The W62 warhead was designed by Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories. It was first deployed in the 1970’s and retired from service on 19 Mar 2010. While the actual production numbers in the stockpile are classified, the W62 played a significant role in the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
The W62 warhead was a reentry vehicle that was launched on the Air Force’s Minuteman III missile, which is still in use today.
The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration began the W62 dismantlement program in 2005. NNSA’s Pantex Plant outside Amarillo, TX, developed special tooling and demonstrated the ability to rapidly dismantle this system in a safe and secure manner.
As a result, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced on August 11, 2010 that the last W62 had been dismantled, completing the program more than one full year ahead of schedule.
Background on U.S. Dismantlement Programs
In May 2010, the United States released newly declassified information on the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. Increasing the transparency of global nuclear stockpiles is important to nonproliferation efforts and to pursuing follow-on reductions after the ratification and entry into force of the New START Treaty that covers all nuclear weapons.
Warhead Dismantlement. From fiscal years 1994 through 2009, the United States dismantled 8,748 nuclear warheads. Several thousand additional nuclear weapons are currently retired and awaiting dismantlement.