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Thread: British Nuclear Weapons info

  1. #21
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Ted: I think the credit note would have been char grilled!

    Anyway, the AP. I do not have a complete copy. I managed to photocopy a page or two just after we opened up at Brawdy in approx 74. The only copier in Eng Wing was in the Adjt's office so it was hard to get anything in those days. Indeed, by modern standards the copy is so bad that it is hardly readable. As a result, I do not have any data on the Vulcan power pack.

    As for the maximum loading of 14,000 lbs, that is presumably the requirement for two Vulcan bomb beams each with seven 1,000-pounders.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinA View Post
    It's a Yellow sun practice round.
    Dosn't say what Mk.
    All the nukes at Cosford seem to be practice rounds.
    At Hack green as a contrast they all seem to be deactivated
    Just a point of clarification, we tended not to have any "practice" rounds in the field of NW.

    Types were Operational, Drill and Surveillance. Operational speaks for itself, Drills were used for all ground training but were not cleared for flight, Surveillance were used for mirroring the transportation, in-service storage and maintenance environments, and could culminate in flight carriage and release.

  3. #23
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Richard wrote (Post #20)

    By the way the use of SABT's and GSE's etc. Any chance of saying what they mean to us none military types??? Probably obvious though.

    Why were the bombs different for each V bomber as you would have thought the specifications for the bombers would have been similar???


    SABT has been explained. GSE is Ground Support Equipment (sometimes Ground Servicing Equipment)

    Nuclear bombs were not different for each 'V' Bomber type, the same type of bomb could be carried by any of the 'V's but operational policy determined what type and quantity of bombs each unit held and, the development of bombs and physics packages was rapid resulting in a short in-service life of each bomb/package type.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Thanks Peter I see where they are coming from. I suppose technology was rocketing and I cannot imagine how the old string bag RAF senior ranks managed to keep up.

    Also the last Lincoln leaving the factory and the first Victors being produced. I am not sure if they were made in the same factory? but the advance from a four piston engined aircraft to a four jet type was a fantastic leap forward. Actually we visited Hurn when the last Viscount being readied for a Chinese air line and the first BAC111 was almost ready.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Quote Originally Posted by PETERTHEEATER View Post
    Richard wrote (Post #20)

    By the way the use of SABT's and GSE's etc. Any chance of saying what they mean to us none military types??? Probably obvious though.

    Why were the bombs different for each V bomber as you would have thought the specifications for the bombers would have been similar???


    SABT has been explained. GSE is Ground Support Equipment (sometimes Ground Servicing Equipment)

    Nuclear bombs were not different for each 'V' Bomber type, the same type of bomb could be carried by any of the 'V's but operational policy determined what type and quantity of bombs each unit held and, the development of bombs and physics packages was rapid resulting in a short in-service life of each bomb/package type.
    Sorry forgot to mention GSE when I joined in 64 it was simply GE Ground Equipment . It then became GSE. Tornado GSE was called AGE Aerospace Ground Equipment For Typoon I'm not sure must ask the boys next time I am down the big flying club if its still open !!

  6. #26

    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Ok
    For completeness Uk Nuclear bomb casings.
    Casings were retained to simplify handling equipment & aircraft attatchment.

    First Blue Danube
    A proven drop shape based on Barnes Wallis's work.
    An accurate weapon but very fast fall speed which did not give the delivery aircraft much time to get clear.
    The large casing was required to contain early core designs.
    BlueDanube2100px.jpg

    Second Red Beard
    A smalled diameter casing suitable for use on smaller aircraft
    This casing was used with several physics cores both Uk made & USA loan.
    red beard.jpg

    Third Yellow Sun
    Used with several cores from large 400Kt bombs (the ones with ball bearings in them for safety)
    Later deployed with US designed Mk28 thermonuclear device and others.
    The flat nose was a British feature which did away with the parachutes to slow the fall of the bomb.
    Descriptions from Orfordness say the bomb "rumbled" as it fell.
    YellowSun1.JPG

    For interest a concrete core which must have been used for drop testing.
    Notice 32 fuse pockets.
    No real scale but about the correct size for an Orange Herald core.
    core.jpg

    Final weapon was WE177 which used different cores.

  7. #27

    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    This is the WE177 at Orfordness.




  8. #28
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinA View Post
    Ok
    For completeness Uk Nuclear bomb casings.
    Casings were retained to simplify handling equipment & aircraft attatchment.
    First Blue Danube
    A proven drop shape based on Barnes Wallis's work.
    An accurate weapon but very fast fall speed which did not give the delivery aircraft much time to get clear.
    The large casing was required to contain early core designs.
    The issue with the high speed was not aircraft safety, but that the transonic shock waves buggered up the barometric altimeter used as a 'gate' to activate the radar altimeter used to detonate the weapon at a fixed height AGL. The fear was that if the radar was switched on at release it would be vulnerable to countermeasures. Because the barometrics were such a bugger, the ball bearing monster, Violet Club discarded baro and a clockwork gate mechanism was substituted.

    Second Red Beard
    A smalled diameter casing suitable for use on smaller aircraft
    This casing was used with several physics cores both Uk made & USA loan.
    USA loan? No way!

    That was Project E, a totally different issue not related to Red Beard. And US law prohibited handing over US nuclear weapons to foreigners. That's why they were always kept secure by US custodians until required for use and released by Presidential order. Incorporating a US-owned and loaned warhead in Red Beard, a British-built, British-owned weapon kept in British storage facilities was physically an impossibility. Where do these stories come from?

    There were two Red Beard warheads, but only one mark of casing. Mk.1 @ 15-16 kt, and a Mk.2 @ 25 kt. The Mk.2 was more robust, esp in temperature storage limits. Otherwise they were the same basic design. The Mk.1 used fissile cores retrofitted from dismantled Blue Danubes (of course in a smaller HE implosion sphere). Temperature storage issues were related mostly to the HE implosion parts. The fissile parts were not an issue.

    Third Yellow Sun
    Used with several cores from large 400Kt bombs (the ones with ball bearings in them for safety)
    Later deployed with US designed Mk28 thermonuclear device and others.
    The flat nose was a British feature which did away with the parachutes to slow the fall of the bomb.
    Descriptions from Orfordness say the bomb "rumbled" as it fell.
    Mk.1 had retrofitted and new build Violet Club fission warheads named Green Grass, @ ~400 kt.
    Mk.2 had a true thermonuclear warhead, Red Snow, a British-built and owned version of the US Mk.28. Yield 1.1 MT.

    And the others? Which others? Where is the evidence? Love to see it.

    Until WE.177 - a laydown bomb - no British weapon released from medium to high altitudes used parachutes to 'slow the bomb's fall'. So Yellow Sun didn't 'do away' with parachutes. The blunt nose was adopted to slow the weapon, keeping it at all times sub-sonic to avoid the supersonic shock waves and barometric sensing problems that had plagued Blue Danube, and to a lesser extent Red Beard. Worked as a junior design engineer on all three plus Violet Club. WE.177 was totally different. It was designed for release at Mach 1.15 at very low-level by TSR2. The parachute was to reduce forward speed before ground impact at approx 200 fps (136 mph).

    For interest a concrete core which must have been used for drop testing.
    Notice 32 fuse pockets.
    No real scale but about the correct size for an Orange Herald core.
    May have been used for drop tests? No evidence to support that though, just speculation. Anyone know the results of the 3.30 at Doncaster?

    Final weapon was WE177 which used different cores.
    Untrue. There was only one core. Only one fission device codenamed KATIE that was fitted to all three versions of WE.177. It yielded kt and 10 kt in the Type A. In the Type B and Type C the Katie fission device was used to ignite a fusion secondary (not the same thing as a core). Indeed, there is evidence that the fission device that triggered the Polaris A3T warhead's fusion secondary was a very similar variant of Katie. I believe you've become confused by the definition of the word 'core'. It shouldn't be used in the context you describe.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinA View Post
    Ok
    First Blue Danube
    A proven drop shape based on Barnes Wallis's work.
    Evidence?

    What evidence there is says the very opposite.

    The Air Ministry & Min of Supply recommended Wallis to Sir William Penney. However, Penney (a mathematician) disliked self-made engineers intensely, and blocked Wallis' appointment. And Wallis wanted the job on his own terms at Vickers. Neither Penney at AWRE or Whitehall would consider placing such sensitive work outside their direct control.

    As for design antecedents - Tallboy was a bomb with offset fins to impart spin. At an early stage it was rejected because no one knew if the delicate mechanisms of an atom bomb could be made to withstand the centrifugal forces generated. Instead, the design originated with Project Emulsion, conducted in the US with a borrowed B-29. The basic difficulty was the large bomb diameter of 62" and the max possible length of 24 ft to fit into the V-Force bomb bays. A short, stubby bomb. Quite unlike Tallboy. It needed flip-out fins to prevent it tumbling. Emulsion was intended to do the basic research and establish the design requirements. Wallis played no part in it. He'd been blackballed by Penney.

  10. #30
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Nuclear Weapons info

    It needed flip-out fins to prevent it tumbling.

    The main reason that retractable fins were used was for space saving within the bomb bay otherwise the fins would have been longer and fixed although I accept that bomb bay turbulence during weapon release may also have been a factor.

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