Tsetse (nuclear primary)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Tsetse was a small American

thermonuclear bombs
and as a small stand-alone weapon of its own.

The Tsetse had a boosted composite core which used 2.25 kg Pu-239, 1.4kg U-235 and 6g tritium.

PBX 9404 too shock sensitive and replaced it by EDC-11. This reduced the nominal yield to 8.5 kilotons.[3]

The Tsetse primary was used in the US

After deployment of the B43 two problems were identified in the primary. In 1961 Los Alamos scientists concluded that the primary was not one point safe under all conditions. A long series of tests was needed to develop a safe version. The second problem was related to tritium aging. To investigate a lifetime extension of the B43 an aged B43 was fired. The test resulted in half the yield. This was quite a shock as it affected not only the B43 but all similar weapons.[5][6] The solution was to more frequently replenish the tritium supply.[6] This problem was apparently shared by the

Python primary

Characteristics of these weapons are:

Tsetse primary based nuclear weapons
Model Max Yield (kt) Diameter Length Weight
B43 1,000 18 in (46 cm) 150–164 in (3.8–4.2 m) 2,060 lb (930 kg)
10 13.75 in (34.9 cm) 25.3 in (0.64 m) 170 lb (77 kg)
W50 400 15.4 in (39 cm) 44 in (1.1 m) 410 lb (190 kg)
B57 20 14.75 in (37.5 cm) 118 in (3.0 m) 490 lb (220 kg)
W59 1,000 16.3 in (41 cm) 47.8 in (1.21 m) 550 lb (250 kg)

Based on this information it can be assumed that the Tsetse design itself corresponds to the size of the W44 warhead, 349-millimetre (13.75 in) diameter and 640-millimetre (25.3 in) long, with a weight of around 77 kilograms (170 lb).

See also



  1. ^ AWPC 1959.
  2. ^ Moore 2010, p. 126.
  3. ^ Moore 2010, p. 201.
  4. ^ Hansen 1995b, p. 461.
  5. ^ Miller, Brown & Alonso 1987.
  6. ^ a b Hansen 1995a, p. 389.


  • AWPC (1959). AWPAC/8/5 (Report).
  • Hansen, Chuck (1995a). The Swords of Armageddon. Vol. VI. Chukelea Publications.
  • Hansen, Chuck (1995b). The Swords of Armageddon. Vol. VII. Chukelea Publications.
  • Hansen, Chuck (2001). "Beware the old story". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 57 (2): 52–55. .
  • Miller, G.H.; Brown, P.S.; Alonso, C.T. (1987). Report to Congress on stockpile reliability, weapon remanufacture, and the role of nuclear testing (Report).
    OSTI 6032983
  • Moore, R. (2010). Nuclear Illusion, Nuclear Reality: Britain, the United States and Nuclear Weapons, 1958-64. Springer. .