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Nuclear weapons

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Wars and warfare

Little Boy

"Little Boy" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 during World War II. It was the first nuclear weapon used in warfare. The bomb was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city. The Hiroshima bombing was the second nuclear explosion in history, after the Trinity test, and the first uranium-based detonation.

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Thermonuclear weapon

A thermonuclear weapon is a second-generation nuclear weapon design using a secondary nuclear fusion stage consisting of implosion tamper, fusion fuel, and spark plug which is bombarded by the energy released by the detonation of a primary fission bomb within, compressing the fuel material and causing a fusion reaction. Some advanced designs use fast neutrons produced by this second stage to ignite a third fast fission or fusion stage. The fission bomb and fusion fuel are placed near each other in a special radiation-reflecting container called a radiation case that is designed to contain x-rays for as long as possible. The result is greatly increased explosive power when compared to single-stage fission weapons. The device is colloquially referred to as a hydrogen bomb or, an H-bomb, because it employs the fusion of isotopes of hydrogen.

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B61 nuclear bomb

The B61 nuclear bomb is the primary thermonuclear gravity bomb in the United States Enduring Stockpile following the end of the Cold War. It is a low to intermediate-yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon featuring a two-stage radiation implosion design.

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B53 nuclear bomb

The Mk/B53 was a high-yield bunker buster thermonuclear weapon developed by the United States during the Cold War. Deployed on Strategic Air Command bombers, the B53, with a yield of 9 megatons, was the most powerful weapon in the U.S. nuclear arsenal after the last B41 nuclear bombs were retired in 1976.

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Tactical nuclear weapon

A tactical nuclear weapon (TNW) or non-strategic nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon, generally smaller in its explosive power, which is designed to be used on a battlefield in military situations, mostly with friendly forces in proximity and perhaps even on contested friendly territory. This is in contrast to strategic nuclear weapons which are designed to be mostly targeted in the enemy interior away from the war front against military bases, cities, towns, arms industries, and other hardened or larger-area targets to damage the enemy's ability to wage war. Tactical nuclear weapons were a large part of the peak nuclear weapons stockpile levels during the Cold War.

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Gun-type fission weapon

Gun-type fission weapons are fission-based nuclear weapons whose design assembles their fissile material into a supercritical mass by the use of the "gun" method: shooting one piece of sub-critical material into another. Although this is sometimes pictured as two sub-critical hemispheres driven together to make a supercritical sphere, typically a hollow projectile is shot onto a spike which fills the hole in its center. Its name is a reference to the fact that it is shooting the material through an artillery barrel as if it were a projectile. Other potential arrangements may include firing two pieces into each other simultaneously, though whether this approach has been used in actual weapons designs is unknown.

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Thin Man (nuclear bomb)

"Thin Man" was the code name for a proposed plutonium gun-type nuclear bomb using plutonium-239 which the United States was developing during the Manhattan Project. They aborted its development when they discovered that the spontaneous fission rate of their nuclear reactor-bred plutonium was too high for use in a gun-type design, due to the high concentration of the isotope plutonium-240.

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RDS-1

The RDS-1, also known as Izdeliye 501 and First Lightning, was the nuclear bomb used in the Soviet Union's first nuclear weapon test. The United States assigned it the code-name Joe-1, in reference to Joseph Stalin. It was detonated on 29 August 1949 at 7:00 a.m., at Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR, after top-secret research and development as part of the Soviet atomic bomb project.

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Mark 4 nuclear bomb

The Mark 4 nuclear bomb was an American nuclear bomb design produced starting in 1949 and in use until 1953.

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Suitcase nuclear device

A suitcase nuclear device is a hypothetical tactical nuclear weapon that is portable enough that it could use a suitcase as its delivery method.

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B43 nuclear bomb

The B43 was a United States air-dropped variable yield nuclear weapon used by a wide variety of fighter bomber and bomber aircraft.

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Mark 7 nuclear bomb

Mark 7 "Thor" was the first tactical fission bomb adopted by US armed forces. It was also the first weapon to be delivered using the toss method with the help of the low-altitude bombing system (LABS). The weapon was tested in Operation Buster-Jangle. To facilitate external carry by fighter-bomber aircraft, Mark 7 was fitted with retractable stabilizer fins. The Mark 7 warhead (W7) also formed the basis of the 30.5 inches (775 mm) BOAR rocket, the Mark 90 Betty nuclear depth charge, MGR-1 Honest John rocket, and MGM-5 Corporal ballistic missile. It was also supplied for delivery by Royal Air Force Canberra aircraft assigned to NATO in Germany under the command of SACEUR. This was done under the auspices of Project E, an agreement between the United States and the UK on the RAF carriage of US nuclear weapons. In UK use it was designated 1,650 lb. H.E. M.C. The Mark 7 was in service from 1952 to 1967(8) with 1700–1800 having been built.

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Yellow Sun (nuclear weapon)

Yellow Sun was the first British operational high-yield strategic nuclear weapon. The name actually refers only to the outer casing; the warhead was known as "Green Grass" and "Red Snow". The ENI or electronic neutron initiator (generator) was Blue Stone.

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Blue Danube (nuclear weapon)

Blue Danube was the first operational British nuclear weapon. It also went by a variety of other names, including Smallboy, the Mk.1 Atom Bomb, Special Bomb and OR.1001, a reference to the Operational Requirement it was built to fill.

Wars and warfare

Mark 45 torpedo

The Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedo, a.k.a. ASTOR, was a submarine-launched wire-guided nuclear torpedo designed by the United States Navy for use against high-speed, deep-diving, enemy submarines. The 19-inch (480 mm)-diameter torpedo was fitted with a W34 nuclear warhead. The need to maintain direct control over the warhead meant that a wire connection had to be maintained between the torpedo and submarine until detonation. Wire guidance systems were piggybacked onto this cable, and the torpedo had no homing capability. The design was completed in 1960, and 600 torpedoes were built between 1963 and 1976, when ASTOR was replaced by the Mark 48 torpedo.