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Sensors Add to Accuracy, Power of U.S. Nuclear Weapons but May Create Security Perils

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A development flight test for the W88 Alt 370 missile.

The sensor could help pave the way for reductions in the size of the countrys nuclear arsenal.

Credit: National Nuclear Security Administration

Sensors created by Sandia National Laboratories for U.S. ballistic missiles could augment detonation timing and accuracy, enhancing nuclear warheads’ ability to strike enemy missiles, hardened command posts, and other military targets.

Sandia's Paul J. Hommert said the sensors are better at computing the best moment for blast ignition than those on existing U.S. weapons.

The warhead’s fuze, sensors, and computers are embedded within a compact capsule, which Hommert said would be installed on three new types of warheads atop land- and sea-based missiles, and partly on warheads to be carried by planes deployed in Europe.

The U.S. Air Force plans to install the technology in land-based missiles slated for deployment by the end of the decade; after that, it will be deployed on more than 1,300 warheads in the U.S. arsenal.

From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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