At nearly one and a half megatons, the B83 is the largest bomb the United States keeps in its arsenal. The bomb is 12 feet long and 18 inches in diameter and weighs approximatly 2,400 lbs. Caleb Larson, a defense writer for The National Interest, writes (abridged):
At nearly one and a half tons, the B83 is the largest nuclear bomb that the United States currently keeps. Its nuclear tiled is 1.2 megatons—significantly more powerful than either of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it’s had a colorful history.
Though often thought of as a domain best left to Hollywood, asteroid impacts could pose a real danger to the United States. Like the blockbuster film Armageddon showed, a large enough interstellar object could end life on Earth as we known it. The threat of impact is great enough, that NASA designed a spacecraft with just one purpose—to deflect objects on a collision course with Earth.
The launch vehicles would be launched in a staggered succession, allowing NASA several “shots” at any Earth-bound projectile in case the first interceptors failed to detonate, went off course, or experienced any other operational hiccups.
The so-called nuclear interceptor would carry a total of six packages that would each carry the nuclear components from a B83. At a close enough distance, the hope was a large enough nuclear explosion would pummel the threatening interstellar body away from Earth—though this would be no guarantee of survival.
In any case, the end of the line may be approaching for the B83. Its smaller and less-powerful little sibling, the B61 was recently upgraded. Though costly, the upgrades will keep the B61 in service for at least another twenty years. And the B83? It might be reserved in the future exclusively for use with the Space Force.
Read the full article here.