W52 (nuclear warhead)

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The W52 was a

. A total of 300 W52 warheads were produced.

Researcher Chuck Hansen claims based on his research into the US nuclear program that the thermonuclear W52 and (fission-only) W30 warheads both use a common primary or fission first stage, and that this design was nicknamed the Boa primary.[1]

Reliability controversy

Three models of the W52 were produced, the Mod 1, Mod 2, and Mod 3. A warhead test was performed in 1963, which failed, showing that the Mod 1 and Mod 2 versions of the W52 were essentially duds. The Mod 3 was subsequently redesigned to work properly.

The design failures of the Mod 1 and 2 W52, along with early problems with the W45 and W47 warheads, are still an active part of the debate about the reliability of the US nuclear weapons force moving into the future, without ongoing nuclear testing.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Beware the old story,"[dead link] Chuck Hansen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Archived 2009-08-05 at the Wayback Machine, March/April 2001.
  2. ^ Jonathan Medalia (2005). "Nuclear Weapons: The Reliable Replacement Warhead program" (PDF). Congressional Research Service.

External links