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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Mk13

The Mk.13 bomb with a 92-lens nuclear charge represented a further development of the family of 60-inch bombs Mk.III, Mk.4, Mk.5 - the main weapon of US strategic aviation. The previous Mk.6 bomb had a 60-lens nuclear charge and was inferior to the tactical bombs Mk.5 and Mk.7 with a 92-lens charge in terms of the use of fissile materials. In the early 1950's. The Air Force continued to insist on maximizing the total TNT equivalent of the US nuclear arsenal. These requirements were supported by calculations of possible scenarios of nuclear war with the USSR. The task was to ensure that the Soviet industry would incur such damage that would preclude warfare and the possibility of a retaliatory nuclear strike. At the same time, all available, often contradictory, information about the composition and deployment of the Soviet military-industrial complex was used, the development of which after the war was almost faster than the buildup of US strategic forces. Considering the bitter experience of the Great Patriotic War. The Soviet government made considerable efforts to disperse the enterprises of the military industry. The calculations of American specialists invariably showed that it is impossible to achieve an unconditional victory over the USSR by the forces available. Of course, from the current point of view, such a strategy of an endless buildup of nuclear weapons seems meaningless. For effective nuclear deterrence, it is sufficient to inflict unacceptable damage on the enemy. But in those, still Stalin's, times, who could say, Studies of experts at the Los Alamos Laboratory showed that using a 92-lens nuclear charge, it is possible to create a new bomb with a capacity of 120-150 kilotons in the standard Mk.6 casing. A further increase in the charge power up to 500 kt was possible, but at the expense of reducing the utilization factor of fissile materials. Flight tests for the new bomb, designated Mk.13, began in 1952. Mk.13 had the same ballistic body as Mk.6, with a diameter of 1550 mm and a length of 3250 mm. The total mass of the bomb is 3360 kg. On January 31, 1950, President Harry Truman announced the full-scale deployment of a robot on a hydrogen bomb (or super bomb). The first victim of the hydrogen bomb creation program was Mk.13 and its more powerful version Mk.20. Their development was terminated by the decision of the Atomic Energy Commission of August 5, 1954.

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