Major Milestone Reached for Key Weapons Component

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Mark 21 Fuze
Sandia National Laboratories tests a prototype of the Mark 21 fuze to ensure it meets requirements and specifications. The first production unit of the fuze, which will be installed in a weapons system, was accepted in March (photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories).

May 21, 2024 | Originally published by Sandia National Laboratories on April 23, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories and the Kansas City National Security Campus completed a crucial weapons component development milestone, prior to full rate production.

The Mark 21 Replacement Fuze interfaces with the W87-0 warhead for deployment onto the Minuteman III and, eventually, the Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

The first production unit of the replacement fuze was approved through the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) rigorous Quality Assurance Inspection Procedure in March.

The Mark 21 fuze, an integrated assembly of Sandia-designed logic and sensing devices, directs the warhead to initiate firing sequences at the correct point in targeting parameters. The Mark 21 Fuze Replacement Program is a Strategic Partnership Program effort between the NNSA and the U.S. Air Force.

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