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    US Archive 3

    Lacrosse - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:20 04/05/1956
    Type: Surface @5m
    Yield: 40kt

    LASL test of an externally initiated boosted primary in a thermonuclear system mockup for the TX-39 (a redesign of the Mk-15). The overall device was 87 cm in diameter and 254 cm long, weight was 3804 kg, the primary system was 265 kg. Predicted yield was 25-50 kt. This primary was used in the Redwing Apache thermonuclear shot, and was similar to the device later fired in Plumbbob Priscilla. Crater dimensions were 122 meters wide and 16.7 meters deep. Blast effects studies were conducted on jeeps and other vehicles during Lacrosse. 10 jeeps were placed facing into and broadside to the detonation at distances ranging from 700 to 1300 meters. Shockwave precursor movement over vegetated earth surface versus sandy surfaces was also examined. The cloud reached an altitude of 10,600 meters, low for similar shots. The northern set of islands received doses ranging from 9 to 10 R/hr gamma radiation four hours after the shot. The contamination of all the islands north of Runit resulted with the camps on Lojwa and Dridrilbwji being permanently closed. Bulldozers cleaned some of the islands following the shot by scrapping away contaminated soil and debris.

    Cherokee - |Redwing|
    Date: 17:50 UTC 20/05/1956
    Type: Airburst @1325m
    Yield: 3.8Mt

    Cherokee was the first U.S. air drop of a thermonuclear weapon. It was intended to gather weapon effects data for high yield air bursts, but also was a political demonstration of the United States capability to deliver H-bombs by air. The intended ground zero was directly over Namu Island, but the flight crew mistook an observation facility on a different island for their target with the result that the weapon delivery was grossly in error. The bomb detonated some 4 miles off target over the ocean northeast of Namu. As a result essentially all of the weapons effects data was lost. The bomb was 89cm wide, 345cm long, and weighed 3114kg. The yield was very close to the predicted value. The cloud height rose to 28,651m.

    Widescreen | View 3 | View 4

    Zuni - |Redwing|
    Date: 17:56 UTC 27/05/1956
    Type: Surface @3m
    Yield: 3.5Mt

    The Bassoon device fired in Zuni was the first test ever of an innovative three stage thermonuclear design. The configuration fired in this test was a "clean" (low fallout) version using a lead tamper around the thermonuclear third stage. Only 15% of the energy yield was from fission. A "dirty" version of this design, was later fired in Redwing Tewa. The predicted yield for Zuni was 2-3 Mt. Crater dimensions were 710m wide and 35m deep. This design was later developed into the Mk-41 bomb, the highest yield (25 Mt) weapon ever deployed by the U.S.

    Additional clip

    Erie - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:15 UTC 27/05/1956
    Type: Tower @63m
    Yield: 14.9 Kt

    This was a test of the boosted primary and the implosion system for the TX-28C ("C" for "clean") thermonuclear bomb. The complete device was 51 cm in diameter, 140 cm long, and weighed 955 kg. The primary weighed 65 kg.

    Seminole - |Redwing|
    Date: 00:55 UTC 06/06/1956
    Type: Surface @2m
    Yield: 13.7 Kt

    Seminole was an unusual test, a combined weapons development/effects test device exploded in a tank of water to couple the shock wave to the ground. The device was mounted in a circular chamber inside the water tank which was accessible by a corridor. The chamber was 10 feet off center from the tank center, which led to a significant asymmetry in the crater produced. The crater produced was 201m wide and 8m deep. The shot was designed so that by the time the fireball reached the wall of the tank, it had transitioned from thermal radiation-driven growth to hydrodynamic growth.

    Flathead - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:26 UTC 11/06/1956
    Type: Barge @4.5m
    Yield: 365Kt

    This was a test of the TX-28S ("S" for "salted"), a dirty high fallout bomb design. The yield was 73% fission. The device weighed 634kg. Flathead was detonated on the same test location as shot Dakota.

    Osage - |Redwing|
    Date: 01:13 UTC 16/06/1956
    Type: Airdrop @210m
    Yield: 1.6 Kt

    Proof test of the LASL XW-25 warhead. This was a light weight, low yield, plutonium warhead intended for air defense and other tactical applications. This spherical implosion device had a diameter of 44 cm, was 65 cm long and weighed 79 kg. It was dropped in an instrumented Mk-7 drop case, which had a total weight of 1.429 kg.

    Dakota - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:06 UTC 25/06/1956
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 1.1Mt

    TX-28C variant prototype test. The W-28 small diameter, light weight ("Class-D") thermonuclear weapon design became the most versatile and widely used design ever adopted by the United States. Entering service in 1958, the W-28 remained in service until 1990. It was fielded in 5 models, with 20 variants. The test device was 50 cm in diameter, 147 cm long, and weighed 815 kg. This test did substantially better than expected. The predicted yield was 800 kt. Dakota was fired over the Flathead test site.

    View 2

    Mohawk - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:06 02/07/1956
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 360 Kt

    Mohawk used a boosted swan primary and a flute secondary, it was fired from a 90m tower on Eleleron Island. The resulting crater was 2.4m deep and 408m wide. The cloud rose to an altitude of 19,812m. The shot heavily contaminated the island and strong radiation was detected on the north end of the atoll, strong enough to fog the film of photographs taken by aircraft of the area. Recovery operations were delayed for several days as a result of the high radiation levels. One gamma ray diagnostic experiment utilized a massive shield near shot the tower. The shield consisted of 15cm of inch lead, and 30cm of paraffin on the device side to hold back neutrons. Paraffin being a neutron absorbing material due of its high hydrogen content. This shield caused a pimple to form on the initial fireball.

    Apache - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:06 UTC 08/07/1956
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 1.85 Mt

    Apache was a test of a UCRL two-stage device using a ‘Zither’ secondary stage. It was a prototype for the Mk-27 warhead intended for the Regulus I missile. A LASL primary design was used, which was tested earlier in Lacrosse. Apache was a barge shot fired in the Mike Crater. The cloud reached an altitude of 67,000 feet. 35 aircraft participated in the test, including eight effects aircraft. The Mk-27 was stockpiled from 1958 to 1965 and had a nominal yield of 2 megatons.

    Additional clip

    Navajo - |Redwing|
    Date: 17:56 UTC 10/07/1956
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 4.5 Mt

    The last LASL device tested during Redwing, a test of the TX-21C thermonuclear device. Detonated on a barge near the Union crater, 0.4 km south of Iroij island. The cloud stabilized at 31,000 meters with a diameter of 42,600 meters. Six cloud penetration missions commenced 22 to 38 minutes after the detonation. Exposure rates of 60R/hr were recorded inside the cloud. Increased radioactivity was detected on Parry and Enewetok Islands, Wotho and Utirik were only lightly touched by radiation. Waves 3.4 meters high created by the blast were recorded 29 km away on Namu Island, which covered the island 17 minutes after detonation. Navajo was the cleanest U.S. device ever tested. 95% of the yield came from fusion, resulting in relatively low fallout.

    Tewa - |Redwing|
    Date: 17:46 UTC 20/07/1956
    Type: Barge @4.5m
    Yield: 5Mt

    This device, the Bassoon Prime, was a "dirty" three stage design, the first U.S. three stage design. This was actually the second test of this design (the earlier "clean" version, Bassoon, was test fired in Redwing Zuni). The fission yield was 87%, the highest known fission yield in any U.S. thermonuclear test. A uranium tamper was used around the tertiary stage instead of the lead tamper used in Zuni. The predicted yield was 6-8 Mt. This design was later developed into the Mk-41 bomb, the highest yield weapon ever deployed by the U.S. The crater left in the reef was 1219m in diameter and 39m deep. Tewa's mushroom cloud reached 31,000 meters, fallout from the shot blanketed an area of 3,200 square kilometers.

    Alternate view

    Huron - |Redwing|
    Date: 18:12 UTC 20/07/1956
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 250Kt

    Huron was a test of the W-50 prototype, a LASL two-stage thermonuclear device. The device, called ‘Egg’, had a diameter of 39cm, length of 109cm, and weighed 360kg. It was the last Redwing shot, and was fired in the Mike crater. Huron was fired when fallout from the Tewa shot, detonated just 24 hours earlier, was still covering the islands. Huron did not add to this fallout. The W-50 warhead was stockpiled from 1963 to 1991 and yielded 60 to 400 kilotons. It was used on the Pershing tactical surface-to-surface missile deployed in Europe. Huron first shot date July 2nd had to be aborted 3 minutes short of zero because loss of D-T boost gas pressure in the pit.

    Boltzmann - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 11:55 28/05/1957
    Type: Tower @150m
    Yield: 12Kt

    Boltzmann was a test of the XW-40 light weight boosted fission warhead. The device, developed by LASL, had a total weight of 134 kg, the nuclear system by itself weighed 65 kg. The device width was 45.7 cm, length 80.2 cm. The shot cab held 9 tons of sand, and 15 tons of paraffin as instrument shielding.

    Alternate view

    Priscilla - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 13:30 UTC 24/06/1957
    Type: Ballonshot @213m
    Yield: 37Kt

    Priscilla was a weapons effects test sponsored by the DOD using a stockpiled device of known yield. The device used was a Los Alamos designed Mk-15 boosted primary similar to that tested in Redwing Lacrosse. The predicted yield was 40 kt, the same as in the Lacrosse test, but the actual yield was slightly lower. The test device weighed 263kg was 68cm in diameter, and was 69cm long.

    Hood - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 11:40 UTC 05/07/1957
    Type: Baloon @460m
    Yield: 74Kt

    Hood was the largest atmospheric test conducted in the continental U.S., this was a test of a two-stage thermonuclear device designed by UCRL (University of California Radiation Laboratory), even though the U.S. government stated at the time that no thermonuclear tests were being conducted in Nevada. The device used a boosted Swan primary (which gave yields of 12-19 kt in other tests during Plumbbob). About 7 kt of the overall yield was from fusion. The test also included troop maneuvers by 2500 Marines, and air operations by 124 aircraft.

    Diablo - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 11:30 15/07/1957
    Type: Tower @150m
    Yield: 17Kt

    This was a UCRL developmental test of a two stage thermonuclear design. A boosted Swan primary was fired in a mock up thermonuclear system. The predicted yield was 11-15 kt, the secondary stage contributed to the total yield. This device was very similar to the Shasta test device. A full yield test of this device was intended for Hardtack I in 1958, and it may be related to the similarly dimensioned Hardtack I Cedar device which produced 220 kt. The diameter of this device was 41 cm, length 174 cm, and its total weight was 613 kg.

    John - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 14:00 UTC 19/07/1957
    Type: Airburst @9140m
    Yield: 2 Kt

    John was a combination proof test of the Genie (AIR-2A) nuclear air-to-air rocket, and an effects test of the Genie W-25 warhead. The unguided Genie rocket was fired from a F-89J. The rocket traveled 4240 meters in 4.5 seconds (about Mach 3) after release before detonating. The predicted yield was 1.7 kt.

    Kepler - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 11:50 24/07/1957
    Type: Tower @150m
    Yield: 10 Kt

    LASL ICBM warhead development test. Probable test of XW-35 primary in a thermonuclear mock up. Similar to Hardtack I Koa device which was tested at 1.37 Mt in 1958. Kepler had a predicted yield of 11 kt. The device had a diameter of 72 cm, and a length of 112 cm. The primary weighed 29 kg, the total device weight was 688 kg.

    Owens - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 13:29 UTC 25/07/1957
    Type: Baloon @150m
    Yield: 9.7kt

    Very small boosted plutonium implosion device, progenitor for the XW-51 which later became the W-54, the smallest nuclear warhead deployed by the United States.

    Alternate view

    Stokes - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 12:25 07/08/1957
    Type: Baloon @460m
    Yield: 19 Kt

    Stokes was a test of the LASL XW-30 multi-purpose warhead; used in TADM (tactical atomic demolition munition), and Talos SAM (surface-air-missile) warhead. All oralloy (highly enriched uranium) DT gas-boosted system. The predicted yield was 10-20 kt. Device diameter 56 cm, length 116 cm. Nuclear system weight 144 kg., total device weight 203 kg.

    Smokey - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 12:30 31/08/1957
    Type: Tower @213m
    Yield: 44 Kt

    Test of the UCRL TX-41 thermonuclear design. Three stage prototypes of this design were previously fired in Redwing Zuni and Tewa, this test system was reportedly a two stage device, using a boosted primary in a thermonuclear system mock up. Some thermonuclear yield was produced by secondary. The predicted yield was 45-50 kt. Device dimensions: diameter 127 cm, length 320 cm. Device weight 4,267 kg. The Mk-41 eventually became the largest yield nuclear weapon ever developed or deployed by the U.S. (25 megatons). It was had the highest yield to weight ratio of any known weapon (about 6 kt/Kg). Smoky became notorious due to the radiation exposures received by over three thousand servicemen who were brought in as part of the Desert Rock exercises to conduct maneuvers in the vicinity of ground zero shortly after the test.

    Galileo - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 12:40 02/09/1957
    Type: Tower @150m
    Yield: 11 Kt

    LASL diagnostic/exploratory test of boosted fission device. Device dimensions: diameter 31.5cm, length 152.5cm. Total device weight 385kg.

    Fizeau - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 16:45 UTC 14/09/1957
    Type: Tower @152m
    Yield: 11kt

    Fizeau was a LASL boosted fission device. Possibly a test of the XW-34 depth bomb. Device dimensions: diameter 40.6cm, length 80cm inches. Total device weight 60kg. Predicted yield 8-10 kt.

    Newton - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 12:50 16/09/1957
    Type: Baloon @460m
    Yield: 12kt

    LASL test of XW-31 variant, boosted primary in thermonuclear system mock up. Design yield 50-70 kt. Device dimensions: diameter 71 cm, length 99 cm. Total device weight 610 kg.

    Whitney - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 16:45 UTC 14/09/1957
    Type: Tower @152m
    Yield: 11kt

    Test of a boosted Swan primary in a W-27 thermonuclear system mock up.

    Charleston - |Plumbbob|
    Date: 13:50 29/09/1957
    Type: Balloon @460m
    Yield: 12kt

    UCRL test of a small "clean" tactical 2-stage thermonuclear device. Device fizzled when second stage failed to fire. Predicted yield was below 50-100 kt. Swan primary used. Device dimensions: diameter 22.4 inches, length 57 cm. Total device weight 555 kg.

    Published on: 2008-04-23 (58811 reads)

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