B-61 Nuclear Bomb

Nuclear Bomb

The B-61 is a free-fall tactical Thermonuclear Bomb. Carried by attack and bomber aircraft, it is the mainstay of our tactical nuclear arsenal. It is one of the few bombs that can be dropped above Mach 1.  It can be slowed from supersonic speeds to 35 mph in under 5 seconds using a 24 foot Nylon and Kevlar blend parachute. One unique feature of the B-61 is the selectable yield for the warhead, also known as Dial-A-Yield. The selections range from 0.3 kilotons to 170 kilotons, or roughly 170,000 tons of TNT.  The bomb that we have is NOT a real device, but a training aid. It is the exact size and weight of the actual B-61 and was used to train the crews who loaded armament on the aircraft.







STATISTICS

Mission

Free-fall gravity bomb

Developed by

USA

Deployed by

USA

Service

Strategic Air Command

Development Year

1966

Deployment Year

1967

Targets

All

Platform

Most NATO nuclear capable aircraft

Number Built

3,150

Number Deployed

600 (tactical), 700 (strategic)

Contractor

 

SPECIFICATION / PERFORMANCE

Length

11 ft. 9.5 in.

Body Diameter

1 ft. 1.4 in.

Wing/Fin Span

1 ft. 10.5 in.

Launch Weight

 

Range

 

Speed

 

SUBSYSTEMS

Propulsion

none

Engine

none

Payload

 

Warhead

W-80, W-81, W-84 and W-85 Thermonuclear warheads with selectable yield options:

Mod-3 (0.3 / 1.5 / 60 / 170 kilotons) (Tactical)
Mod-4 (0.3 / 1.5 / 10 / 45 kilotons) (Tactical)
Mod-7 (10 / ? / 340 kilotons) (Strategic)
Mod-10 (0.3 / 5 / 10 / 80 kilotons) (Tactical)
Mod-11 (0.3 / ? / 340 kilotons) (Tactical / Strategic)

Fuzing

In flight fuzing and yield selection merely by turning a dial. Full fuzing options (FUFO): high or low speed delivery, high altitude or low altitude (release heights as low as 50 ft.). Current mods have five fuzing options:

Free fall air burst (high altitude only)
Parachute retarded airburst (high or medium altitudes)
Free fall contact burst (high or medium altitudes)
Parachute retarded contact burst (high or medium altitudes)
Parachute retarded laydown delayed surface burst (delivery altitudes up to 5000 feet), 31 and 81 sec delays available

The Mod 11 has a special ground impact time delay feature to allow it to penetrate into the earth before detonating.

Delivery accuracy <600 feet.

Parachute

Spin stabilized by rocket. 24 ft. Nylon/Kevlar-29 ribbon parachute ejected by gas generator. Allows rapid deceleration from supersonic velocity (only 2 seconds required to decelerate to 35 mph). Tested at up to Mach 1.2.