Military Review

The most dangerous US nuclear weapon in history: the dirty SLAM missile

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At the end of the 50s, in the midst of the Cold War, the United States attempted to create the most dangerous and destructive nuclear weapons в stories - SLAM missiles, causing great damage to infrastructure and the environment in the territory of the enemy.


For seven years, the US government has been developing a project to create, without exaggeration, the most deadly weapon in history. The development was called Supersonic Low Altitude Missile (SLAM) and was supposed to be the first (and, apparently, the last) absolute nuclear weapons.

Vintage video will help to understand the details. In addition to intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, the United States Air Force wanted to have a third type of weaponry in order to launch retaliatory strikes in case the Cold War develops into a “hot” phase. The result was a SLAM - a nuclear-powered cruise missile that could fly for weeks before bringing rain of hydrogen bombs down on enemy rears.



The project, which received the working title The Big Stick (lit. "Big Stick") was transferred to the aerospace giant Convair. SLAM was considered as a nuclear-powered cruise missile that could penetrate enemy airspace at low altitude, drop nuclear bombs on targets, and then commit "suicide" in enemy territory and contaminate it with radioactive substances. The Pentagon hoped that the weapon would be ready for 1965 year - six years after the release of this film.

The launch of SLAM was carried out with the help of a special launch vehicle, and after reaching a certain threshold of speed, the own nuclear engine of the rocket began to work. According to calculations, it could stay in the air for up to several weeks: the entrance into the airspace of the enemy was at an altitude of 300 meters or less at a speed of Mach 3,5 (1160 m / s), and an unscreened nuclear reactor would further pollute the environment with radioactive waste.

SLAM was designed to carry nuclear weapons or more powerful thermonuclear bombs. The version of the rocket, shown in the video, contained one warhead with a thermonuclear filling, but could also carry smaller nuclear bombs - according to some sources, up to 26 units.

SLAM was canceled in 1964, amid concerns about its profitability and practicality. Testing a rocket designed to emit lethal doses of radiation was a very difficult and dangerous undertaking (although most of the individual components, including the reactor, were successfully prototyped). Ultimately, the use of such missiles would turn the Earth into a radioactive desert. Finally, the creation of conventional nuclear warheads was cheaper, simpler and much faster.
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https://www.popmech.ru/weapon/399452-samoe-opasnoe-yadernoe-oruzhie-ssha-za-vsyu-istoriyu-gryaznaya-raketa-slam/
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  1. demiurg
    demiurg 3 December 2017 07: 06
    11
    Kuzkina's mother in a ground explosion looks much more promising.
    But the imagination that the Americans, that our egg-headed 60s is impressive, didn’t want to trifle for 100-200 kilotons.
    1. pilot306
      pilot306 3 December 2017 07: 53
      +4
      In addition to the defeat factors listed in the article, SLEM had a monstrous shock wave from flying at three Machs at low altitude, which would kill all life below.
    2. 210ox
      210ox 3 December 2017 15: 03
      +3
      By the way, we developed an aircraft with an "atomic" engine .. For the same reasons, they covered up pollution, potential danger, and special aerodromes (normal landing was not possible due to high radioactivity)
      Quote: demiurg
      Kuzkina's mother in a ground explosion looks much more promising.
      But the imagination that the Americans, that our egg-headed 60s is impressive, didn’t want to trifle for 100-200 kilotons.
  2. polpot
    polpot 3 December 2017 08: 39
    0
    Thanks for the article. I wonder how much money was spent on preparing such a crazy project.
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 3 December 2017 10: 12
    +9
    Yeah .... There was a time .... "romantic"! Whatever the project, the "nuclear"! Nuclear power plants, nuclear ships, submarines, missiles, airplanes, atomic artillery ... you open a book (NFL), read it at your leisure ... and there you see: atomic hovercraft tanks, the same infantry fighting vehicles ; infantrymen in spacesuits-capsules with blasters at the ready and "atomic" satchels behind their backs .... Full "paragraph" !!! What is tepericha? Boredom!
    1. Monster_Fat
      Monster_Fat 3 December 2017 11: 49
      +5
      I agree. It is necessary to develop a variety of new “Wishlist” in order to force the nouveau riche and the state to invest not in competition with the goal of overthrowing one government or another in the name of further stuffing their money and not in the production of “iPhones” and “iPads”, but in creating something such as flying, underwater, underground cities, settlements on the Moon and other planets, which will push humanity to a new technological leap and the current "problems" by and large, "sucked from the finger" will go by the wayside ...
  5. Old26
    Old26 3 December 2017 14: 07
    +1
    Quote: polpot
    Thanks for the article. I wonder how much money was spent on preparing such a crazy project.

    not at all. unless the money spent on the movie and on the paper on which it was painted
  6. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 3 December 2017 15: 59
    +2
    [/ quote] Entrance into the airspace of the enemy was carried out at an altitude of 300 meters or less at a speed of Mach 3,5 (1160 m / s), [quote]
    Adroit piarast move for knocking out money. 1160 m / s at an altitude of 300 m is, in principle, an unattainable parameter for structural strength, I’m completely silent about the possibility of creating an engine for this aircraft. I understand that in the model aircraft circles of the Palaces of the Pioneers of the USSR projects of photon engines for interstellar spaceships were also created, but the Palaces of the Pioneers did this for free.
    1. ZVO
      ZVO 3 December 2017 20: 15
      0
      Quote: Aviator_
      Entrance into the enemy’s airspace was carried out at an altitude of 300 meters or less at a speed of Mach 3,5 (1160 m / s),
      Adroit piarast move for knocking out money. 1160 m / s at an altitude of 300 m is in principle an unattainable parameter


      You are inattentive.
      Or low-altitude flight at a height of 300 meters
      Or high-altitude flight with a speed of 3,5M.
      Depending on the type of air defense, an air defense breakthrough mode is chosen.
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 3 December 2017 23: 04
        0
        I quoted the text of the article
        [/ quote] Entrance into the airspace of the enemy was carried out at an altitude of 300 meters or less at a speed of Mach 3,5 (1160 m / s), [quote]
        , so there is no question of dual-mode. This is obvious nonsense - to plan a new carrier for a completely new non-existent engine. The ideas of Soviet pioneers about a photon interplanetary ship are somewhat closer to embodiment, that is, no one thought about embodiment here. Very similar to the German Zenger 1945 project of the year on orbital planning media.
  7. shinobi
    shinobi 4 December 2017 05: 46
    0
    This project was actually closed for another simple and very banal reason. The proposed storage and conservation sites required a level of bioprotection as on a working reactor for each storage unit.
    1. vadimtt
      vadimtt 4 December 2017 13: 41
      0
      Why would it be, fresh nuclear fuel is not dangerous. And her warhead is not "dirty", but the usual one - nuclear or thermonuclear. So storage - like all similar ammunition.
  8. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 4 December 2017 23: 16
    +1
    And how were they going to experience this - they wanted to arrange an environmental paragraph over the territory of the United States or a likely adversary or the Atlantic? One of the problems with nuclear bombers was precisely the possibility of a plane crash. And this product has a plane crash - this is a regular situation. Again, what material can withstand a long three-swing shaving flight? Therefore, they closed the project. This is a project from the same series as Star Wars - they implemented, implemented, but did not realize.