LX-17

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Stiffening analysis of LX-17

LX-17 is one of the two insensitive high explosives in use in U.S. nuclear weapons, the other being PBX-9502, invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory. LX-17 is used in the operational B83 strategic bomb, B61 tactical bomb and W87 Minuteman warhead. It was part of the cancelled or retired W84 Ground-Launched Cruise Missile warhead and W89 Sea Lance warhead

Developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, it is composed of 92.5% TATB explosive and 7.5% Kel-F binswe. [1] A distinction needs to be made between "LX-17 is used" and "LX-17 is the only explosive" in a given weapon. Only in the W87 and W84 is LX-17 the only explosive. "The B83, for example, has LX-10 boosters that should have an impact on the likelihood of detonation in accidents. In addition, the B61-4/7/10/11 weapons contain some LX-07 explosive."[2]

Concerns have been expressed about possible crystallization and stiffening in the W87, although the actual testing results are within design limits and may actually reflect improved plasticity. The effect, for unknown reasons, has not been observed in the B83.

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