The bomb too big to use

On the morning of 30 October 1961, a Soviet Tu-95 bomber took off from Olenya airfield in the Kola Peninsula in the far north of Russia.

The Tu-95 was a specially modified version of a type that had come into service a few years earlier; a huge, swept-wing, four-engined monster tasked with carrying Russia’s arsenal of nuclear bombs.

The last decade had seen enormous strides in Soviet nuclear research. World War Two had placed the US and USSR in the same camp, but the post-war period had seen relations chill and then freeze. And the Soviets, presented with a rivalry against the world’s only nuclear superpower, had only one option – to catch up. Fast.

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  • andycanuck

    Building the Bomb to kill Japs: bad.
    Building the Bomb to catch up to the U.S.: good (even when they didn’t nuke you when they had the monopoly on it; or even threaten to use it to get you to withdraw from Eastern Europe.)

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      There’s a boatload of technological questions I have about this.

      • Drunk by Noon ✓

        “Uncle Walt”, my father’s brother, spent his entire professional life designing nukes for Untied Technologies, perhaps I can help? 🙂

        • dance…dancetotheradio

          Control systems.
          Analog or digital?

          • Drunk by Noon ✓

            Analog actually.
            Why?
            Graceful failure!
            This was in the late 1970’s, likely different now.

  • El Martyachi ✓ᴴᵉˡᶦᶜᵒᵖᵗᵉʳᶦˢᵗ

    I beg to differ on this whole “too big to use” premise, good sirs.