Last updated 1 September 2001
The W-76 is the warhead used with the Mk 4 reentry vehicle which arms Trident I (C-4) and Trident II (D-5) submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Designed for use on MIRV (multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle) bus upper stage.
|Number In Service||3000|
Two stage thermonuclear warhead
RV CEP (circle error probability) is 1250 feet
Probably contains beryllium reflected plutonium core
Probable thermonuclear fuel is lithium-6 deuteride.
Trident I C-4 (UGM-96A) or Trident II D-5 SLBM. Trident I can carry 8 W-76s (up to 14 with reduced range), the Trident II can also carry 14 (without reduced range). Based on Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
Designed and developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Development cost for this warhead was $128 million.
Developmental problems were encountered, including an unexpectedly low test yield after a minor design change, and the discovery of nuclear effects vulnerability in the fuzing and firing system.
|May 1973||Development engineering begun at LANL|
|November 1975||Production engineering begun|
|June 1978||First production units completed|
|November 1978||Quantity production begun|
|July 1987||Production completed|
Initial manufacture June 1978
Initial deployment 1978
About 3000 W-76 warheads have been manufactured.
Currently in service: 3000 warheads
Under START II 1280 W-76 warheads will be kept in service. The remainder will be retained permanently as part of the enduring stockpile either in the ready "hedge" stockpile, or in the reactivatable "inactive " stockpile.