Hoeven Secures Strong FY20 Funding to Extend, Refurbish Nuclear Warheads Important to Minot Air Force Base, National Defense

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, secured strong funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to extend and refurbish nuclear warheads important to Minot Air Force Base missions and the nation’s defense. The funding legislation was approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration. 

“Given the security challenges around the globe, it’s vital that we invest in our nuclear warheads and maintain our nuclear stockpile,” said Hoeven. “Just as we need to modernize our nuclear triad of submarines, aircraft and bombers, we also must extend the life of our warheads. This bill makes important investments in the nuclear complex to sustain our deterrent. These investments are vitally important for our national security, and will ensure that the men and women at Minot Air Force Base have the tools necessary for their missions.” 

Hoeven secured funding for vital nuclear upgrades including: 

  • W80-4 Cruise Missile Warhead:  Provides $899 million for continuing work on extending the life of the W80 warhead, which currently flies on the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) that is based at Minot Air Force Base. The W80-4 will be used on the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile, which will replace the ALCM around 2030.  Together, the W80-4 and LRSO will help ensure the long- term effectiveness of the bomber leg of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. 
  • W87-1 ICBM Warhead: The bill provides $112 million for the W87-1, which will be fielded by 2030 on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.  By replacing the legacy W78, which currently flies on the Minuteman III ICBM, the W87-1 will maintain continuity for the land-leg of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. 
  • Plutonium pit production: The bill fully supports the administration’s requirements for restoring the nation’s plutonium pit production capacity.  A shortage of usable pits could undermine the development of the W87-1 and future warhead programs, which are essential to ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent well into the future.