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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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

Pit (nuclear weapon)

The pit, named after the hard core found in fruits such as peaches and apricots, is the core of an implosion nuclear weapon – the fissile material and any neutron reflector or tamper bonded to it. Some weapons tested during the 1950s used pits made with U-235 alone, or in composite with plutonium, but all-plutonium pits are the smallest in diameter and have been the standard since the early 1960s.

Wars and warfare

Mark 4 nuclear bomb

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

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.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

Nuclear weapons and Ukraine

Prior to 1991, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and had Soviet nuclear weapons in its territory.

Wars and warfare

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.

Wars and warfare

Nuclear depth bomb

A nuclear depth bomb is the nuclear equivalent of the conventional depth charge, and can be used in anti-submarine warfare for attacking submerged submarines. The British Royal Navy, Soviet Navy, and United States Navy had nuclear depth bombs in their arsenals at one point.