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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 9/19/2001 12:06:18 AM EDT
I was wondering if anyone might have a guess at the size in KT or MT you could fit in a suitcase?
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 12:15:13 AM EDT
I'm also interested in the response to the question.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 12:28:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/19/2001 12:31:11 AM EDT by Stealth]
Wouldn't most MIRV warheads fit in a "suitcase"? Anywhere up to 5MT for an SS-9 MIRV (maybe they meant the whole payload - didn't sound like it) [url]http://www.learnworld.com/ZNW/LWText.York.Race.Ch09.html[/url] But it looks like a majority of them are from 100 to 550 KT. [url]http://www.bullatomsci.org/issues/nukenotes/ma98nukenote.html[/url] Screw it, I was going to search more, but what's the point. You get the idea. As a comparison..... "little boy" had a yield of 15-16KT, and "fat man" had a yield of 21KT. Each of these took out an entire city. [url]http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Usa/Med/Lbfm.html[/url] If they got 'em, and they use 'em. Make sure you're on vacation in the boonies and out of wind drift range. Again, I don't know the dimensions of an actual MIRV warhead. I have made an assumption here.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 1:02:52 AM EDT
While in the 50's, the US and the USSR were looking to build the biggest boom they could with the USSR detonating their "king of bombs" at 50 megatons and the design could be up to 100 megatons...the so-called "suitcase" or "backpack" nuclear devices are at the most around 1 megaton. "Modern" nuclear warheads run in the 400-600 kiloton range since strategic goals didn't support having megaton bombs running around. But the warheads were designed for an "air burst" as a missle nears it's target or a bomb dropped from an aircraft. An air burst has a much greater effect than a ground burst. This would be the reasoning why suitcase nukes are in the 1 megaton range to make up for being detonated on the ground. Mind you, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 yielded around 11-20 kilotons. The number of miles is an extrapolation, but the descriptions of the zones are correct... Ground Zero to about a mile of the blast - nothing at all, just vaporized 1-2 miles - it it theorized that those people might actually see a flash of light before being vaporized, but they wouldn't hear the boom. This is the "overpressure" area, all buildings are blown apart and even those 50's era bombs shelters won't matter. 2-3 miles - the heat (about 1400 degrees) would ignight most any flammable item...paper, wood, houses...anything. Winds are over 100 mph, we still have a 100% mortality rate in this zone as it's a big firestorm. Again, in a fallout shelter, those people would be cooked and all the oxygen would be depleted. 3-5 miles - The blast still creates a strong overpressure, shattering any windows turning the glass into lethal bullets at around 100mph. 5-8 miles - People are getting 3rd degree burns from the heat 8-12 miles - second degree burns 12-20 miles - anybody who looked at it still has their retinas burned. Say it was detonated in a major city... Figure 25% just gone Another 40% have fatal injuries 25% might recover if they received care 10% might not have any injuries at all Types of injuries: * burns * blindness * deafness * collapsed lungs from overpressure * stabs from flying debris * injuries from being hurled through the air -continued-
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 1:03:42 AM EDT
Then there's the fallout... Since it is the air around the explosion that has radioactive particles in it, it depends heavily on which way the winds blow as to what areas and how much radiation people get. Severe: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and progressive difficulty walking talking and thinking clearly. They would develop convulsions and pass into a coma and die, usually within the first day or two after the bomb. Moderate: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea soon after exposure which would last for several days and then seem to improve. But, after a few days to a week, the symptoms would return and become worse. Many would die in a week or two. Low: Some of the same symptoms, but a very high chance of surviving. Possible higher cancer rates later in life. The higher "yield" boms these days don't put out as much radiation as before (make no mistake, there's still a ton of radiation) A neutron bomb a specific design with VERY high levels of radiation and yields only about 1 kiloton. Supposedly, this type never really made it past the concept stage and isn't expected to be around. Having written all these horrible things...a nuclear detonation is a [b]very[/b] difficult thing to achieve. Much more plausible if a terrorist group were to get a hold of nuclear materials would be to just use a conventional bomb like a car bomb and release a much smaller radioactive cloud over a city. It wouldn't be as big of a cloud as we saw over New York City last week, but big enough to be big problems for people downwind. - Robbie
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 1:28:24 AM EDT
All the brightest boys, with the biggest toys... Sometimes, people should give some thought to the phrase.... Nuke 'em.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 8:36:35 AM EDT
It's been a while since I read anything on "suitcase" nukes but I recall that they were all designed to take out a specific target, a dam, a bridge, or some other point target. They are powerful enough to take down a building but not a city. An additional problem from the terrorist perspective is since they are radioactive it's pretty hard to smuggle them around without tripping lots and lots of radiation detectors set up to monitor for smugglers. You could shield it in lead but I imagine this would dramatically increase the weight and these devices are not light in the first place.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 8:48:17 AM EDT
Another thing: there is much less fallout from an air burst than a ground burst. When the bomb is detonated, it puts out a significant pulse of gama radiation, and this radiation sets off chain reactions in surrounding material--making the surrounding material radioactive. In an air burst, the surrounding material isn't very dense, so that there isn't a high amount of resulting radiation. In a ground burst, the bomb is in close contact with high density material. This material becomes radioactive.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 8:58:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/19/2001 9:00:52 AM EDT by SIGmund]
The suitcase or backpack nuke is/was officialy called the W-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM). According to James Norris Gibson's "Nuclear Weapons of the United States," (1996, Schiffer Publishing, Altgen PA, ISBN 0-7643-0063-6), yield was .1 to 1 kiloton (1 kt = 1000 tons of HE). I believe this same warhead was used on the Davy Crockett, a recoiless gun with a max range of 2.5 miles, and the Falcon air-to-air missile. AFAIK, this warhead is no longer in the stockpile.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 10:02:18 AM EDT
I really can't see fitting a megaton device into a SADM either. According to the FM, for a 1 kiloton weapon : 0-700m - danger 700-1200m - little danger if protected 1200m+ - little danger even if unprotected
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 10:22:25 AM EDT
As far as "Ground Zero" is concerned the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were detonated in the air they did not impact the ground and then detonate. This may be of use when considering the devices yield in destructive energy. I don't know why a "Terrorist" would be limited to just using a suitcase. A car,truck or van would prove suitable and could hold a larger device. I think all of these scenarios are being considered by our intelligence agencies. Lets hope this never happens.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 11:44:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 12:43:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MOLITAS: As far as "Ground Zero" is concerned the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were detonated in the air they did not impact the ground and then detonate.
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I think that is why they say "ground zero" rather than just "zero". I.e., it is the point on the ground just under the bomb's detonation.
Originally Posted By MOLITAS: I don't know why a "Terrorist" would be limited to just using a suitcase. A car,truck or van would prove suitable and could hold a larger device.
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Well, for one thing, both the US and the Soviets developed "suitcase" nukes. The Russians may not be able to account for all of theirs. Such a thing would be very easy to smuggle into a country (we can't keep out shiments of [i]tons[/i] of drugs--how are we going to keep this thing out?). The risk of the terrs being caught smuggling in a suitcase nuke would be much less than for a truck sized nuke.
Link Posted: 9/19/2001 12:54:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DonS: [b]Well, for one thing, both the US and the Soviets developed "suitcase" nukes. The Russians may not be able to account for all of theirs. Such a thing would be very easy to smuggle into a country (we can't keep out shiments of [i]tons[/i] of drugs--how are we going to keep this thing out?). The risk of the terrs being caught smuggling in a suitcase nuke would be much less than for a truck sized nuke.
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[/b] True,I was merely attempting to illustrate that a device doesn't have to be suitcase sized. A war head could be delivered in a manner other than a missile or some "suitcase" or "backpack". If someone want's to smuggle in something like this size is really going to be of little deterrence.
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