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W89 nuclear warhead

The W89 was an American thermonuclear warhead design intended for use on the AGM-131 SRAM II air to ground nuclear missile.

What was to become the W89 design was awarded to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the mid-1980s. It entered Phase 2A technical definition and cost study in November, 1986. It entered Phase 3 development engineering and was assigned the numerical designation W89 in January 1988.

The W89 design was a 33.8-centimetre (13.3 in) diameter by 103.6-centimetre (40.8 in) long weapon, with a weight of 147 kilograms (324 lb) and yield of 200 kilotons.

The design was cancelled in September 1991 along with the SRAM II missile, prior to production of any units, though some test devices may have been manufactured.

Reused plutonium pits

According to one source, the plutonium cores (technically known as pits) of the W89 warheads were planned to be reused from existing W68 warhead pits, which were surplus at the time. [1]

See also


  1. BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE Southern Anti-Plutonium Campaign, Accessed 2006-05-07
  2. Design Selected for Reliable Replacement Warhead, NNSA Press release, March 2, 2007.
  3. Govt. Picks Design for Nuclear Warhead, NY Times / AP, March 2, 2007
  4. Scientists Dream Up New Nukes, Ira Hoffman, Alameda Times-Star, Feb 6, 2006. Accessed March 2, 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 An Assessment of US Nuclear Weapons and related Nuclear Test requirements: a post-Bush analysis, URCL-LR-109503, R.E. Kidder, 1991. Accessed March 2, 2007
  6. Report to Congress: Assessment of the Safety of US Nuclear Weapons and Related Nuclear Test Requirements, URCL-LR-107454, R.E. Kidder, 1991, Accessed March 2, 2007
  7. Pit Tubes and Pit Re-Use at Pantex, in Plutonium: the last Five Years, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, 2001, accessed March 2, 2007
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