Mark 6 nuclear bomb

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A Mark 6 nuclear bomb

The Mark 6 nuclear bomb was an American nuclear bomb based on the earlier Mark 4 nuclear bomb and its predecessor, the Mark 3 Fat Man nuclear bomb design.

The Mark 6 was in production from 1951-1955 and saw service until 1962. Seven variants and versions were produced, with a total production run of all models of 1100 bombs.

The basic Mark 6 design was 61 inches in diameter and 128 inches long, the same basic dimensions as the Mark 4 and close to the Mark 3. Various models weighed 7,600 to 8,500 pounds.

Early models of the Mark 6 utilized the same 32-point implosion system design concept as the earlier Mark 4 and Mark 3; the Mark 6 Mod 2 and later used a different, 60-point implosion system.

Various models and pit options gave nuclear yields of 8, 26, 80, 154, and 160 kilotons for Mark 6 models.

Survivors[edit]

A Mark 6 casing is on display in the Cold War Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Variants[edit]

Mark 13[edit]

The Mark 13 nuclear bomb and W13 missile warhead were developed as higher efficiency Mark 6 successors, the same size and basic configuration as the Mark 6 but utilizing an improved 92-point implosion system. Because of its dangers, the Mark 13 was cancelled in August 1954 and the W13 cancelled September 1954, in both cases without ever seeing production service.

Mark 18[edit]

The Mark 18 nuclear bomb was a follow-on to the Mark 6 and Mark 13, utilizing a fissile pit assembly with around 60 kilograms of HEU and delivering a yield of 500 kilotons, the largest pure fission (non-thermonuclear) bomb design ever developed by the US. Mark 18 bombs were eventually recycled into Mark 6 Mod 6 bombs after thermonuclear weapons were deployed in quantity. The Mark 18 was tested once in Operation Ivy King.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]