W82

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The W82 was a low yield tactical nuclear warhead developed by the United States and designed to be used in a 155mm artillery shell (sometimes called the XM785 shell). It was conceived as a more flexible replacement for the W48, the previous generation of 155mm nuclear artillery shell. A previous attempt to replace the W48 with the W74 munition was canceled due to cost.

Originally envisioned as a dual purpose weapon, with interchangeable components to allow the shell to function as either a 'standard' fission explosive, or an "enhanced radiation" device, the warhead was developed at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory[1] starting in 1977. The eventual prototype round had a yield of 2 kilotons in a package 34 inches long and weighing 95 lbs,[1] which included the rocket-assisted portion of the shell. The unit cost of the weapon was estimated at $4 million.[2] Although enhanced radiation devices were considered more effective at blunting an invasion due to the high and persistent[citation needed] radiation that they produce, the more complex design eventually led to the cancellation of the dual purpose W-82-0 program in 1982. Development of a 'standard' weapon, the W-82-1, was restarted in 1986. The program was finally cancelled in 1991 due to the end of the Cold war.

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