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atomic suitcase bombs

In 1997, the public became aware of a Russian nuclear device they had not known even existed--the so-called suitcase bomb. These devices were made for the Soviet KGB. One of these bombs had an explosive charge of one kiloton, equivalent to one thousand tons of TNT. If a device like this made its way to the U.S. it could destroy everything within a half-mile radius of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Within hours, prevailing winds would carry the nuclear fallout throughout Washington.


What are these Russian suitcase bombs like?

The comments of Alexei Yablokov, former science adviser to Boris Yeltsin; Russian General Vladimir Dvorkin; policy expert Matthew Bunn; U.S. General Eugene Habiger; and U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon.


he U.S. Version of a 'Suitcase Bomb' (with video)

In the 1960s the U.S. built its own version of a mini nuclear device-- the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM). It weighed 80-100 pounds, was small enough to fit in a duffel bag or large case and was designed for sabotage missions-- airfields, bridges, dams. Like the Russian device, it had an explosive charge of roughly one thousand tons of TNT ( one kiloton).

Film of the SADM was declassified in 1997 and shows how it would be deployed by a parachutist for a jump mission into water to reach a target. Although the parachute jumps and retrieval operations were rehearsed many times, the project was never put to use and these nuclear devices do not exist in current stockpiles.

(Both video clips require RealPlayer 5.0 or higher and a 56K modem to be viewed).

First Video Clip

This shows how the SADM was designed for a parachute jump and "swimmer delivery system." The SADM was fit into a special flotation bag so the atomic munition would float when the parachutist hit the water. This clip also shows how the flotation bag was designed to attach to the parachutist's body.

Second Video Clip

This shows test jumps into water from several Navy and Marine aircraft, and how the Navy parachutist- with the SADM attached- swims to target and de-attaches and activates the bomb.



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