The first flight and drop tests for the latest variant of the W88 nuclear warhead are providing data for Sandia National Laboratories to validate designs, improve computer modeling and update component specifications.
The two successful tests, which were conducted this summer, provide data for the program, the W88 ALT 370 (alteration), to move forward, The Critical Radar Arming and Fuzing Test (CRAFT) was the first flight test of a prototype radar for the W88 ALT 370. CRAFT demonstrated how the radar performed during re-entry through plasma generated by the hypersonic speeds at which the warhead travels.
About the photo: Sandiaperformed a drop test for the W88 ALT 370 program, designed to replicate a crane accidentally dropping the re-entry body onto a concrete surface. The test was conducted at Sandia’s 185-foot Drop Tower Facility, using the same handling gear a crane would use to move the weapon.