Suitcase nukes

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Here’s an article that covers so many bases I dont know where to start. Essentially, it downplays the ’suitcase nuke’ scenario. In fact, it sort of gives the impression that such a small sized weapon is highly impractical and unlikely to be an issue. Of course, if you keep reading, you see that the US had something similar..a ‘backpack nuke’. My favorite part though is about Stanislav Lunev and his assertions that there were caches of Soviet gear and weapons in the US for a fifth column-type scenario of invasion. Interestingly, one of those caches was claimed to be here in Montana. More reasons to go geocaching.

Don’t think this sort of thing is limited to the Soviets though. Every time they put in a new tunnel on the Berlin subway they uncover a bunker full of Mausers and stick grenades. Theres always a bunker or cave somewhere with the leftovers from a major conflict. Theres stories of Japanese gold caches, Nazi ‘Werwolf’ operation caches, etc, etc. still out there waiting to be uncovered. On the more mundane side, theres no shortage of semi-modern missing nukes out there to be discovered and rehabbed into service by a dedicated and determined organization.

Anyway, while the prospect of a citybusting device that can fit in a suitcase may be unrealistic (or, at least, they tell us its unrealistic) theres no shortage of larger size devices that while not exactly ‘man-portable’ would probably fit quite nicely in the average cargo container. Keep in mind the US produced small nukes that fit on the end of what was basically a recoilless rifle. Not citybusters but a genuine nuclear bomb nonetheless. And the bombs that nuked the Japs were pretty small, all things considered, and made with technology that nowadys pretty much anyone could acquire. I could be wrong, but my personal belief is that the era of ICBM nuclear strikes is, for now, behind us.

The more likely, in my opinion, nuclear scenario is the ‘dirty bomb’ scenario (which is getting some flak over its actual effectiveness) or the stolen warhead scenario (much like what you see in ‘True Lies’). I suppose that in the strictest sense, ’suitcase nukes’ do not exist, however I all but guarantee that nuclear devices only slightly do exist. Who currently has them, of course, is the itneresting part.

4 thoughts on “Suitcase nukes

  1. They were pretty small from a yield point of view, but Little Boy weighed over 8,800 pounds and Fat Man over 10,000 pounds. Not very small from a size perspective.

  2. From a size perspective they were fairly …whats the word…manageable? Sure they were heavy but Im guessing a huge amount of that was from shielding. Still, dimensionally they appear to be about the right size to fit in a panel truck…. 4000kg might be a bit much for an econoline van but I bet the average commercial in-town delivery truck could handle it.

  3. True 4000kg will fit in a truck, but that’s for a little boy enriched bomb. Easier to build, harder to get the enriched fuel, as you need a bunch and it takes a lot of effort to make it. Anyone working that hard is going to try and hang on to the stuff, just from a cost to get it point of view. (Wacko heads of state excepted).

    A Fat Boy goes 10,000 kg and uses plutonium, much harder to build due to the timing involved, but the fuel is not hard to come by if you can get to spent reactor rods. 10,000 is heavy, not undoable, but heavy.

    And, without the shielding, the whole truck might glow and the drivers not live long enough to deliver the package.

  4. nuke warhead size

    You need to realize that both the US and the Soviets fielded many MIRV equipped missiles for most of the 40 year span of the cold war. How big did a 125 kiloton warhead have to be if eight of them fit atop a 42 foot missile with a range of 1000 to 3000 miles? Answer – not very.


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