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"Are Mini-Nuclear Weapons Coming Back In Vogue?" Topic

7 Posts

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2017 9:19 p.m. PST

"The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for "variable yield" bombs nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch.

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn't even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

Throughout much the Cold War, the thinking in Washington and especially Moscow was that bigger yields was better: the more destruction, the more deterrence. This thinking drove the Soviet Union to build the most powerful bomb ever, the Tzar Bomba, whose 100,000 kilotons, detonated over DC, would burn Baltimore…"


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Lion in the Stars04 Aug 2017 10:18 p.m. PST

The problem I see with mini-nukes is the idea that they would be more acceptable to use.

Also, 20 kilotons is the scale of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so not exactly a small boom.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2017 10:20 p.m. PST

Or perhaps we should invest a lot more in the development of kinetic rods. :)

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Stryderg05 Aug 2017 1:32 a.m. PST

The moral stigma against using nukes is not universal.
Smaller just means easier to deploy.

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2017 4:31 a.m. PST

Cheaper to update and improve the Davy Crockett.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2017 6:47 a.m. PST


Nukes are just annoying to deploy, politically. It would generate way too many negative hashtags. :)


Oberlindes Sol LIC05 Aug 2017 11:53 p.m. PST

Traveller gave us spinal mount weapons -- a weapon tube that runs the entire length of a ship -- and Gauss weapons -- weapons that use electromagnets to shoot a projectile. GDW never put the two concepts together, but I think that the various design rules could be used to design a ship with a spinal mount Gauss gun.

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