Aircraft delivered, Free fall nuclear weapons

In the US Arsenal


    This site should (hopefully) provide a quick overview of U.S. air dropped nuclear weapons.  It is in no way intended to be an in-depth study.  I will add updates as time and materials allow.  All materials are drawn from published sources.


Mark 1 “Little Boy”

Length: 10’

Diameter: 2’ 4”

Weight: 8,900 lbs

Yield: 13kt

Notes: The Little Boy was a crude weapon and not stockpiled in numbers






 

 

Mark 3 “Fat Man”

Length: 10’ 5”

Diameter: 5’

Weight: 10,800 lbs

Yield: 23kt

Notes: Though an effective bomb for only the second one designed, the Mk 3 had some drawbacks, one of which was the aerodynamic instability that  resulted if (which did happen) any of the baffles in the tail section came lose during a drop.







Mark 4

Length: 10’ 8”

Diameter: 5’

Weight: 10,900 lbs

Yield: Ranging from 1 to 31kt

Notes:  The Mark 4 was basically a refined Fat Man with better aerodynamics. (Last photo USAF photo)

Mark IV Nuclear Bomb
Mark 4 Fission Bomb

 



Mark 5

Length: 10’ 8½”

Diameter: 3’ 7Ύ”

Weight: 3,175 lbs

Yield: 40 to 50kt

Notes:  The Mark 5  was a more practical bomb and stayed in service for some time. (The last photo shows a Mk 5 to the right of a Mk 6)

Mark 5 atom bomb

Mark 6 and Mark 5 atom bombs

 

 

Mark 6

Length: 10’ 8”

Diameter: 5’ 1”

Weight: 8,500 lbs

Yield: 40kt

Notes:

Mark 6 atom bomb





 

Mark 7

Length: 15’ 2½”

Diameter: 2’ 6½”

Weight: 1,600 lbs

Yield: 20kt

Notes: The Mk7 was well suited for  fighters and the training shape, called a "Blue Robin" due to the blue color used for  inert ordnance, was often seen under the wings of F-84s and F-100s.

 
Mark 7





 

Mark 8

Length: 9’ 8½”

Diameter: 1’ 2½”

Weight: 3,230

Yield: Kiloton class

Notes:

Mark 8 nuke
 


Mark 12

Length: 12' 11"

Diameter: 1' 10"

Weight: 1,200 lbs

Yield: 12 to 14kt

Notes:  The Mark 12 "Brok" was an early light weight implosion bomb.  Foldable tail fins, could be carried externally at Mach 1.4.


Mark 12 Nuclear Bomb


Mark 15

Length: 11’ 7”

Diameter: 2’ 10Ύ”

Weight: 7,600 lbs

Yield: 1 to 2mt

Notes: (USAF photo)

Mark 15 Thermonuclear bomb


Length: 12' 11"

Diameter: 1' 10"

Weight: 1,200 lbs

Yield: 12 to 14kt


Mark 17

Length:  24’ 9½”

Diameter: 5’ 1½”

Weight: 41,400 lbs

Yield: 15mt

Notes:  The Mk 17 was the largest thermonuclear weapon fielded by the United States.    Developed to be  delivered by the B-36 the massive weapon would  only fit into the bomb bay of a B-52 with mere inches to spare.  The bottom two photos show a Mark 17 next to a B-36J and another next to a B-52B.  Those photos give some idea of  the size of the Mk 17.

Mark 17 therm nuclear bomb



Mark 17 and B-36J



 

Mark 21

Length: 12’ 5Ύ”

Diameter: 4’ 10½”

Weight: 17,500 lbs

Yield: 10mt

Notes: Rebuilt as Mark 36.  Photos under the Mark 36 entry.

 

Mark 27

Length:  11’ 9½”

Diameter: 2’ 6Ό”

Weight: 3,150 lbs

Yield: Megaton class

Notes:

Mark 27 thermo nuclear bomb


Mark 28/B-28

Mark28/B-28

The  B-28 could be assembled in several configurations.  This chart at the National Museum of the United States Air Force illustrates those various configurations.


 

Mark 28-External

Length: 14’ 2½”

Diameter: 1’ 8”

Weight: 2,040 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes: Carried externally; no parachute

 

 

 

Mark 28-Full Fusing Internal

Length: 12’ 1Ό”

Diameter: 1’ 10”

Weight: 2,240 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes: Carried internally; equipped with one afoot pilot chute, one 16 foot and one 24 foot chute

 

Mark 28-Internal

Length:  

Diameter: 1’ 8”

Weight: 1,980 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes:  Carried internally; no parachute

Mark 28 Internal
 

 

Mark 28-Retarded External

Length: 13’ 9½”

Diameter: 1’ 8”

Weight: 2,170 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes: Carried externally; equipped with one afoot pilot chute and one 28 foot ribbon chute

 
Mark 28 Retarded External





 

Mark 28-Retarded Internal

Length: 12’ 3”

Diameter: 1’ 10”

Weight: 2,340 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes: Carried internally; equipped with one afoot pilot parachute, one 16.5 foot ribbon extraction chute, one 64 foot solid chute, and one 30 inch stabilization chute

Mark 28RI


(The two damaged casings are the two weapons recovered  after the accident at Palomares Spain in  1966)


Mark 36

Length: 12’ 5Ύ”

Diameter: 4’ 10½”

Weight: 17,500 lbs

Yield: Megaton class

Notes:

 
Mark 36 Thermo nuclear bomb


 

Mark 39

Length: 11’ 6”

Diameter: 2’ 10½”

Weight: 6,600 lbs

Yield: 4mt

Notes:

Mark 39 Thermo nuclear bomb




 

Mark 41

Length: 12’ 4Ύ”

Diameter: 4’ 2”

Weight: 10,670 lbs

Yield: Megaton class

Notes:

Mark 41 Thermonuclear bomb



 

 


Mark 53

Length: 12’4Ύ”

Diameter: 4’ 2”

Weight: 8,800 lbs

Yield: 9mt

Notes:

 

Mark 53
 

Mark 57/B-57

Length: 9’ 9½”

Diameter: 1’ 2Ύ”

Weight: 510 lbs

Yield: 5 to 10kt

Notes:

 
B-57 Bomb




 

 

B-11/Mark 91

Length: 12’ 2½”

Diameter: 1’ 2”

Weight: 3.343

Yield: Kiloton class

Notes:

 

 

B-43

Length: 12’ 6”

Diameter: 1’ 6”

Weight: 2,100 lbs

Yield: 1 to 2mt

Notes:

 



 

B-61

Length: 11’ 9½”

Diameter: 1’ 2Ύ”

Weight: 710 lbs

Yield: Variable 100 to 500kt

Notes:

   <>






 

B-83

Length: 12’

Diameter: 18”

Weight: 2,408 lbs

Yield: Variable

Notes:



Mark 90 “Betty”

Length: 10’ 2”

Diameter: 2’ 7½”

Weight: 1,243 lbs
Yield: 5 to 10kt

Notes:

Mark 90 "Betty" depth bomb


 

Mark 101 “LuLu”

Length: 7’ 6”

Diameter: 1’ 6”

Weight: 1,200 lbs
Yield: 10kt

Mark 101 "LuLu" depth bomb


Notes:


Mark 105 “HOTPOINT”

Length: 8’ (Internal) 12’ (External)

Diameter: 1’ 7”

Weight: 1,500 lbs
Yield: Low Kiloton

Notes: The HOTPOINT could be configured with different nose and tail sections to better suit various aircraft types.

 

 

 

AGM-62 “WALLEYE”

Length: 11’ 3”

Diameter: 1’ 3”
Weight: 2,000 lbs

Yield: 100kt

Notes: The WALLEYE has the appearance of a missile, but in fact is a guided glide weapon with a range of 16 to 35 miles depending on the version.

AGM-62 WALLEYE II






A brief list of aircraft types and weapons carried:

U S  Air Force



Mark A-7 F-84G F-84F F-86H
F-100 F-101 F-104 F-105  F-4 F-111 F-15 F-16 B-29 B-50 B-45 B-36 B-47 B-52 B-57 B-58 B-66 FB-111 B-70 B-1B B-2
1        
                X                        
3        
                X X   X                  
4        
                X X   X                  
5        
                X X X X X X              
6        
                X X   X X X              
7   X X X
X X                 X       X            
8   X    
                                         
12        
                                         
14        
                                         
15        
                        X X              
17        
                      X   X              
18        
                X X   X X X              
21        
                      X                  
24        
                      X                  
27        
                                         
28EX        
X X X X X                                
28FI        
                        X X     X     X  
28IN        
      X                 X X     X     X  
28RE        
X X X X X                                
28RI        
      X                 X X     X     X  
36        
                      X   X              
39        
                      X   X   X     ?    
41        
                        X X              
53        
                        X X   X     X    
57        
X                                        
B-43        
X X X X X X X X         X X X X X X ? X X
B-61 X      
X     X X X X X           X       X ? X X
B-83 X      
        X X X X           X       X ? X X
AGM-62 X      
                                         



























U S Navy



Mark AD-1 AJ A3D A-4
A-5 A-6 A-7 AV-8 F2H FJ-4B F3H-2 F9F-8 F-4 F-18 H-3 P5M P6M P-2 P-3 S-2 S-3



1        
                          X      



3        
                                 



4   X    
                                 



5   X X  
                                 



6   X    
                                 



7 X   X  
        X X X                    



8 X X X X
        X X                      



12 X   X X
  X     X X X X                  



14        
                                 



15   X X  
                                 



17        
                                 



18   X    
                                 



21        
                                 



24        
                                 



27     X  
X                                



28EX       X
  X X     X                      



28FI        
                                 



28IN     X  
X                                



28RE       X
  X X     X                      



28RI     X  
X                                



36        
                                 



39        
                                 



41        
                                 



53 X      
                                 



57     X X
  X X X           X X       X    



90 X      
                      X X X   X          
B-11/91 X   X X
          X                      



101 X   X X
          X         X     X X X X



105 X   X X
          X               X      



B-43     X  
X X       X     X                



B-61       X
  X X X         X                



B-83        
  X X           X X              



AGM-62       X
  X X           X                





    Some aircraft listed in the abopve chart were tested and capable of carrying the weapons listed but might very well have not carried them in operation.

    While Air Force A-7s could carry the same weapons as the USN A-7s it would appear that the Navy Corsair IIs had more of a nuclear mission than the USAF ones.

    The B-52 could carry the Mark 17 bomb, but is was not practical.  The casing was so large that it was not possible to arm the bomb once loaded aboard a B-52.

    The B-70 is a big question mark.   The Valkrie was designed to carry the Mark 53 and could very well have been fitted with other weapons as well.  However, as the only two airplanes built were completed as test aircraft only there were never weapons tests carried out with the airplane.

Broken Arrow Incidents
A/C Date Location Weapon Event Fate of weapon(s)
B-29 April 11, 1950 Kirtland AFB, NM Mk 4 Controlled flight into terrain Destroyed
B-29 August 5, 1950 Travis AFB, CA 1 X ? Crashed on landing Destroyed
B-50 July 13, 1950     Stall crash Destroyed
B-50 December 10, 1950     Bomb jettisoned Destroyed
B-36 February 13, 1950 Pacific 1 X ? Bomb jettisoned Destroyed
B-36 May 22, 1957 Kirtland AFB Mk 17 Accidental jettison Destroyed
B-47 March 10, 1956 Mediterranean 2 X ? Aircraft disappeared over the Med Lost
B-47 July 27, 1956 Lakenheath, UK 3 X Mk 6 Aircraft crashed into weapons storage recovered damaged
B-47 November 11, 1957     Accident on takeoff recovered damaged
B-47 January 31, 1958 Dyess AFB, TX 1 X ? Crash on takeoff Destroyed
B-47 February 2, 1958 Tybee Beach, GA 1 X ? Weapon jettisoned following a midair collison. Lost
B-47 March 11, 1958 Florence, SC 1 X ? Accidental jettison Destroyed
B-47 November 4, 1958     Crash on takeoff Destroyed
B-47 November 26, 1958 Chennault AFB, LA 1 X ? Fire while a/c was standing armed alert Destroyed
B-52 October 15, 1959 Hardinsberg, KY 2 X ? Collision with tanker Both recovered, one damaged
B-52 January 24, 1961 Goldsboro, NC 2 X ? Broke up inflight One recovered
B-52 March 14, 1961 Uba City, CA 2 X ? Fuel starvation Both recovered  
B-52 January 13, 1964 Cumberland, MD 2 X ? Broke up inflight Both recovered
B-52 January 17, 1966 Palomares, Spain 4 X Mk28-RI Collision with tanker 2 recovered, 2 destroyed
B-52 January 21, 1968 Thule, Greenland 4 X Mk28-RI Crashed on landing Destroyed
B-58 December 8, 1964 Bunker Hill AFB 4 X B-43, 1 X W-39 Taxi accident Destroyed
F-100 January 18, 1959 PACAF Mk 7 Caught Fire during fueling Destroyed
A-4 December 5, 1965 Pacific B-43 Aircraft rolled from deck of carrier Lost
P5M September 25, 1959 Puget Sound ? Aircraft impacted water Lost
C-124 August 28, 1957 Atlantic Ocean 2 X ? Jettisoned Lost
C-124 July 7, 1959 Barksdale AFB, LA 1 X ? Crash on takeoff Destroyed
C-124 October 11, 1965 Wright Patterson ? Fire while refueling a/c Destroyed











































































































































































All photos are mine unless otherwise credited.

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Page created: 04-25-09

Modified: 11-16-12

Clifford Bossie