Pentagon deploys low-yield nuclear weapon for first time: report

Discussion in 'Security & Defenses' started by Mrlucky, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Mrlucky

    Mrlucky Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    This is what I'm talking about!

    We may need this sub based nuke as a deterrent to Russia but it is also perfect for first strike capability in NK and hope never needed in Iran. It's bigger than the tactical W54 (10 or 20 ton yield) at about one-third the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Maybe 5-6 Kilo-tons? It's explosive output is classified.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/pentagon-deploys-low-yield-nuclear-weapin-for-first-time
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  2. Junkieturtle

    Junkieturtle Well-Known Member Donor

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    It does not seem to provide a battlefield advantage. It's only point of interest is that it is low yield. I think the distinction will be lost immediately if one of these weapons, no matter what it's yield, is ever used. Granted, the missile might have other capabilities outside of blast yield that are classified, and make this missile a logical choice. I don't think yield alone makes a difference though, as far as being a deterrent. Once a country attacks another with a nuke, that's it. We're not going to be less mad if Russia uses one because it was low yield.

    That's like if I came to your house and shot you and then told you to calm down, it was just a .22. You're still going to grab your gun, whatever it is, and shoot me back.
     
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  3. Mrlucky

    Mrlucky Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It is supposed to keep the playing field even in Europe since Russia is or already has developed a low yield nuke of a similar size. It would not be a weapon any country would want to have to use. The long term radiation effects would be far worse than the initial blast. It would render a city useless for many years.

    Where I could see it being effective is along the NK boarder where they have a lot of rocket assisted artillery aimed a SK. We would need to take out a lot of long range artillery very fast. It wouldn't be pretty but using tactical nukes there has often been considered over the years.

    Your analogy about shooting someone with "just a .22" made me chuckle. I was visiting Tucson several years ago. I was watching the news in a hotel room. There had been a shooting between some guy and a county sheriff. They were interviewing the sheriff who had been shot. I remember him remarking to the interviewer something like, "Oh, I'm fine. He only had a little .22. He didn't hut me much at all."
     
  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Actually, one of the things that bothered me about 20 years ago was when the Crusader was cancelled.

    A new self-propelled 155mm howitzer, it had a lot of advanced features that could have handled that. Among them was the capability to tie in with RADAR and other fire direction systems to accurately return counter-battery fire within minutes. And at 10-12 rounds per minute, it could have 3 rounds in the air before the first one landed.

    So instead we still use the M109 Paladin, a gun first brought into service in the Kennedy Administration.

    Although to be entirely fair, the modern M109A6 is much more recent, being introduced in the Bush Administration. The first President Bush, in 1991. Yet another example of a military system where the equipment is older than most of those who work on it.
     
  5. Esdraelon

    Esdraelon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The idea that a "low yield" nuke is something we need, is simply horrifying. It's the first step toward a mindset that nukes CAN be used without MAD coming into play.
     
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  6. An Taibhse

    An Taibhse Well-Known Member

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    A decade or so, I’d have agreed with you. However, I don’t believe the next big was will be nuclear because of MAD; it will be a cyber war, a type of warfare just as deadly; the skirmishing has been going on for at least a decade.
     
  7. Rush_is_Right

    Rush_is_Right Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of cyber war and AI. Let the computers fight while everyone else enjoys life on the beach.
     
  8. Farnsworth

    Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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  9. JakeJ

    JakeJ Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    There are defensive values to low yield nukes. Most notable are for missile defense and other desperate defensive missiles where the incoming MUST be destroyed at any risks and costs.

    As for use on submarines, Russia's strategy does include attacking the USA by submarine with nuclear warheaded torpedoes. Defensive upper atmosphere airbursts against incoming missiles and water bursts against incoming torpedoes may be the only possible defense.

    They also may be necessary as a bunker buster and otherwise against some rogue nation that has a few nuclear weapons and is going to/is starting to use them.

    If you were president and you were told there is an incoming missile from N. North (or Iran etc), crazed Russian, Chinese, Turkish general etc - would you want your only possible response to be "The good news is there's nothing we can do because using nuclear weapons for defense is immoral?"
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  10. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    I hate to get preachy, but there is so much misinformation here that I must clear up some things. I was Commissioned Field Artillery after graduation from West Point. I am a qualified Nuclear Fire Planner and Commanded a nuclear capable Artillery Battery (M110A2) in Germany.

    First of all, the US has had relatively low yield nukes for a long time. US 155mm Howitzers (M109 already addressed here) can deliver a nuke of almost 2kt. The old M110 (now retired) could deliver 2.5kt, 5kt. 7.5kt or 15kt warheads. (Hiroshima was about 15kt.)

    The old "neutron bomb" effect everyone talks about is easily obtained by detonating the weapon at a high altitude. "Fallout" is made of "stuff" that has been irradiated. If the fireball touches the ground, it sucks up a lot of "stuff" (dirt, trees, buildings, etc) and creates fallout. If the detonation is high in the air and there is little "stuff" in the fireball but air, there is little ("militarily insignificant") fallout. There would be an initial flash of radiation, but then its over.
     
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  11. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    And they got even smaller.

    The M-28 Davy Crockett was a recoilless rifle that could fire a nuclear warhead. They were deployed to Western Germany, and were part of the Army inventory from 1961-1971. The "atomic rounds" came with the W54 Mod 2 warhead, with a 20 ton warhead. And yes, 20 tons, not even kilotons.

    [​IMG]

    If anybody ever makes it to SW Georgia, check out the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning. They have one on display there. And after the system was cancelled, the warheads were recycled into the SADM "Backpack Nuke" demolition weapons.

    [​IMG]

    And if anybody plays "Fallout", that is the inspiration behind the "Fat Man Launcher".
     
  12. Toggle Almendro

    Toggle Almendro Well-Known Member

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    Small nukes are a good idea, but putting them on SLBMs is a terrible waste of resources.

    The B61-12 does that job well already.


    Maybe, but the fact remains. We need them.

    We should just rely on the B61-12 instead of putting them on SLBMs.


    True.


    What you are describing is an ordinary airburst. A neutron bomb is something different. Those weapons have enhanced neutron emissions compared to a normal nuke.
     
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  13. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    That's not true at all. I Commanded a nuclear capable field Artillery Battery in Germany in the 1980's. I could deliver 2,5 kilotons, 5 kt, 7.5 kt and 15 kt (15 kt is Hiroshima size). We built our entire defensive plan protecting West germany on the use of nukes. No one thought for a minute that Russia would risk Moscow if we popped a nuke in West Germany.
     
  14. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    "Long term radiation" is easily avoided. If the detonation is on the ground, lots of material from dirts to buildings and all the rest is sucked into the fireball and irradiated. This is what makes "fallout". If the detonation is at altitude and the fireball doesn't touch the ground, however, there is no material to be irradiated and there is little or no fallout, just one quick burst of radiation. This is the preferred method of deployment since it does not contaminate the area and attacking forces can advance through it. A ground burst contaminates the area and denies it to frinendly, as well as enemy forces.
     
  15. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Banned

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    Any nuclear warhead with an explosive yield of 5 kilotons or less is effectively a "neutron warhead" because the radius of the radiation pulse exceeds the warhead blast radius.
     
  16. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    Again, its a function of the altitude at which it is detonated. If it is a ground burst, lots of "stuff" is sucked into the fireball and irradiated. That's fallout. If the fireball is at altitude and doesn't touch the ground, there's only air to be irradiated and that means very little fallout.
     
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  17. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Banned

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    I'm not talking about fallout. I'm talking about the initial radiation pulse.
     
  18. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    Yup, but considering that radiation is the primary casualty producing part of a nuke, fallout has to be considered. And on the battlefield, fallout contaminates an area, denying it to yourself as well as the enemy. So fallout is an important consideration.
     
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  19. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Banned

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    Actual Enhanced Radiation Weapons (ERWs) so called "neutron bombs" produce little fallout though.
     
  20. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    Fallout is a function of how much matter is irradiated... by definition.
     
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  21. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Because they were always intended to be detonated in the atmosphere. And one of the reasons why the US and other countries stopped looking into them is that overall, they are a rather silly weapon concept.

    It does not take much to protect one from them, and their actual use on a battlefield is very limited at best. The idea was to use them as an airburst. As such, they would do little damage and produce little fallout. Killing instead by the radiation emitted in the detonation itself. Primarily x-rays, gamma rays, and neutrons. But it does not take much to protect somebody from most of those rays and particles. So unless they were used against forces in the open, the deaths would be nowhere near what had been promised.
     
  22. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    There is some truth there, but not much. It is very difficult to protect an army in the field from radiation. Its easier in a fixed site, but still difficult. The NBC suits provided to soldiers doesn't protect from radiation much at all. They are mainly designed to protect against chemical and, to a lesser extent, biological weapons.

    Most tactical nukes are meant to be used in airbursts. If the detonation is high enough, the fireball will not touch the ground and there will be little "stuff" to be irradiated and turned into fallout. Radiation is the primary casualty producing component of a nuke. A "flash" of radiation is enough to produce casualties. A ground burst produces fallout, contaminates the battle area and denies it to friendly as well as enemy troops.

    If you want to discuss this further, please feel free. I am a retired Field Artillery Officer, a Qualified Nuclear Fire Planner, and Commanded a nuclear capable M110A2 artillery battery (B Btry, 2d Bn, 5th FA, V Corps Arty) in Germany in the 1980's.
     
  23. vman12

    vman12 Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    What? Those MOPP4 booties I had to shuffle around in and trip on weren't that effective? *GASP* Surely taking a brush to a 2 Ton got all that radioactive stuff off lol

    Ah good times.
     
  24. AARguy

    AARguy Banned

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    Radiation went THROUGH the suits. Cleaning up the dust and debris did nothing to change that. Went THROUGH vehicles too. Those M11 fire extinguisher-looking "decontamination" things for washing vehicles after the fact didn't stop the radiation that had already penetrated either.
     
  25. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    If the intent is to kill from radiation and not blast effects, a basic earthen bunker with 18" or more of overhead cover is enough to protect from most of the radiation from the initial burst. That would be enough to protect from all but the gamma rays.

    And MOPP suits provide no protection at all against radiation. At most the gas mask prevents somebody from breathing in fallout.
     

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