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, near the end of World War II, according to Defense News.
The weapon’s production has already drawn opposition from some members of Congress, with House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith proposing that funds for production of the weapon be cancelled.
Earlier Warrior Maven, a military weapons news outlet, reported that the Pentagon has completed draft plans for its upcoming low-yield missiles. According to the US military, the new missiles will be both ship- and submarine-launched.
In March 2018 US Commander General John Hyten of the United States Strategic Command explained to Congress in his testimony that the Pentagon requires low-yield missiles as a “deterrence weapon” that can help to “respond to the threat that Russia in particular is portraying.”
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