does USA still have neutronbombs ?

does USA still have neutronbombs in it’s arsenal ?

And what is exactly the big difference between neutronbombs and atombom/hydrogenbombs?

I don’t know if we still have any, but the big difference was that the initial radiation flash from the neutron bomb was about as lethal as a standard device, with a relatively small concussive or thermal flash, so there would be relatively little physical destruction. In theory, a neutron bomb could be exploded in an airburst over a needed resource and kill all the people off without destroying the resource, such as a city or a railroad or pipeline terminal.

I tried seeking about this on wikipedia but it don’t seams to be working now

Wiki link

Seems to work for me.

An “atomic bomb” (or “atom”, or “nuclear”) is any bomb that uses a nuclear reaction to release energy. The first of these were fission bombs, such as those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and are powered by uranium or plutonium splitting (fissioning) into smaller atoms.

A “hydrogen bomb” (or “thermonuclear”) is a type of atomic bomb that uses fusion instead of fission. They’re powered by generally some type of hydrogen atoms, which are combined (fused) into larger atoms. A hydrogen bomb is generally actually triggered by a fission explosion, but there’s much more energy released from the fusion of hydrogen, so an H-bomb is generally around a thousand times more powerful than a fission bomb.

A “neutron bomb” is a specific type of hydrogen bomb, designed to maximize radiation, especially in neutrons. It still produces a hellacious blast, so you probably shouldn’t count on it leaving an oil rig or a city intact. The main military advantage is that even if your target is armored well enough to withstand the blast (yes, this is possible), it’s likely that the neutrons will penetrate the armor and kill the people inside anyway.

This is one of my favorite essays. It’s on the wiki page, but I thought I’d give you the direct link.

This is one of my faves. Not paying fifty bucks for it though.

In technical speak, this type of weapon is called an “enhanced radiation device” or ERD. As Chronos notes, the weapon is conceptually similiar to a thermonuclear device though it doesn’t complete the fusion stage to boost subsequent fission or fusion reactions, so it should be classed alongside boosted fission designs rather than multistage fusion weapons, although instead of using the “boost” to accentuate yield of ionizing radiation, it releases the neutrons into the environment, hence the notion that a neutron weapon is weaker in effect than a hydrogen bomb. It certainly does yield less blast than a device made of the same components but configured to optimize the blast, in exchange for higher neturon flux levels, but this is hardly to say that you’d want one to land down the street even if you weren’t home at the time.

An additional “benefit” to ERDs is that the neutron flux serves to “activate” normally stable common elements into radioactive isotopes. In some cases, it can even result in what is called a fast fission reaction, where elements will capture the fast (unmoderated) neutrons and undergo rapid fission themselves. Given that much modern tank armor and ammo is made of depleted uranium (a substance that will undergo FFR) this can turn a conventional advantage into a nuclear combat weakness.

Although the US did at one time maintain and deploy an arsenal of so-called tactical nuclear warheads (on the Lance missile, in howitzer shell form, and most controversally, a planned-but-never-implemented deployment on the Persing II IRBM which bridged between short range conventionals and strategic ICBMs), the primary role for ER warheads was in the arena of missile defense. The Nike-X/Sentinel/Safeguard system had interceptor components comprised of the Spartan long-range and Sprint short-range terminal phase interceptors, each of which were tipped with ERD warheads designed to disrupt an incoming warhead and render it incapable of detonating. (The Sprint missile was reputedly so accurate that the radar tracking and C[sup]3[/sup]I system had to be detuned to prevent the test interceptors from physically impacting the incoming target. One wonders, if this were true, why it wasn’t converted to a hit-to-kill kinetic interceptor.) The US did, after decades of R&D, implement the scaled down Safegaurd system at one location (the Stanley R. Mickelson complex, defending the MM silo cluster near Grand Forks, ND) but the program was cancelled by Congress one day after achieving full operational status owing to budgetary and political concerns.

Does the US still have ERDs? That’s a good question, the answer to which is uncertain. The tactical ER warheads that were deployed in Europe during the early Eighties have since been decommissioned and their components recycled. We no longer have any kind of nuclear-tip ABM (all current ABM programs focus on kinetic kill capability). This isn’t to say that we couldn’t have devices in the arsenal that are ER or ER-capable, but because these weapons require extremely expensive and unstable tritium to generate their large neutron flux pulse they’d be expensive to maintain, and of no great benefit in the current miiltary environment where the notion of “tactical” nuclear weapons has become increasingly unpopular (save for certain regrettably influential but ignorance elements of the National Command Structure).

Accentuating that is the cost of maintaining and performing assessment and survelliance on our aging nuclear stockpile; there’s some question as to the effect of continued decay by plutonium and enriched uranium upon weapon yield and even viability, and because we’ve lost the ability to generate new weapons grade materials and have only a limited ability to reprocess existing decom’d weapons into new configurations. Having to replunish large stockpiles of tritium would greatly add to this expense, especially because the US has very limited facilities to produce useful amounts of tritium, and that which is produced is in high demand for both research (nuclear, biological) and commercial applications.

My feeling is that if any exist they’re special purpose devices which are not part of a standard SIOP (single integrated operations plan) and certainly aren’t part of standard artillery or theatre missile deployments. I suspect that the same is true for Russian/Ukrainian arsenals (from a cost standpoint). France, Israel, and perhaps other nations who differ in their needs and perceptions from the standard bilateral stratetic conflict model are more likely to maintain such weapons, but that’s just a WAG.


Thank you very much. That was a great, great piece.

I cannot guarantee that the information on this website is 100% correct and up-to-date, but here is the U.S. arsenal, past and present. A cursory overview of the information in the first link indicates that all of the enhanced radiation (ER) devices have been retired.

ther’s also a 4th type of nuclear bomb - the Cobalt Bomb - which is described as far more radioactive and devilish than other nukes. It have been describes as the real doomsday weapon