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Posted: 9/14/2001 8:51:47 PM EDT
If I remember correctly, the Neutron bomb had a 5 mile lethal range but did not cause building destruction. Can anyone provide more info? It this a good compromise between conventional bombing and full nuke?
Link Posted: 9/14/2001 9:02:45 PM EDT
I've been thinking about this all week. It seems like a viable alternative. [url]http://www.sciencenet.org.uk/database/Technology/0104/t00358d.html[/url] The first nuclear weapon to be developed was the atomic bomb, such as that dropped at Hiroshima. This device undergoes nuclear fission - where the atoms in the radioactive material are literally split in two, releasing huge amounts of energy, some in the form of radiation. The next nuclear weapon to be developed was the hydrogen bomb (or H-bomb), the first one was tested on November 1st 1952. This relies on a different form of nuclear reaction - nuclear fusion. This reaction occurs when two hydrogen atoms collide at great speeds, and form a helilum atom. This also releases a large amount of energy. This type of weapon was also called a thermonuclear weapon, because enormous temperatures need to be generated for fusion to occur. These temperatures are usually generated by a small fission reaction in the bomb. A spin-off of the thermonuclear weapon, or hydrogen bomb, neutron bombs were first developed by the US in 1963 and then the Soviet Union in the late '70s. They were primarily intended as a small-scale battlefield weapon.In a normal thermonuclear weapon, half of the energy released is produced by the fusion of hydrogen isotopes, tritrium and deuterium. There are many neutrons produced in this reaction. The weapon is encased in a blanket of the uranium isotope 238 and the neutrons cause this to undergo fission, producing the rest of the bomb’s energy. This leads to a large blast like in a conventional weapon. A neutron bomb does not have the blanket to produce the blast and the fast neutrons released in the nuclear reactions are released into the environment to kill living tissue. So the neutron bomb causes less damage to buildings and other structures, but it releases huge amount of radiation which kills living things. The neutron bomb has a blast area of only a few square metres, but will kill people and other living things over a much wider area. Strategically, their ideal use would be to destroy targets thatare close to a site that a force wants to protect. For example, a bridge heavily guarded by enemy troops. A neutron bomb detonated near the bridge would kill the enemy troops guarding it without doing any significant damage to the bridge structure. The neutrons produced are highly penetrative (hence the fact they are so damaging to living things) and could even penetrate tanks, killing the crews inside. However, the neutrons are quickly ‘used up’ leaving relatively low levels of radiation, so that theoretically the tanks could be collected and reused by the attacking force. (Although there would still be some residual radiation- I don’t think I would want to be the one collecting the tanks afterwards!)
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 6:01:51 AM EDT
It is a myth that the neutron bomb (enhanced radiation device) causes casualties without destroying property. A neutron bomb has just as much blast effect as any other nuclear weapon of equivalent size. It does however have a must larger lethal zone due to the increased radiation produced.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 7:25:12 AM EDT
Any fusion device requires a fission initiator, which sets a lower limit on the total blast yield. Besides, what do you have against making the rubble bounce?
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 8:09:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EOD_Guy: It is a myth that the neutron bomb (enhanced radiation device) causes casualties without destroying property. A neutron bomb has just as much blast effect as any other nuclear weapon of equivalent size. It does however have a must larger lethal zone due to the increased radiation produced.
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We should drop them just to make sure.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 11:57:29 AM EDT
MEF, There is nothing wrong with making the rubble bounce. However, your statement about a lower limit on the total blast yield makes absolutely no sense. A fusion weapon will have a much higher yield than the fission weapon that initiates it.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 12:18:41 PM EDT
Sorry if I wasn't clear. Think of the total yield as the sum of the fission and fusion contributions, then the total can't be any less than the fission yield, which will certainly destroy more than just "a few square meters." Also, my guess is that any fission device capable of generating the temperatures/pressures necessary to initiate a fusion chain reaction won't be one of those little sub-kiloton "squibs" used in e.g. the Long Tom tactical system.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 1:17:14 PM EDT
MEF, That is much more clear. When you talk about the Long Tom (240mm gun) you are talking about a real antique. I've worked on every Army device (Type 3-B Trainers) in the inventory from 1967-1983 and that was long before my time. We had 155mm and 8 inch projectiles.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 1:32:33 PM EDT
We have built some really tiny nuclear weapons, like Davey Crockett, which could be fired from a 106mm RCL and had a explosive force of only 10 tons TNT- not megatons, tons. They were a engineering masterpiece, weighing only 57 pounds, but they were difficult to protect the gunners from the radiation from their own weapon. The 1 km range of the weapon was just barely enough to keep them out of the lethal blast of 10tons of explosive. They were built in 57-58 but never really issued. The 155mm nuclear projectile was a spin off, fielded about a decade later. The real problem with Micronukes was the fear that it would encourage too many people to go nuclear too soon. Of course, they were thinking about a conventional situation against Russia, not the potential value in eliminating terrorists hole up in caves in remote Afganistan. Davey Crockett was one of the newly introduced "atomic weapons" that enspired Robert Heinlin to first write the short story "Starship Troopers". He invented the idea of "powered armor" to get around the difficulties of using micronuclear weapons for a tactical situaion. However all our small nuclear weapons have been dissisembled. The smallest yeald that we have available is the 100kt setting on the B61 freefall bomb. The Army dismantled all their nuclear artillery ammo and have retired the 8" gun that was the delivery vheicle for most of them. The warheads can be reassembled, but they would have to be adapted to the ATACMS missile now. And the unitary warhead version of ATACMS has only just begun testing. The unitary and guided versions of the M26 rocket for the MLRS are still in conceptual stages, though they had very high priority even before this.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 3:14:27 PM EDT
I don't think of the Davey Crockett as being a tiny weapon. The warhead was around 12-16 inches in diameter (I can't remember exactly.). It was not fired from a 106mm RR, but from a spigot type launcher (I don't know the diameter of the launch tube.). It had no relationship whatsoever to the 155 mm projectile. A closer relationship would be with the SADM. They both used the same warhead. I'm going to terminate any more discussion on my part before we get into classified information.
Link Posted: 9/15/2001 5:43:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2001 5:48:52 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Originally Posted By EOD_Guy: I don't think of the Davey Crockett as being a tiny weapon. The warhead was around 12-16 inches in diameter (I can't remember exactly.). It was not fired from a 106mm RR, but from a spigot type launcher (I don't know the diameter of the launch tube.). It had no relationship whatsoever to the 155 mm projectile. A closer relationship would be with the SADM. They both used the same warhead. I'm going to terminate any more discussion on my part before we get into classified information.
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Good heavens, I ment tiny compared to other nuclear weapons! Especally in blast tonnage, it was still pretty big. It was a stick bomb, but it appears to have used a RCLR as a launcher: [img]http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Usa/Weapons/W54davy1.jpg[/img] It weighed some 54 pounds. The breech and what would be the expansion chamber do resemble that of the early US RCL guns like the M20 75mm. This is the only picture I have and its not the right angle to see if there are vents in the breech.
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