program is one of several steps we must take as a nation to ensure that America’s smaller nuclear arsenal remains safe, secure, and effective,” he said.
“This is indeed a significant milestone for our nation and our Navy,” said Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of the Strategic Systems Programs. “Through the Navy’s continued partnership with NNSA, the team has achieved this important milestone, and I look forward to completion of W76-1 production before the decade is out.”
Sandia is responsible for numerous critical components, as well as system integration for the W76-1 warhead.
The W76-1 program remains a significant effort at Sandia, supported by organization 400 and numerous centers in divisions 1000, 2000, and 5000, Nick says. Sandia’s release of updated weapon response information in July 2013 marked another significant milestone for the program.
The W76-1 LEP involves engineers and technicians from NNSA’s Pantex Plant, the Y-12 National Security Complex, Savannah River Site, National Security Campus in Kansas City, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia. The first production unit of the W76-1 LEP was completed in September 2008. The program remains on track to produce and deliver warheads to the Navy in keeping with its commitment to complete production no later than the end of FY2019.