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CCAFS Navaho (Large).jpg
A Navajo missile, which would have carried the W41 warhead
Type Nuclear warhead
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Designed 1956–1957
No. built 0

W41 was the designation of an American nuclear warhead, which was investigated during the late 1950s. Intended for use in the SM-64 Navaho cruise missile, the program was cancelled in 1957. The program was brief, considered at the same time as the TX-29, WX-15-X1 and XW-21 warheads. All were eventually replaced as the proposed Navaho warhead by the W39. The W41 was an adaptation of the B41 thermonuclear bomb which was produced in large numbers and served in stockpile for 15 years.[1]


A warhead version of the B41 thermonuclear bomb, development of the W41 began in November 1956 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Investigated as a possible warhead for the SM-64 Navaho, a cruise missile then in development,[1] work on the warhead continued through July 1957, when the project was cancelled.[2][3]

Conspiracy theories

Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, conspiracy theories began that claimed a W41 nuclear bomb would be used to seal the oil well,[4] despite the use of a nuclear weapon in the role having been officially rejected.[5]


  1. ^ a b Hansen 1995
  2. ^ Polmar and Norris 2009, p.53.
  3. ^ Cochran et al. 1987, p.10.
  4. ^ "The Relief Well is a Cover-Up". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  5. ^ Revkin, Andrew C. (3 June 2010). "No Surprise: U.S. Rejects Nuclear Option for Gulf Oil Gusher". The New York Times Blogs.
  • Cochran, Thomas B.; Arkin, William M.; Hoenig, Milton M. (1987). Nuclear Weapons Databook: U.S. nuclear warhead production. Nuclear Weapons Databook. 2. Pensacola, FL: Ballinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88730-124-7.
  • Hansen, Chuck (2007). The Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development Since 1945 (PDF) (CD-ROM & download available) (2 ed.). Sunnyvale, California: Chuklea Publications. ISBN 978-0-9791915-0-3.
  • Polmar, Norman; Norris, Robert Stan (2009). The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal: A History of Weapons and Delivery Systems Since 1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-681-8.

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