W25 (nuclear warhead)

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Plumbbob John Nuclear Test, a live test of nuclear AIR-2A Genie rocket on July 19th 1957. Fired by an US Air Force F-89J over Yucca Flats Nuclear Test Site at an altitude of 15,000 feet (4.6 km).

The W25 was a small nuclear warhead developed by the United States Air Force and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for air-defense use. It was a fission bomb with a nominal yield of 1.5 kt.[1] Development of the weapon began in 1954 at the behest of Douglas Aircraft for use against enemy bombers.

The W25 was used for the MB-1 "Ding Dong", an unguided air-to-air rocket used by the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, F-101B, and F-106 interceptor aircraft. The MB-1 entered service in 1957, and was eventually redesignated the AIR-2 Genie. The only non-U.S. user was Canada, whose CF-101 Voodoos carried Genies until 1984 via a dual-key nuclear sharing arrangement.[2] Limited numbers were still used for Air National Guard F-106 aircraft until December 1984.

Description

The W25 is 17.4 inches (44 cm) in diameter and 26.6 inches (68 cm) long, with a reported weight of 218-221 pounds (98.8 - 100.2 kg) .[3]

The W25 was described as a composite pit (utilizing both uranium and plutonium), unboosted, and the first US sealed pit design. A sealed pit means that a solid metal barrier is formed around the pit or nuclear material components inside a nuclear weapon, with no openings. This protects the nuclear materials from environmental degradation and helps reduce the chances of their release in case of an accidental fire or minor explosion.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/genie.html
  2. ^ John Clearwater (1998), Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal, Dundurn Press Ltd, ISBN 1-55002-299-7, retrieved 2008-11-10 
  3. ^ List of all U.S. Nuclear Weapons at nuclearweaponarchive.org
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