The Navy is happy to share knowledge about weapons with the Air Force, so long as it does not actually have to share a nuclear weapon with the Air Force, the sea service’s director for strategic systems programs said Tuesday.
“I think a couple years ago, commonality started to put us on a path where I’m not sure it was getting the teams where it needed to get us,” Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe said during a question and answer session at the annual Naval Submarine League Symposium.
The Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines now carry Trident II-D5 missiles, tipped with W88 and W76 warheads. The successor Columbia submarines, the first of which is scheduled to begin patrols in the early 2030s, will also carry Trident missiles.
Successor missiles to Trident could carry the proposed, but unfunded, W93 warhead, which would use the Navy’s Mark 7 aeroshell: a reentry body the service is now free to develop, since the Trump administration dumped the Obama administration’s plan to pursue a so-called interoperable warhead that could have tipped both Air Force and Navy ballistic missiles.
On Tuesday, Wolfe said the Air Force and the Navy still cooperate, after a fashion, on nuclear weapons development. Or, at least, on tools that can be used to develop nuclear