WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in close working cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, recently conducted a successful test of a Joint Test Assembly (JTA) for the W80 warhead.
A JTA is a set of sensors and hardware used during flight tests to ensure that weapons perform as designed. The purpose of the test was to evaluate overall performance of the nuclear cruise missile weapon system.
The JTAs are produced by NNSA in support of the Joint Flight Test Program between the Department of Defense and NNSA. The JTAs are built to simulate the actual weapon configuration and use as much war reserve hardware as feasible.
"This successful test illustrates that NNSA and the DoD are committed to ensuring that all weapon systems perform as designed," said Brig. Gen. Garrett Harencak. "This strong working cooperation is vital to U.S. national security."
The W80 JTA was on board a B52-H and flown by the 5th Bomb Wing from Minot Air Force Base. The flight was launched on an Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) at the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR).
The JTA includes a telemetry system which is used to collect and transmit data on the warhead. The data is fed into a reliability model developed by Sandia National Laboratories to evaluate the warhead reliability.
The Air Force assesses missile performance and reliability and NNSA assesses the same for the warhead.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit www.nnsa.energy.gov  for more information.
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