Nuclear Gravity Bombs
There is condiderable uncertainly in published estimates of the composition of the Chinese nuclear weapons stockpile. The Federation of American Scientists assessed China to have at least six different types of nuclear payload assemblies: a 15-40 kiloton (kt) fission bomb; a 20 kt missile warhead; a 3 megaton (mt) thermonuclear missile warhead; a 3 mt thermonuclear gravity bomb; a 4-5 mt missile warhead; and a 200-300 kt missile warhead.
Between 1965 and 1976, Hong (H)-5, H-6, and Qian (Q)-5 aircraft dropped 11 bombs at the Lop Nur test site. These detonated with yields in four distinct ranges: 8 kilotons, 15-35 kilotons, 250 kilotons, and 3,000-4,000 kilotons. The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimated in April 1984 that “a small number of the nuclear-capable aircraft probably have nuclear bombs, even though we are unable to identify airfield storage sites.” Nine years later, the National Security Council (NSC) reaffirmed that China has a “small stockpile of nuclear bombs.” Although the Chinese Air Force “has no units whose primary purpose it is to deliver” the weapons, “some units may be tasked for nuclear delivery as a contingency mission,” the NSC concluded.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union / Russia have atomic museums at which nuclear weapons shapes are displayed, and it seems that China has followed this practice. A note of caution is required, as the Chinse military is under no obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when preparing these displays. And one cannot guarentee that the display curators have completely understood the nature of the objects on display. But something is better than nothing.
A2923 Atomic Bomb
The atomic bomb project was called the 596 project. China displayed models of China's first atomic bomb and H-bomb at an exhibition marking China's military achievements in Beijing July 16, 2007. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the CPC Central Committee Propaganda Department and the PLA General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department, the General Armament Department jointly organized the "our team to the sun - the founding of New China since the establishment of national defense and army achievements Exhibition ", July 16 at the Chinese People's Revolutionary Military Museum opened.
A2923 Atomic Bomb Variant
The display models of China's first atomic bomb are quite consistent, apart from one variant with a somewhat more sophisticated tail fine structure. This one is seen in the Mianyang "two bombs and one satellite" Science and Technology Museum. The main pavilion mainly shows the development of nuclear science and technology. There are different themes from the first to the third floor. The Second floor display covers Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Technology.
KB-1 “Kuangbiao-1” (“Hurricane-1”) tactical nuclear weapon
The “Kuangbiao-1” (“Hurricane-1”) Chinese tactical nuclear weapon was the first tactical nuclear weapon developed by the People’s Republic of China. First tested in 1972, it was designed to be carried by the Nanchang Q-5 fighter-bomber. Hurricane 1's small tactical nuclear bomb has an equivalent yield of 10,000 tons and can eliminate all armor targets within a 30-square-kilometer radius. For the first time, the bomb provides the PLAAF with a tactical nuclear strike capability and is of great significance in countering the Soviet tank cluster. However, nuclear strikes can only be hardest as a last resort killer, and aviation anti-tank operations should also seek more advanced conventional ammunition.
On 17 June 1967, China successfully detonated the first Chinese hydrogen bomb on the Lop Nur in Xinjiang and shocked the world. It was reported that on the test day, air force pilots piloted the bombing of the first hydrogen bomb in China with the H-6s. test. However, to make hydrogen bombs have practical value and be able to adapt to the operations of the armed forces, it is urgent to miniaturize the nuclear warheads and reduce the weight of nuclear warheads.
[ This device has the nice red and white color scheme common to the other nuclear weapons, yet this variant lacks the standard numerical designator. The Chinese characters are said to translate as "strong bomb" and there are a number of such synonyms, some of which translate as atomic bomb, and some don't. But these translations appear to be in error]
One caption for this photo reads "... the Soviet army in Asia was equipped with 14,000 tanks, of which more than two-thirds were deployed on the Sino-Soviet border. At that time, China was able to develop a tactical nuclear attack aircraft with a "Hurricane No.1" nuclear bomb mounted on its belly and a strong-5 A, rumored to be used for one-way assault on the Soviet armored cluster."
In 1967, shortly after the success of the hydrogen bomb explosion, the miniaturization of the hydrogen bomb was also made. Air Force to choose a suitable model, as a miniature hydrogen bomb carrier to block the northern Soviet Union's steel torrent. Just trial success of the Q-5 due to have supersonic penetration prevention, a larger amount of bombs and other characteristics, was selected as the carrier and modified, the improved model is Q-5 A, small hydrogen emblazoned code that can be airborne for "hurricane number one." Q-5 A main feature is the use of semi-buried bay, as well as to improve the built-in fuel tank, installation of the corresponding mount, insurance equipment, radar and a series of aviation and a series of improvements.
The hydrogen bomb is 2 meters long and weighs 1 tonne (the U.S. "fat man" dropped 4 tons in Hiroshima). A nuclear "Hurricane I", a small tactical nuclear weapon that truly represented the practical use of China's air-based nuclear weapons, was launched in the early 1970s. The type of attack was a specially designed Q-5 nuclear attack aircraft. Early Q-5 aircraft had a small bomb bay, and the transformation of the Q-5A was a semi-buried mount. It also modified the throwing of the "Hurricane 1" with a sight, with nuclear detection and control system.
The bomb can not be used conventional bombing method, but to use the method of throwing up to the target. Yang Guoxiang's tactic is to reach the target at a speed of 900 kilometers (560 miles) at an altitude of 300 meters (984 feet). Most of the radar was less capable of detecting targets below this altitude. When the plane was 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the target, the plane climbed at a 45-degree angle to a height of 1,200 meters (3,936 feet) and then dropped a bomb.
Under the historical background of the hostile Soviet Union and the Soviet Union, the strong 5 armies capable of carrying "Hurricane No.1" have become one of the few means to stop the Soviet armored garrison cluster in Siberia. However, because of the limited range of the Q-5, they were hailed as "Siberian one-way train", there was no return. In March 1977, the Central Military Commission approved the major tactical and technical requirements for the "Hurricane" No. 1 nuclear bomb and the Q-5 retrofit. By the end of 1977, plants completed the design of the transformation of the design task. In June 1979, the General Staff Department and the National Defense Agency jointly announced the suspension of the development of a strong -5 variant designed to carry nuclear bombs. After this batch of strong-5 armor also returned to service.
O-27 / 119 mission - Tactical Gravity Bomb
The “0-27” bomb shape can be seen in the China Aviation Museum, and photographs of test preparations from the early 1970s. The O-27 bomb loaded on the Q-5 attack aircraft is also currently stored in the China Aviation Museum.
A "detonating" bomb is not the atomic bomb that detonated a hydrogen bomb as a trigger, but a verification bomb used for testing, a smaller type of hydrogen bomb. Because the detonation bomb appearance and later officially equipped "Hurricane I" nuclear bomb are not the same, so the modified detonation bomb mounted Q-5 is not a Q-5A, but the so-called "119 mission" modified models. In 1972, pilot Yang Guoxiang piloted a Q-5-A aircraft and successfully threw the first practical hydrogen bomb in China, marking the fact that China's airdrop nuclear weapons possessed real combat capabilities.
H639-6 H-bomb - 1st Variant
The first air-dropped H-Bomb was the H639-6. It differed from subsequent in having a shorter, more pumpkin-like, physics package. And the aft tail-fin ring was notably shorter than the forward ring.
H639-23 H-bomb - 2nd Variant
The H639-23 air-dropped H-Bomb differed from the earlier H639-6 in having a somewhat longer, less pumpkin-like, physics package. And the aft tail-fin ring was the same lenght as the forward ring.
H639-23 H-bomb - 3rd Variant
A third variant of the H623-23 H-bomb is currently preserved in the China Aviation Museum H-6 nuclear bombing. Compared to the second H639-23 variant, it is distinctly elongated.
524-23 DF-3 warhead / Gravity Bomb?
Yet another variant, the 524-23 bomb, is displayed at Xihai Town is the former "Atomic City" and the place where the first atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb were developed. Originally a State-owned 221 Plant, it is now the state capital of Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Atomic City is located in the Jinyintan grassland in Haiyan County, northeast of Autonomous Prefecture, 9km away from Haiyan County. Sources identify the 524-23 device as the DF-3 warhead tested on 27 December 1968. The 8th Chinese nuclear test, and the first containing plutonium, was of a device weighing about 2 tons, the H Wu Jia 94 No. aircraft (the Li Wenhui unit) airdropped the device with a yield of 2.77 MT.
On June 17, 1967, the first full equivalent hydrogen bomb device in China exploded. Subsequently, the Nineth Institue of the Second Machinery Department started the weaponization of hydrogen bomb and studied the nuclear warhead capable of being loaded on the missile warhead. In January 1968, the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry of the People's Republic of China formally issued the task of developing the Dongfeng No.3 Nuclear Warhead (codename: 524).
In order to reduce the size and weight of the hydrogen bomb device, a hydrogen bomb primary device using plutonium 239 as a core is required (the first hydrogen bomb used in our country is primarily a core of highly enriched uranium 235). The plutonium production line built at the Jiuquan Atomic Energy Consortium (404) consists of three main components: the reactor (plutonium production reactor), the chemical separation (reprocessing) plant, the plutonium treatment plant (plutonium refining for the manufacture of weapons). China's first graphite moderated light water plutonium production reactor broke ground in February 1960, and the Soviet Union suspended its aid to China and was forced to suspend construction. Resumed construction in June 1962 and started construction on October 20, 1966. Experimental post-processing plant (717 project) started in May 1965, September 4, 1968 heat test commissioning success, access to plutonium dioxide products. In October 1968, the plutonium core component metallurgical processing line was formally put into use. On November 20, the first qualified plutonium component was produced.
In 1968, it was the climax of the "Cultural Revolution" and the nuclear weapons research and development base was also seriously disturbed by the struggle for arms and the fight between the two factions. By June and July 1968, the situation was getting worse and worse. Even power generation, water supply and substations and other departments were also occupied by the mass organizations and became the arms they held in their hands. As a result, the development would continue so hard to bear fruit. The Central Government has repeatedly stepped forward to intervene to issue mandatory orders to the two parties, to the CMC and to the military regions, and to stop fighting. First, they should immediately withdraw their forces from the occupied departments and disgorgement on military discipline. The Central Command stopped the fighting, but failed to stop the opposition. Therefore, the order only stopped the deterioration of the situation, failed to return the research to normal and the progress of scientific research seriously lagged behind.
As of September, it is estimated that after the efforts of the 9th Institute, the 524 product subcritical tests and thermonuclear tests were still likely to be completed before the end of the year and the meeting will be held on October 15 to implement the scientific research plan. In late November, subcritical testing of 524 plutonium components was completed at 404. On December 27, the first thermal test of 524 products was successfully conducted at the Northwest Nuclear Test Base. This is the first nuclear test in China that contains plutonium. The test equipment is code-named 524-23 and weighed about 2 tons. It was dropped by a modified U-94 A-94 aircraft with an explosion equivalent of 2.77 million tons.
But the device on display along side the DF-3 is configured as an air dropped device, looking for all the world like the American B28 megaton-class hydrogen bomb [of "bombs of Palomares" fame] with Chinese characteristics, even with the modest aerodynamic fins for good effect. In the United States, the 9-MT W53 device was deployed both as a ballistic missile Mk 6 re-entry vehicle installed on the Titan II ICBM, and as a gravity bomb carried internally by B-47, B-52, B-58, and B-70 aircraft.
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