United States nuclear weapons/Related Articles
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- United States nuclear program : The full range of commercial, government, and research nuclear programs in the United States, under the regulation of the U.S. Department of Energy
- Los Alamos National Laboratory : A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory located in Los Alamos, New Mexico and originally the development and construction center of nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project for use by the United States in World War II.
- Manhattan Project : Code name for the U.S. nuclear weapon development program in the World War II
- Nuclear weapon : A weapon that produces extremely powerful explosions from principles involving subatomic particle reactions, rather than the chemical reactions among atoms that power conventional explosives
- Strategic nuclear weapon : A nuclear weapon used deep enemy territory, affecting military forces in the homeland, or population, industry, and infrastructure; often launched from outside the theater of operations
- Tactical nuclear weapon : Nuclear weapons used by land, sea, or air forces against enemy forces, supporting installations or facilities, in support of operations that contribute to the accomplishment of a military mission of limited scoper usually limited to the area of military operations; usually smaller than strategic weapons; largely replaced by precision guided munitions
- Single Integrated Operational Plan : The U.S. plan and doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons in a large campaign, prepared for all services by the United States Strategic Command, based on Joint Chiefs of Staff guidance
- United States Strategic Command : The U.S. unified headquarters for the missions of worldwide nuclear and conventional precision strike; command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of strategic operations; global network operations of the Global Information Grid, information operations, ballistic missile defense, and reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction threats
- National Nuclear Security Administration : Add brief definition or description
- Defense Threat Reduction Agency : U.S. Department of Defense organization whose origins trace back to the first nuclear training, which acquired arms control and counterproliferation responsibilities, and has diversified from nuclear only to add chemical and biological portfolios
- Arms control : Treaties and implementation agreements to restrict the development, production, deployment, or transfer of specified weapons or weapons technologies.
- National technical means of verification : Euphemism principally for imagery intelligence satellites and other means of strategic arms control verification, principally because the Soviet Union did not want its public to know that they could not prevent Western observation of the state
- W88 SLBM warhead : Intermediate yield strategic MIRV warhead used on the UGM-133 Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile, with high accuracy and increased safeguards, although not insensitive high explosives that would not improve safety on a submarine
- W87 ICBM warhead : Intermediate yield thermonuclear weapon used to arm LGM-30 Minuteman III ICBMs after arms control treaties changed them from MIRV to single warhead; had been warhead for Peacekeeper single-warhead ICBM; safeguards include enhanced electrical isolation, LX-17 insensitive high explosive and a fire-resistant pit
- B83 bomb : A thermonuclear gravity bomb whose variable yield can be set to the highest (1-2 MtSymbol error) of any deployed U.S. nuclear weapon; uses LX-17 explosive
- B61 bomb : A thermonuclear fusion device implemented as a "tactical" gravity bomb that has a low to medium variable yield; the B61-11 version has limited ground penetration capability
- W80 air-launched cruise missile warhead : -0 warhead for retired UGM-109 submarine-launched and -1 for AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) and AGM-129 stealth cruise missile; variable yield up to 200 kt.
Recently retired or stockpiled
- B53 high-yield bomb : 9MT bomb, highest yield in recent years (replaced the highest-yield B41 bomb); same "physics package" as W53 warhead for the Titan II
Cancelled in development
- W89 : Warhead for the SEA LANCE follow-on for the anti-submarine warfare SUBROC
- W90 : Warhead for AGM-131A SRAM II missile for B-1 Lancer; cancelled due to both rocket problems and arms control; used PBX-9502
- W91 : AGM-131B SRAM-T missile warhead for F-15 Eagle; cancelled due to both rocket problems and arms control; used PBX-9502; 300+ kt yield
Obviated by arms control
- W78 : multiple warhead for LGM-30 Minuteman; Minuteman loading reduced to single warhead; used PBX-9501 explosive; 350 kt.
- W84 : Airburst warhead for the Pershing II; came under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty; derivative of the B61 bomb
- W85 : Air-burst 400 kt nuclear weapon for the Pershing II
- Little Boy (nuclear weapon) : Code name for the first nuclear weapon used in warfare, dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945; gun-type uranium fission; also designated Mark I
- Fat Man (nuclear weapon) : The nuclear weapon used to destroy Nagasaki, Japan and it was the first operational fission device using implosion of a plutonium core.
- Mark 4 : Still first-generation but a production-quality, re-engineered version of the Fat Man bomb, the yield of which could be varied from 1, 3.5, 8, 14, 21, 22, and 31 kt TNT equivalent by exchanging the plutonium pits; first weapon made on an assembly line rather than by hand; design ancestor of the British Blue Danube bomb
- Mark 5 : Second-generation, reduced weight implosion fission bomb; yield variable (6, 16, 55, 60, 100, 120 kt) by exchanging "pits", 140 produced; operational 1952-1963 and served as Primary for experimental fusion devices
- Mark 6 : Essentially a re-engineered Mark 4 nuclear weapon, lighter in weight but still with the awkward swollen melon shape of the Fat Man nuclear weapon that prevented delivery by fighter planes; yield range went higher than the Mark 4: 8, 26, 80, 154, or 160 kt of TNT equivalent; in service 1951-1962; 1100 were built.
- Mark 7 : First tactical nuclear weapon, a 20 kt device that could be carried externally on jet aircraft as well as in bomb bays; longest service of any U.S. weapon (1952-1967) streamlined shape compatible with "toss-bombing" in the Low Altitude Bombing System
- Mark 8 : Add brief definition or description
- W9 : First nuclear artillery shell, for a specialized 280mm cannon; 80 shells built for 20 cannons; 1952-1957; remanufactured into T4 atomic demolition munition; nuclear artillery mission generally went to standard howitzers
- Mark 9 : Atomic demolition munition, also known as the T4, remanufactured from the W9 280mm warhead
- Mark 11 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 12 : 250 produced and deployed between 1954 and 1962; 12 & 14 kt high-speed delivery tactical bomb; pioneered beryllium reflector and 92-point implosion system; coded "Brok" or "Brock"
- Mark 14 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 15 : First "lightweight" U.S. thermonuclear bomb with 1.68-3.8 Mt yield; 1200 produced 1955-1957; retired 1961-1965; minimal thermonuclear fuel in Secondary with most yield coming from uranium tamper; one remains lost in water off Savannah, Georgia near Tybee Island
- Mark 16 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 17 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 18 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 19 : An improved derivative of the W9 nuclear artillery shell, 15-20 kiloton yield
- Mark 21 : Add brief definition or description
- Mark 23 : Mark 19 warhead repackaged into a High Capacity shell casing for the 16"-50 caliber MK 7 naval gun
- Mark 24 : Add brief definition or description
- B28 : Bomb in use for 33 years (1958-1991), 4500 built in 20 variants with multiple Permissive Action Link types over lifetime; yields from 70 Kt to 1.45 Mt; replaced by B61 and B83 bombs; W28 warhead was same physics package and British Red Beard was a derivative; 1-point safety problem with primary stopped initial production run.
- W28 : Warhead version of B28 bomb for AGM-28 Hound Dog air-launched and MGM-13 Mace ground-launched cruise missiles; W49 was a derivative
- Mark 39 : U.S. thermonuclear weapon, derived from the Mark 15; 700 built between 1957 and 1959, retired between 1962 and 1966; 3 and 4 Mt versions; fuzed for airburst, contact and low-level retarded laydown; safety improved but still alleged to have come close to explosion in 1961 after an aircraft accident
- Mark 41 : Highest-yield bomb (25 Mt) ever deployed by the United States; three-stage design; 1960-1977; replaced by B53 9 Mt bomb; two versions, one "clean" with lower yield and one "dirty" with greater fallout and yield.
- B43 : Extensively produced thermonuclear bomb (1000) with multiple delivery options and yields (500kt-1Mt), 1961-1991; used problematic PBX-9404 explosive.
- W48 : Add brief definition or description
- W54 family : The lowest-yield nuclear weapon ever deployed by the United States, used in a variety of delivery systems including man-portable atomic demolition munitions, artillery shells, and air-to-air missiles
- W49 : 1.44 Mt thermonuclear warhead for several U.S. intermediate range and intercontinental ballistic missiles, in service from 1959 to 1964
- B57 : U.S. Navy tactical fission bomb and depth charge
- W68 (nuclear weapon) : Add brief definition or description
- W70 (nuclear weapon) : Warhead for the MGM-52 Lance short-range ballistic missile; 100 kt in Mod 0; Mod 3 was "enhanced radiation" or "neutron bomb"
- W79 (nuclear weapon) : Atomic field artillery projectile for the 8" howitzer; blast (100 t - 1.1 kt) and enhanced radiation (0.8 kt) versions;; W81 (nuclear weapon) was cancelled 155mm equivalent; all retired in 1992
- W82 (nuclear weapon) : Add brief definition or description
Safety features in U.S. nuclear weapons
- See also: United States nuclear surety
- Enhanced nuclear detonation safety : Isolating nuclear weapon components essential to weapon detonation from significant electrical energy. This involves the enclosure of detonation-critical components in a barrier to prevent unintended energy sources from powering or operating the weapon’s functions. Penetrations through this barrier are the "strong links" of the weak link-strong link safeguard technology; fail-safe response of components inside it to abnormal events are the "weak links"
- Environmental Sensing Device (military) : Weapon safety devices that prevent detonation until they detect external conditions consistent with the known mode of delivery, such as changing barometric pressure and radar altitude of a dropped bomb, or the launch acceleration, conditions in space, and reentry of a ballistic missile trajectory; a key safeguard for nuclear weapons
- Fire-resistant pit : A fire-resistant shell around the plutonium "pit" of a fission device, which will resist prolonged exposure to a jet fuel fire (at 1000 °C) without melting or being eaten through by the corrosive action of molten plutonium; the plutonium will not contaminate the area unless the shell is disrupted; on the B83 strategic bomb and W87 ICBM warhead
- Insensitive high explosives : Explosives, principally for military use, which have an extremely low probability of detonating accidentally or other than as intended in a specific application; not easily converted to improvised explosive devices, will not detonate when engulfed in fire, and, when used in the high explosive initator of a nuclear weapon, unable to trigger fission unless precisely triggered
- One-point safe criterion : A design goal for nuclear weapons, to ensure that a single built-in detonator firing, or an external explosive charge fired next to the weapon, could not result in a nuclear yield greater than two kilograms TNT equivalent
- Permissive Action Link : Built into a nuclear weapon, a component that requires an external code, not known to the crew but provided through the chain of command, to enable detonation in combination with other safety features
- Weak link-strong link : An architecture for isolating the detonation system of a nuclear weapon inside a electrically and physically rugged barrier; engineered penetrations through this barrier are the "strong links"; fail-safe response of components inside it to abnormal events are the "weak links"
Explosives in U.S. nuclear weapons
- Baratol : (Also barytol; A mixture of 24% TNT and 76% barium nitrate, used in the Fat Man (nuclear weapon) as a "slow explosive" to shape compression waves in the implosion system; detonation velocity of 4,870 m/sec and cast density 2.55 of g/cm3.
- Boracitol : "Slow" explosive with a detonation velocity of 4,860 m/sec, light cast density of 1.55 g/cm3, and composed of 60% boric acid and 40% TNT.
- Composition B : An obsolete military explosive mixture of 63% RDX, 36% TNT, 1% wax (typical), used as fillers in mines, bombs and shells; early nuclear weapons including B53 high-yield bomb
- Cyclotol : 75% RDX, 25% TNT; similar to Composition B but with RDX content; began to replace Composition B in nuclear weapons in 1953; later used in B28 and B53; Substituted for PBX-9404 when unacceptable impact sensitivity problems arose
- LX-04 : 85% HMX, 15% Viton A; Used in W-62 and W70 cruise missile warhead Substituted for PBX-9404 when unacceptable sensitivity problems arose
- LX-07 : 90% HMX, 10% Viton A mixture; a plastic bonded explosive used in the W71 (nuclear weapon)
- LX-09 : 93% HMX, 4.6% DNPA, 2.4% FEFO High velocity plastic bonded explosive used W68 warhead for UGM-73 Poseidon SLBM; Withdrawn from use due to aging problems (binder/plasticizer exudation). Serious safety problems.
- LX-10 : 95% HMX, 5% Viton A; and LX-10-1: 94.5% HMX, 5.5% Viton A; plastic bonded explosive that replaced LX-09 in W68 (nuclear weapon) and was also used in W70, W79 and W82; it is a booster in the B83 bomb
- LX-11 : 80% HMX, 20% Viton A; plastic bonded explosive used in W71
- LX-17 : 92.5% TATB, 7.5% Kel-F; One of three insensitive high explosives in use in current U.S. nuclear weapons: B83 strategic bomb; W84 Ground-Launched Cruise Missile warhead; W87 Minuteman warhead; and W89 Sea Lance warhead; concerns have been expressed about possible crystallization and stiffening in the W87
- PBX-9010 : 90% RDX, 10% Kel-F mixture as plastic bonded explosive; Used in B43 and W50
- PBX-9011 : 90% HMX, 10% Estane; plastic bonded explosive for B57 tactical and depth bomb Mods 1 and 2
- PBX-9404 : 94% HMX, 3% NC, 3% Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (CEF); used in B43; W48 nuclear warhead for 155mm howitzer; W50 for early Pershing and for Nike Zeus ABM; W55 warhead for UUM-44 SUBROC anti-submarine weapon; W-56; B57 tactical bomb and depth charge Mod 2, B61 bomb Mods 0, 1, 2, 5, and W69 warhead for AGM-69 SRAM; serious safety problems with a number of weapons withdrawn
- PBX-9501 : 95% HMX, 2.5% Estane polyurethane adhesive, 2.5% BDNPA-F; plastic bonded explosive used in W71 warhead for Spartan anti-ballistic missile, W78 Minuteman III MIRV warhead (i.e., replaced by the W87 and W88 Trident II warhead
- PBX-9502 : 95% TATB, 5% Kel-F; principal insensitive high explosive in new and retrofitted nuclear weapons, including B61 Mods 3, 4, 6-10 bomb; W-61; W80 cruise missile warhead, W85 warhead for Pershing II, W90 warhead for AGM-131A SRAM II and W91 warhead for AGM-131B SRAM-T