©2013 - Patrick L. Groleau

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The B-53 is the second largest yield thermonuclear weapon ever deployed operationally by the United States. "How powerful?" Over 500 times the yield of the bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, megatons enough that the crater this weapon produced was almost a mile across and 200 feet deep! If that's not enough to convince you of the insanity of "Mutual Assured Destruction," then ponder the fact the yield of the Soviet Union's militarily ridiculous "Tsar Bomba" was ten times that of a B-53! You do the math!

B53 ... THE TRUE “MOAB*”

*"Mother Of All Bombs," unofficial acronym for the GBU-43/B foliage clearing device.

The W53 warhead was used in the B-53 bomb, in the Titan missile’s reentry vehicle, and as the payload in the B-58 Hustler’s weapons pod (also visible are four Mk43 bombs, which could be carried beneath the wings of the highly advanced supersonic bomber).  Its extreme yield made the B-53 the “weapon of choice” for deeply buried “hardened targets,” or, as per the dictates of the United States’ policy of “Mutual Assured Destruction,” the total devastation of entire cities and their populaces.

If you think the warhead looks like a six-foot long thermos bottle, not only would your visual observation be accurate, but the comparison would quite succinctly sum up how the entire physics “package” works!  As in all thermonuclear weapons, one end of the W53 is a “small” atomic device, its purpose being to provide the temperature/pressure/inertia (at 30,000,000 F it is difficult to describe what happens using the same terms we use to delineate how our “normal” universe behaves) necessary to “ignite” a thermonuclear reaction.

If you think the inside of a Titan missile silo looks interesting, keep in mind that in 1980 a single dropped wrench brought about a deadly Broken Arrow event which was fatal to one Airman and injurious to twenty-one others.

Now disseminated freely and readily available, when I entered the service depictions such as these of the internal forms of nuclear warheads were treated as Classified/Restricted Data/CNWDI, and were never released to the public.