Concrete Blue Danube Atom Bomb

Contributed by Adrian Armishaw

Concrete Blue Danube Atom Bomb

This large concrete sphere is a full scale production mock-up of Blue Danube, Britain's first operational atomic weapon. The design was based upon the American 'Fat Man' design which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. It was intended to be the primary armament of the RAF V bomber force.

The bomb used a system of 32 explosive lenses to focus a spherical pressure wave on to a sub-critical plutonium fissile core, compressing it into a super-critical mass which created a nuclear explosion equivalent to 14,000 tons of TNT.

The complete weapon was 24ft long, 5ft in diameter and weighed 10,000lb.

The first Blue Danube was deilvered to RAF Wittering in November 1953. In April 1954 No. 1321 Flight RAF was established at Wittering to integrate the weapon into RAF service. Following on the success of the 'Hurricane' tests at Monte Bello in October 1952, 1321 Flight assembled and loaded all of the live test weapons on to Valiant bombers of 49 Squadron and 138 Squadron for tests at Maralinga and Christmas Island.

A total of 58 weapons were produced, costing £1,000,000 each.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 22:30 on 27 March 2010, Ian Fraser wrote:

    Wow, what a potent object, part of the bigger Cold War story.

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