(from Weekly news, week ending 11/1/13)
LLNL served as technical lead and integrator on an important recent test to assess a new conventional warhead designed by the Lab. Dave Hare, LLNL's program manager of the test, called it an "unequivocal success." Below are excerpts from the DoD press release on the successful test conducted at the Holloman High Speed Test Track (Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.).
DoD successfully conducts warhead sled test
The Defense Department announced recently the successful testing of an advanced conventional precision effects warhead, a critical part of a national effort to establish a conventional prompt strike capability. This capability will contribute to the country's ability to defend its interests with precision weapons at hypersonic speeds. During an interview with American Forces Press Service, Susan Hurd, special assistant to the director of strategic warfare, called the test "a significant technology advancement." She noted, "The successful execution of this high-speed sled test of a Kinetic Energy Projectile warhead was a necessary step in the progression to a conventional prompt strike capability. Now that we've demonstrated that the warhead functions in a flight representative environment, we're one important step closer to that goal. High performance computer modeling and simulation as well as a series of small scale and static tests have already been done on this warhead. But in order to assess its performance in flight conditions, you have to do the dynamic test - you have to do the sled test." Hurd emphasized this test was "critical" in order to subject the warhead to the "dynamic environment it would see in flight." During the test, the sled train exceeded 3,500 feet- per-second -- greater than Mach 3 or three times the speed of sound. In addition to testing the warhead under the dynamic conditions of flight, a second objective was to collect data to update and verify computer modeling and simulation codes that enable us to predict warhead performance.