Military Review

How a nuclear warhead works

26
How a nuclear warhead works



The entire bulk of intercontinental ballistic missiles, tens of meters and tons of superalloys, high-tech fuel and perfect electronics are needed only for one thing - to deliver a warhead to its destination: a cone about a meter and a half high and thick at the base with a man’s body. Most powerful weapon on Earth is very compact - a thermonuclear charge with a power of 300 kilotons (20 Hiroshima) is shaped and volume like an ordinary bucket.

In addition to the charge, there is a control unit in the warhead. It is also small in size - with a can - and performs several tasks at once. Home - undermining the charge at a certain, strictly calculated height. Nuclear weapons are not intended for use on the earth's surface - except to disable the underground launch pits of enemy ballistic missiles, Popular Popular Mechanics writes. 1200 meters are considered to be the optimum altitude of missile warheads. In this case, the blast wave reflected from the earth's body merges with the other, diverging to the sides, and enhances it - this is how the main striking factor of a nuclear explosion, the all-crushing shock wave, is formed.

Automation of the combat unit controls the steering engines: pneumatic or powder, and monitors the thermostatic charge stabilization, since the weapons-grade plutonium, of which it is, is in a normal state, it tends to heat up. In addition, the cone has an onboard power grid with power supplies and protection from electromagnetic impulses. All this farm is securely mounted on the shock absorbers and enclosed in a strong power frame, covered on top with a thick layer of thermal insulation.

I will go to the distant station


The technology by which warheads are separated from the rocket and placed on their own courses is a separate big topic about which you can write books. Therefore, we just say that today the "bus" scheme is used: the breeding unit in the right place brakes, turns around, releases the warhead - in order not to lead it astray, it can even turn off its engines for a while - then it accelerates again and follows to the next "stop". All this ballet takes place at an altitude of 1200 kilometers, where artificial earth satellites fly.

Separated from the last stage, the combat unit reaches the top of its trajectory, and then begins to fall towards the Earth. It enters the atmosphere at an exorbitant speed — 15 times faster than sound — its outer shell heats up to five to six thousand degrees and begins to burn. The worst part is the bow - in the warheads it is made of quartz and covered with the thickest layer of thermal insulation. However, the sides are not good either: the air turned into a plasma polishes the burning surface of the warhead like sand or emery paper, taking away the heat-shielding coating.

At an altitude of 50 kilometers above the surface of the warhead enters the dense layers of the atmosphere and is experiencing powerful negative overloads: the air slows down it no worse than the concrete wall - the accelerated car. This is where the power cage works together with shock-absorbing mounts - otherwise the contents of the combat unit will be derailed from the regular places, breaking the power and communication cables.

Bound by one goal


Thermonuclear charge and control unit continuously communicate with each other. This “dialogue” begins immediately after the installation of a warhead on a rocket, and it ends at the moment of a nuclear explosion. All this time, the control system prepares the charge to act, as a trainer - boxer to a responsible duel. And at the right moment gives the last and most important command.

When putting a rocket on combat duty, its charge is equipped to a complete set: a pulsed neutron activator, detonators and other equipment are installed. But he is not yet ready for the explosion. For decades to keep in a mine or on a mobile launcher a nuclear missile, ready to jerk at any time, is simply dangerous.

Therefore, during the flight, the control system transfers the charge to a state of readiness for an explosion. This happens gradually, with complex sequential algorithms based on two main conditions: the reliability of movement to the target and control over the process. Should one of these factors deviate from the calculated values ​​and the training will be terminated. The electronics translate the charge to an ever-higher degree of readiness in order to give a command to trigger at the design point.

A nuclear explosion occurs instantaneously: a warhead flying at the speed of a bullet manages to pass only a few hundredths of a millimeter, as all the power of a thermonuclear charge turns into light, fire, impact and radiation - and all this is a terrifying force.
Author:
Originator:
https://rg.ru/2016/06/09/kak-rabotaet-iadernaia-boegolovka.html
26 comments
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  1. Nik_One
    Nik_One 13 June 2016 05: 47
    +5
    No offense to the author, but it seems that on the one hand there is an article about the important, on the other about nothing ...))) Or how to illustrate with photographs it would be possible to more open up the topic of putting into combat readiness, entering a flight mission ...
    1. svp67
      svp67 13 June 2016 08: 19
      +15
      Quote: Nik_One
      but, it seems, on the one hand, an article about the important, on the other, about nothing ...

      Yes, about what, about what. Well this is almost a POEMA, the author with such love talks about this complex machine, that it is just right to give his story to children to read, in physics lessons.
      Quote: Nik_One
      can illustrate with photographs

      As well as diagrams and drawings. Yes, it would be more informative and interesting ...
    2. AVV
      AVV 13 June 2016 11: 23
      +1
      The author is terribly far from this topic !!! And draws all the information from popular mechanics !!! Probably Sergey Kirienko or Yu.G. Sych will probably write better !!!
      1. Baby doll
        Baby doll 13 June 2016 13: 15
        0
        I doubt that Kiriyenko would write better, but Yuri Grigorievich could write. But the topic is, so to speak, sensitive, so it won’t write. By the way, how close do you know him?
        1. Temples
          Temples 24 June 2016 20: 54
          0
          All this ballet takes place at an altitude of 1200 kilometers, where artificial Earth satellites fly.

          Seriously? Into such an orbit ???
    3. sherp2015
      sherp2015 13 June 2016 11: 29
      +2
      Quote: Nik_One
      No offense to the author, but it seems that on the one hand there is an article about the important, on the other about nothing ...))) Or how to illustrate with photographs it would be possible to more open up the topic of putting into combat readiness, entering a flight mission ...

      Quote: svp67
      Yes, about what, about what. Well this is almost a POEMA, the author with such love talks about this complex machine, that it is just right to give his story to children to read, in physics lessons.

      Quote: svp67
      As well as diagrams and drawings. Yes, it would be more informative and interesting ...


      )) Yeah, with all the drawings and calculations, for the mentally ill or fanatics - extremists.

      But in fact, the author +. Well done, informative
      1. midivan
        midivan 13 June 2016 23: 59
        +1
        Quote: sherp2015
        )) Yeah, with all the drawings and calculations, for the mentally ill or fanatics - extremists.

        belay come on! and will they make up? Well, then I do not understand why so many scientists are struggling with this and "give" their lives if it can be sick fanatics and extremists? what
  2. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 13 June 2016 06: 31
    +7
    The beginning of similar material yesterday,
    http://topwar.ru/96673-boegolovka-chto-vnutri-i-kak-ona-rabotaet-posle-otdeleniy

    a-ot-rakety.html # comment-id-5968326

    The material is interesting and presented quite popularly. thanks
    The translation of the article and into Western editions, maybe there it will come to anyone that even in the warhead there is a brain.
    1. Midshipman
      Midshipman 13 June 2016 21: 09
      0
      The article is a copyright of an article from the magazine Popular mechanics of two months ago and most likely it also exists in the English version.
  3. Cheget
    Cheget 13 June 2016 06: 47
    +5
    why repeat, yesterday the article was about a warhead and there it was all in the text and in more detail
    1. aszzz888
      aszzz888 13 June 2016 07: 14
      +2
      Cheget AF Today, 06:47 AM New
      why repeat, yesterday the article was about a warhead and there it was all in the text and in more detail

      Repetition is the mother of learning!
  4. Professor
    Professor 13 June 2016 07: 11
    +4
    Yesterday there was an article about the same, but somewhat more detailed. Repeat however. negative
    Warhead: what's inside and how it works after separation from the rocket
  5. aszzz888
    aszzz888 13 June 2016 07: 12
    +2
    Nice article, thanks to the author. It would be nice to read it at night, and in addition to see colored dreams, how the ammunition explodes and its consequences! And the kilkoshprotam, with some other countries and countries, it would be nice to get acquainted with the article, with such constancy, with which they repeat about our "just about the offensive"! D, b! laughing
  6. Old26
    Old26 13 June 2016 07: 48
    +2
    The article is good, but why repeat it? Yesterday there was a similar article, more detailed
  7. cte-power
    cte-power 13 June 2016 10: 22
    0
    article - slag
  8. Alex
    Alex 13 June 2016 12: 44
    +3
    What a weird remake? Moreover, quite mediocre. I try not to put minuses, but I couldn’t stand it: what is the use of a place for nothing? ..
  9. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 13 June 2016 13: 13
    0
    Yesterday it was told about it more fully and more professionally. Popular Mechanics isn't the best source. Let the author take the filing of the Soviet DOSAAF issue "To help the pre-conscript", the section "WMD and protection of him".
  10. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 13 June 2016 14: 52
    0
    And what, no one understands that this is a "sov. secret" topic? And whoever the author is, no one will allow disclosing true information about the device and principles of operation, guidance, detonation - well, and protection at the attack site. The author did not say, for example, about the false targets that are loaded into such warheads, and it is IN NO way to distinguish where the false target is, and where is the real one. And you have not a million antimissiles.
    1. Baby doll
      Baby doll 13 June 2016 15: 53
      +2
      Take it easy! According to the content of the article, it is clear that the author in no way has anything to do with "sov.secretny" information and cannot damage the country's defense, everything was pulled from open sources. If you set yourself a goal and surf the Internet, you can find more detailed descriptions of the nuclear warhead device: about implosion, and about boosting, etc. An article for housewives ...
      1. midivan
        midivan 14 June 2016 00: 06
        +1
        Quote: Pupsen
        Take it easy! According to the content of the article, it is clear that the author is in no way related to the "sov. Secret" information

        It has!!!
        The most powerful weapon on Earth is very compact - a thermonuclear charge with a capacity of 300 kilotons (20 Hiroshim) in shape and volume resembles an ordinary bucket.
        In addition to the charge, there is a control unit in the warhead. It is also small in size - with a can-!
        judging by comparisons, the author is related to the collective farm foreman or at least the factory warehouse lol
  11. PKK
    PKK 14 June 2016 05: 56
    0
    Some kind of failure occurred, more voluminous material, just what was presented. Now the repetition is abridged. Either there was a change in leadership of VO, or there are memory lapses.
  12. Engineer
    Engineer 14 June 2016 08: 45
    0
    The headline thought there would be a description of the processes during the explosion of a nuclear charge.
  13. Old26
    Old26 14 June 2016 08: 56
    0
    Quote: midivan
    Quote: Pupsen
    Take it easy! According to the content of the article, it is clear that the author is in no way related to the "sov. Secret" information

    It has!!!

    Something is not clear. Then comparing the mass-overall dimensions of the charge and the control unit with a bucket and can, you write that:
    judging by comparisons, the author is related to the collective farm foreman or at least the factory warehouse lol
    , then find that all this has to do with top-secret information? And where are they there?
    Not worth making up. The article is informative, "for dummies", although the previous article by another author was more interesting and detailed. And what about classified information. At one time in the textbook "Social Science" for the 10th grade there was approximately the following phrase.
    "The design of a rocket and an atomic bomb is generally so simple that their blueprints are in high school physics textbooks. And the details are so complex that they constitute a state secret."
    So is the author. He didn’t reveal anything secret.
  14. Zulu_S
    Zulu_S 12 July 2016 12: 03
    0
    I read it with interest. At the same time in the comments received a link to a "more detailed and interesting" article. Thanks both to the author and the society, with respect ...
  15. Winged yellow eyes
    Winged yellow eyes 4 August 2017 12: 25
    0
    It has!!!
    The most powerful weapon on Earth is very compact - a thermonuclear charge with a capacity of 300 kilotons (20 Hiroshim) in shape and volume resembles an ordinary bucket.
    In addition to the charge, there is a control unit in the warhead. It is also small in size - with a can-!
    judging by comparisons, the author is related to the collective farm leader or at least the warehouse warehouse lol

    Well, what bothers you) A place where nuclear weapons have been developed for more than half a century until recently and looked like a collective farm or state farm - in the good sense of the word) Forest, nature, ordinary people. These are already impregnable “AkadEmiki”, foggers and other PSR-ov infection appeared later - when, in fact, the development of all these “barrels” (slang name “cans”), “buckets”, “balls” and other things was no longer carried out, and only their modernization was carried out. By the way, the place where the very first nuclear warheads were made now resembles a village or collective farm (and from the very beginning it was even more reminiscent of, and one of the sites bore and still bears a warm name - Platonikha) and is even now open for free visits)
  16. Winged yellow eyes
    Winged yellow eyes 4 August 2017 12: 32
    0
    Quote: Winged Yellow-Eyed
    It has!!!
    The most powerful weapon on Earth is very compact - a thermonuclear charge with a capacity of 300 kilotons (20 Hiroshim) in shape and volume resembles an ordinary bucket.
    In addition to the charge, there is a control unit in the warhead. It is also small in size - with a can-!
    judging by comparisons, the author is related to the collective farm leader or at least the warehouse warehouse lol

    Well, what bothers you) A place where nuclear weapons have been developed for more than half a century until recently and looked like a collective farm or state farm - in the good sense of the word) Forest, nature, ordinary people. These are already impregnable “AkadEmiki”, foggers and other PSR-ov infection appeared later - when, in fact, the development of all these “barrels” (slang name “cans”), “buckets”, “balls” and other things was no longer carried out, and only their modernization was carried out. By the way, the place where the very first nuclear warheads were made now resembles a village or collective farm (and from the very beginning it was even more reminiscent of, and one of the sites bore and still bears a warm name - Platonikha) and is even now open for free visits)

    in fact, nothing surprising. The role of nuclear weapons is to remind us of the senselessness of any conflict, and the huge, simply incalculable, technical base that HISTORICALLY arose in connection with nuclear weapons (and the first scientists who made it - Korolev and Kurchatov dreamed, as we know about something completely different - Korolev - of conquering space, Kurchatov - on thermonuclear energy) has both civilian and military (but not in terms of nuclear explosions) practical applications.