Successful W87 Flight Test used CNS-made components

March 11, 2016

A W87/MK21 Flight Test was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in late October. The Minuteman III missile carried a single, hi fidelity W87/MK21 Joint Test Assembly and was launched using standard ground launch procedures. The JTA re-entry vehicle was targeted and successfully detonated in the Vicinity of Illeginni at the Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll.

CNS employees at Y-12 built the canned subassembly (with surrogate material replacing special nuclear material), and Pantex produced the high explosives and assembled the final weapon for this test. In the absence of nuclear testing, JTAs are an essential component of our ability to ensure the effectiveness of stockpile nuclear weapons. They prove that all non-special nuclear material components of the weapons and their launch systems work as designed.