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Difference between revisions of "W41 (nuclear weapon)"

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''For technical reasons, this article heading is W41 for a device actually designated B41''
 
''For technical reasons, this article heading is W41 for a device actually designated B41''
 
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'''B41 nuclear bombs''' were the highest-yielding [[nuclear weapon]]s ever deployed by the United States.  A [[gravity bomb]] carried by the [[B-52]] [[bomber aircraft|bomber]], it came in two versions:
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'''B41 nuclear bombs''' were the highest-yielding [[nuclear weapon]]s ever deployed by the United States.  A [[gravity bomb]] carried by the [[B-52]] [[bomber aircraft|bomber]], it came in two versions:  
*B41Y1: "dirty" high-fallout with a yield of 25 MT
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*B41Y1: "dirty" high-fallout with a yield of 25 Mt<ref name=TNT-equiv group=note/>
*B41Y2: "clean" less than 10 MT yield.
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*B41Y2: "clean" less than 10 Mt yield.
It is unclear if the Soviets ever deployed a weapon in this range; their 58-megaton "Tsar Bomba", which is generally believed to be the Primary and Secondary only for a 100-megaton device, was experimental although sufficiently weaponized to be dropped from a modified bomber.
+
It is unclear if the Soviets ever deployed a weapon in this range; their 58-megaton<ref name=TNT-equiv group=note/> "Tsar Bomba", which is generally believed to be the Primary and Secondary only for a 100-megaton device, was experimental although sufficiently weaponized to be dropped from a modified bomber.  Only the Soviets and Americans ever tested devices with greater than 10 Mt yield.
  
 
==Design==
 
==Design==
The B41Y1 was the only three-stage device (see [[Nuclear weapon/Fusion bomb]]) ever built by the U.S. As opposed to the usual fission Primary and fusion Secondary of a Teller-Ulam design, this bomb's uranium tamper constituted a Tertiary. <ref name=GSB41>{{citation
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The B41Y1 was the only three-stage device (see [[fusion device]]) ever built by the United States. As opposed to the usual fission Primary and fusion Secondary of a Teller-Ulam design, this bomb's uranium tamper constituted a Tertiary.<ref name=GSB41/> The Y2 version lacked the Tertiary.
  | url = http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b41.htm
+
 
  | title = B-41
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In the Y2 version, the device had the highest weight-to-yield ratio of any United States nuclear weapon. Carey Sublette quoted Theodore Taylor as saying the maximum practical ratio was 6.0 kt yield per [[kilogram]] of nuclear weapon; the deployed weapon, with parachutes and other weight that was not part of the ratio calculation, was 10,670 [[Pound (mass)|pound]] (4,840 [[kilogram|kg]])Test devices from which the B-41 was weaponized, however, were in the 9,100 [[Pound (mass)|pound]] (4,128 kg) range, consistent with Taylor's estimate.<ref name=SubletteB41/>
| author = Globalsecurity.org}}</ref> The Y2 version lacked the Tertiary.
+
  
In the Y2 version, the device had the highest weight-to-yield ratio of any U.S. nuclear weapon.  Carey Sublette quoted Theodore Taylor as saying the maximum practical ratio was 6.0KT yield per pound of nuclear weapon; the deployed weapon, with parachutes and other weight that was not part of the ratio calculation, was 10,670 lb.  Test devices from which the B-41 was weaponized, however, were in the 9,100 pound range, consistent with Taylor's estimate.<ref name=SubletteB41>{{citation
 
| title = The B-41 (Mk-41) Bomb: High yield strategic thermonuclear bomb
 
| first = Carey | last = Sublette
 
| journal = Nuclear Weapon Archive
 
| url = http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Weapons/B41.html}}</ref>
 
 
==Deployment==
 
==Deployment==
Approximately 500 were built, between September 1960 and June 1962, and were in service from November 1963 to July 1976. It was replaced by the 9MT [[nuclear weapon, W53| B53]], which also was implemented as the W53 warhead for the [[UGM-27 Titan II]] [[intercontinental ballistic missile]]. <ref name=SubletteB41 />
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Approximately 500 were built, between September 1960 and June 1962, and were in service from November 1963 to July 1976. It was replaced by the 9 Mt [[nuclear weapon, W53| B53]], which also was implemented as the W53 warhead for the [[UGM-27 Titan II]] [[intercontinental ballistic missile]].<ref name=SubletteB41/>
 +
 
 +
==Notes==
 +
{{reflist|group=note|refs=
 +
 
 +
<ref name=TNT-equiv group=note>The energy yields of nuclear weapons are commonly expressed in units of ''TNT equivalent'', meaning the energy yield from the explosion of a stated amount of [[trinitrotoluene]] (TNT). The commonly used units are a kilotonne or a megatonne of TNT equivalent. A kilotonne (kt) of TNT equivalent is equal to 10<sup>12</sup> joules and a megatonne (Mt) of TNT equivalent is equal to 10<sup>15</sup> joules. The kilotonne and megatonne are often taken to be synonymous with kiloton and megaton.</ref>
 +
}}
 +
 
 
==References==
 
==References==
{{reflist|2}}
+
{{reflist|refs=
 +
 
 +
<ref name=GSB41>{{citation | url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b41.htm | title=B-41 | author= Globalsecurity.org}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=SubletteB41>{{citation|title=The B-41 (Mk-41) Bomb: High yield strategic thermonuclear bomb | first=Carey | last=Sublette | journal=Nuclear Weapon Archive | url=http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Weapons/B41.html}}</ref>
 +
}}

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For technical reasons, this article heading is W41 for a device actually designated B41

B41 nuclear bombs were the highest-yielding nuclear weapons ever deployed by the United States. A gravity bomb carried by the B-52 bomber, it came in two versions:

  • B41Y1: "dirty" high-fallout with a yield of 25 Mt[note 1]
  • B41Y2: "clean" less than 10 Mt yield.

It is unclear if the Soviets ever deployed a weapon in this range; their 58-megaton[note 1] "Tsar Bomba", which is generally believed to be the Primary and Secondary only for a 100-megaton device, was experimental although sufficiently weaponized to be dropped from a modified bomber. Only the Soviets and Americans ever tested devices with greater than 10 Mt yield.

Design

The B41Y1 was the only three-stage device (see fusion device) ever built by the United States. As opposed to the usual fission Primary and fusion Secondary of a Teller-Ulam design, this bomb's uranium tamper constituted a Tertiary.[1] The Y2 version lacked the Tertiary.

In the Y2 version, the device had the highest weight-to-yield ratio of any United States nuclear weapon. Carey Sublette quoted Theodore Taylor as saying the maximum practical ratio was 6.0 kt yield per kilogram of nuclear weapon; the deployed weapon, with parachutes and other weight that was not part of the ratio calculation, was 10,670 pound (4,840 kg). Test devices from which the B-41 was weaponized, however, were in the 9,100 pound (4,128 kg) range, consistent with Taylor's estimate.[2]

Deployment

Approximately 500 were built, between September 1960 and June 1962, and were in service from November 1963 to July 1976. It was replaced by the 9 Mt B53, which also was implemented as the W53 warhead for the UGM-27 Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile.[2]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 The energy yields of nuclear weapons are commonly expressed in units of TNT equivalent, meaning the energy yield from the explosion of a stated amount of trinitrotoluene (TNT). The commonly used units are a kilotonne or a megatonne of TNT equivalent. A kilotonne (kt) of TNT equivalent is equal to 1012 joules and a megatonne (Mt) of TNT equivalent is equal to 1015 joules. The kilotonne and megatonne are often taken to be synonymous with kiloton and megaton.

References

  1. Globalsecurity.org, B-41
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sublette, Carey, "The B-41 (Mk-41) Bomb: High yield strategic thermonuclear bomb", Nuclear Weapon Archive