B28 nuclear bomb

B28 nuclear bomb

The B28 (originally Mk 28) was a thermonuclear bomb carried by U.S. tactical fighter bombers and bomber aircraft. From 1962 to 1972 under the NATO nuclear weapons sharing program, American B28s also equipped six Europe-based Canadian CF-104 squadrons known as the RCAF Nuclear Strike Force. It was also supplied for delivery by UK-based Royal Air Force Valiant and Canberra aircraft assigned to NATO under the command of SACEUR.

Production history

The Mk 28 was produced from 1958 through 1966. It used the W28 lightweight, Class D warhead (also shared with the TM-76 Mace surface-to-surface missile and the GAM-77 Hound Dog air-launched cruise missile). After 1968 it was redesignated B28.

20 different versions were offered, distinguished by their yield and safety features. The B28 used the ‘building block’ principle, allowing various combinations of components for different aircraft and roles. The principal configurations were:

  • B28EX: streamlined external-carriage version for free-fall delivery; no parachute.
  • B28RE: streamlined external-carriage version with parachute retarder
  • B28IN: unstreamlined internal-carriage version for free-fall delivery; no parachute.
  • B28RI: unstreamlined internal-carriage version with parachute retarder
  • B28FI: unstreamlined internal-carriage version with parachute for laydown delivery; used only by SAC B-52s.

The B28 had a diameter of about 22 in (58 cm), with a length varying between 96 in (2.44 m) and 170 in (4.32 m) and weight of 1,700 lb (771 kg) to 2,320 lb (1,053 kg), depending on version. Explosive yield was 1.1 megaton for Mod 1 warheads, 350 kiloton for Mod 2, 70 kiloton for Mod 3, and 1.45 megaton for Mod 5. It could be configured for air burst or groundburst detonation. 4,500 B28s were produced. The last examples were retired in 1991.

Related designs

The B28 bomb design has been described as the origin of a series of related nuclear warheads. The nuclear fission first stage or primary, code-named the Python primary, was reused in several subsequent weapons.

Nuclear researcher Chuck Hansen's research indicates that the Python primary was used in the US B28 nuclear bomb, W28 nuclear warhead, W40 nuclear warhead, and W49 nuclear warhead.

See also

External links

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