The mass production of W76-2, the small-capacity nuclear warheads began at Pantax Plant in Texas. The devices will be set on all Trident II (D5) ballistic missiles employed by the U.S. military.
According to Defense News, which refers to the NNSA, the National Nuclear Safety Agency, the U.S. Navy will get the first batch of new warheads in September. The actual number of those is not disclosed.
'NNSA is on track to complete the W76-2 Initial Operational Capability warhead quantity and deliver the units to the Navy by the end of Fiscal Year 2019,” an agency spokesman said. The spokesman noted only the IOC units will be delivered this year, but declined to say how many warheads make up that total. The warhead design is a modification of the W76-1 warhead for the Navy’s Trident ballistic missile, which has allowed NNSA to quickly turn around the design since it was ordered in last year’s Nuclear Posture Review. The warhead is designed to be smaller than the weapon detonated at Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II', reads the message as posted by Defense News.
Pentagon also plans to create small-capacity nuclear warheads for the sea-based cruise missiles, which are to be set on the submarines and warships.
Previously, the U.S. Department of Defense argumented the necessity to deploy the small-capacity nuclear weapons, aiming for effective deterrence of Russia, which, in turn, won't let it use its own potential of the tactical nuclear weaponry.