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The History Of Nuclear Weapons And Programs Disk 1 of 3

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U.S. Navy Training Film ASROC Weapons System Introduction

1963 20:30 Min Black&White This was a 1963 Navy training film featuring the antisubmarine rocket (ASROC) and its shipboard launcher. ASROC was an integrated, surface-to-underwater nuclear weapon system designed primarily for use against fast-attack enemy submarines.

In a real-life battle situation, a ship’s special sonar would pick up signals from the submarine. There was a computer-driven attack console manned by Navy specialists. As soon as the submarine was located, the specialists would determine whether to use a nuclear-tipped torpedo or a nuclear depth charge with the ASROC. The film details how to load and fire the weapon from the 8-rocket launcher.

In peacetime, the ships carrying the ASROCs provided extensive training using simulators, which gave the trainees a realistic feeling on how to respond when sonar detects an enemy submarine.

Atomic Blasts Operations Greenhouse Through Upshot Knothole

1951 to 1953 29:22 Min Color Silent This video shows a compilation of early atomic blasts taken from individual short films of the tests. These formerly classified films have never before been seen by the public. The video shows close up footage of boiling, tumbling, rolling fireballs of great destructive force as the nuclear power from the splitting of nuclei of atoms is unleashed. The blinding fury released by these early atomic devices demonstrates the show of power that was used by the United States to end World War II and establish a power base for the Cold War to follow.

Armed Forces Special Weapons Project Presents Atomic Guided Missiles

1955 11:50 Min Black&White and Color This video features the nuclear weapons delivery systems of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The video shows spectacular launches and flights of the Corporal, Honest John, Regulus, Matador, Snark and Rascal missiles.

The U.S. Army’s surface-to-surface Honest John missile, fitted with either the W-7 or the W-33 nuclear warhead, was designed to be field assembled under combat conditions. Honest John was 26 feet long with a diameter of 2 feet, 6 inches and a wingspan of 11 feet. The missile weighed approximately 6000 pounds and used eight spin rockets to assure accuracy. Approximately 2000 Honest John missile systems were deployed between 1953 and 1989.

Another Army missile, the Corporal, using a liquid propellant, had an 80-mile range and was fitted with the W-7 fission warhead. Deployed between 1953 and 1965, the Corporal missile was 46 feet long and weighed approximately 11,140 pounds.

Regulus I, the only Navy missile shown in the video, was a sea surface submarine launched, surface-to-surface, pilotless flying bomb. The missile, which carried a W-5 fission warhead, was in the stockpile from 1958 to 1963. Weighing approximately 14,322 pounds with a diameter of 4 feet, 6 inches, Regulus I had a range of 575 miles and could cruise at Mach 0.87.

The U.S. Air Force’s Matador was another "flying bomb," or early cruise missile. While in the stockpile from 1956 to 1963, it was fitted with a W-5 warhead. With a length of 44 feet and a diameter of 4 feet, 6 inches, it had a wingspan of 22 feet, 11 inches. The Matador launch weight was approximately 15,500 pounds, and it had a range of more than 650 miles at a speed of 650 miles per hour.

In the 1950s, the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command deployed several different types of guided missiles to enhance deterrent capabilities. One of the most unusual was the Snark, a subsonic, winged intercontinental missile. Essentially, the Snark was a small, turbojet-powered, unmanned aircraft that carried a W-39 thermonuclear weapon.

The Snark was fired from a short mobile launcher by two solid-fueled rocket boosters, and once airborne, it was powered by a single J-57 turbojet engine capable of cruising at 400 miles per hour. After a programmed flight of 1,500 to 5,500 nautical miles, the Snark’s airframe separated from its nose cone, and the nuclear warhead followed a ballistic trajectory to its target. It was in the U.S. stockpile from 1958 to 1961.

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part One & Two

Organization for Atomic Energy; Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Two Basic Atomic Weapons 1961 and 1965 23:56 Min Black&White and Color Two Films on One Video

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part One - Organization for Atomic Energy Min 17:45 MIn The Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 (and revised in 1954) set up a vast government (military and civilian) industrial complex for the research, development, testing, and production of nuclear weapons, as well as for other assignments in the energy field. The workings of this complex make up the subject for this video.

Shown are the coordination and liaison activities between the civilian Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense. Each organization’s major laboratories, facilities, and policy and planning groups active in 1961 are described. Footage of nuclear weapons storage, training and test sites is shown.

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Two Basic Atomic Weapons 6:11 Min This animated and live action video was designed primarily as an instructional video on how nuclear weapons work. There is a simplified discussion of the two categories of nuclear weapons, fission and fusion. The video described the "gun-type" and "implosion" fission methods. Another segment details the sequence of events and devices that have to work in unison to enable fission or fusion weapons to produce a nuclear yield.

An implosion weapon has a core of uranium or plutonium surrounded by high explosives, a lensing system, and detonators. Upon receipt of a firing signal, a firing set generates a high- voltage pulse that fires the detonators simultaneously. The detonation wave is focused by the lensing system into an implosion wave that compresses the core into a supercritical mass resulting in a nuclear explosion. The video also discusses radar, neutron generators, nuclear pits, and other weapon components.

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Three

Special Weapons Orientation Weapons Family 6:32 This video shows U.S. stockpiles nuclear weapons up to 1961. The stockpile includes early airdrop fission weapons, Mark (Mk)-3, Mk-4, Mk-5, Mk-6, Mk-6/18, Mk-7, Mk-8, Mk-12, and Mark-9, the artillery atomic projectile. A live test of the Mk-9 fired from a 280mm cannon is shown. This was the 15-kiloton GRABLE test conducted on May 25, 1953, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole.

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Four

Atomic Weapons Support Operations 12:22 Min The special contributions of nuclear weapons technicians are featured in this video. They inspected, maintained, modified and modernized nuclear weapons at various storage and operation field sites. The video shows training conducted at the Defense Atomic Support Agency’s nuclear weapons school in Albuquerque and the U.S. Air Force’s weapons school at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. Technicians are shown conducting "fire test set" inspections on all branches of the armed services.

The narrator explains that the storage, maintenance, inspection and modification of nuclear weapons is part of the "mine to stockpile sequence." Also, the video shows that the technicians are a vital part of the "stockpile to target sequence" as they prepare weapons for shipment, load weapons onto strike aircraft, and maintain and modify weapons at forward field sites.

Footage is shown of weapons being loaded on a B-52 and a smaller attack aircraft. The narrator explains that the major function of a technician was to "make the weapon ready for the day when by Presidential decree, nuclear weapons would be sent out on intercontinental bombers, tactical aircraft, missiles, and carrier-deployed aircraft to the target areas."

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Five

Effects of Atomic Weapons 12:22 Min This video shows the heat, blast, and radiation effects of a nuclear explosion on personnel (dummies), structures, and military equipment. The video is a compilation of numerous nuclear detonations in the atmospheric testing program, but does not identify each blast. All types of detonations, including underground, surface, near surface and high altitude are shown.

Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Six

A Special Weapon Orientation The Thermonuclear Weapon 29:12 Min This video provides a history and the major developmental phases of the thermonuclear program up to May 1, 1956. The test operations of Greenhouse, Ivy and Castle are highlighted. The GEORGE test in Operation Greenhouse was the first thermonuclear test explosion. It was followed by the MIKE test in Operation Ivy, which used a liquid, or "wet" fuel. A wet fuel was very expensive, as it had to be super cooled until used. The first test in Operation Castle, BRAVO, used a dry fuel successfully, and that ended the debate over wet versus dry fuel.
Two continuing goals remained: (1) determine how to reduce the size and weight of the thermonuclear weapon, and (2) gather information on the effects of high-yield weapons. Regarding size and weight, the video shows a series of weapons that gradually are reduced in these aspects. Also, it shows the air delivery capabilities of these weapons, including footage on the B-47, the B-36 and the B-52 aircraft. On the effects aspect, the video defines fallout and describes what kind of path it leaves, the dangers from it, and how to protect oneself. It shows the destructive forces of a thermonuclear weapon in many ways, including how the MIKE test destroyed the island of Eluglab. A dramatic scene develops at the end as the narrator says, "This is the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon on Enewetok Atoll. This is a man standing on Bikini Atoll, 200 miles away." The light and boiling cloud of colors illuminates the entire sky almost as if the explosion was only a few miles away.

Delivery of Atomic Weapons by Light Carrier Aircraft

U.S. Navy Training Film 18:20 Min Black&White Mission: Special nuclear weapon delivery by an A-7 carrier aircraft. This video features six different methods of delivery used to achieve maximum bombing accuracy and provide adequate safety margins for the crew and the aircraft. Dummy B-43 bombs were used for the different drop tests, but actual nuclear explosions, including the mushroom clouds, were edited into the film to provide a realistic view of what the actual effects would have been if live nuclear weapons had been detonated. The B-43 was a multipurpose thermonuclear weapon capable of detonation by laydown (i.e., low-altitude parachute deployment), retard (i.e., conventional parachute deployment), and free-fall airbursts. The weapon was in the nuclear stockpile from 1961 until 1991.

Developing and Producing the B-61 1970's 26:29 Min Color The B-61 thermonuclear bomb, first produced in 1966, has developed into an extremely flexible weapon. Its many different modifications has made it able to fill the multipurpose needs of the military. Major modifications were made to the B-61 in 1966, 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1991.
Designed by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, the lightweight bomb could be delivered by the Air Force, Navy and NATO planes at very high altitudes and at speeds above Mach 2. The 141.6-inch long, 13.3-inch diameter bomb averaged approximately 750 pounds, but actual weight varied with each modification.

Enewetak Cleanup, Produced by the Defense Nuclear Agency

13:15 Min Color This video shows the actions being taken to cleanup the islands comprising Enewetak Atoll so that the previous inhabitants could return to live on some of them. The inhabitants were forced to relocate to other islands in 1948 when the United States began atmospheric testing of nuclear devices at the Pacific Proving Ground. Over the 1948-1958 time period, 43 tests were conducted on or near Enewetak Atoll.
Numerous decaying, abandoned buildings are shown that had to be demolished, while others were still suitable for use by the returning people. Homes, schools and government buildings had to be built.

The film details the radiation studies conducted to determine the extent of contamination and the uptake of radioactive particles by plants. Some parts of the Atoll would never be suitable for habitation because of the extent of contamination. One of the decontamination activities planned was removing the contaminated soil, transporting it to craters on one of the highly contaminated islands, and encasing it in concrete.

Those organizations cooperating in the cleanup effort included the Atomic Energy Commission, the Coast Guard, the Defense Nuclear Agency, and a marine biology firm.

Excerpts from Operation Hardtack

1958 17:30 Min Color Silent The awesome force of even small atomic blasts was clearly demonstrated in the first two of six tests shown in this silent montage of films taken during Operation Hardtack I. The tests WAHOO, UMBRELLA, TEAK, QUINCE, ORANGE, and FIG were conducted in the Pacific Proving Ground between May and August 1958.
WAHOO (9 kilotons) and UMBRELLA (8 kilotons) were underwater tests conducted near Enewetak Atoll on May 16 and June 8, respectively. Target arrays of ships and submarines were moored nearby to test the effects of the blasts. Each test resulted in spectacular plumes of water rising upwards of 1,000 feet. The radioactive clouds produced by the shots engulfed the target ships. The ships appeared tiny when compared with the giant clouds. The force of the blasts sent violent waves crashing onto the Atoll, leaving debris-strewn beaches.

"Are you still there?" was the first radio transmission received at Johnston Island hours after the TEAK thermonuclear test on August 1, 1958. The 3.8 megaton, 77-kilometer-high blast triggered an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which stopped radio communications throughout that large area of the Pacific. The EMP was so severe that military and civilian aircraft had to be grounded in Hawaii. The TEAK fireball could be seen as far away as Oahu Island, approximately 525 nautical miles from Johnston Island. Eyewitnesses said the colorful display rivaled the "Southern Lights," also referred to as the Aurora Australis. Several scientists viewing the test had to duck into a shelter quickly because an error with the launch vehicle, a Redstone rocket, caused it to detonate directly over Johnston Island instead of 20 miles down range.

On August 12, 1958, a second thermonuclear test of 3.8 megatons, ORANGE, was conducted in the Johnston Island area, this time at an altitude of 43 kilometers. It was less spectacular than the TEAK test and had little effect on radio communications and electrical systems in that broad area of the Pacific.

The Atomic Energy Commission’s University of California Radiation Laboratory and the Department of Defense’s Special Weapons Project jointly conducted a cratering experiment on Yvonne Island on Enewetak Atoll. The QUINCE test malfunctioned on August 6, 1958, resulting in a zero yield. This necessitated the execution of the 20-ton FIG test, conducted as a replacement on August 18, 1958.

High-Altitude Nuclear Weapon Effects Phenomenology

1963 20:53 Min Color When nuclear weapons are detonated at high altitudes, they cause dramatic changes in the atmosphere and ionosphere. In a very technical presentation, this video discusses such things as the interactions of electrons and positive ions and shows the electromagnetic regions and how they carry electrical charges from one hemisphere to another. The video also discusses how there is much information unknown about nuclear explosions at extremely high altitudes, especially above 250 kilometers, where there is less atmospheric resistance.

Hybla Fair

1974 15:15 Min Black&White and Color HYBLA FAIR was an underground, horizontal line-of-sight (LOS) weapons-effects test conducted at the Nevada Test Site on October 28, 1974. The test had a relatively small design yield of less than 20 kilotons. This lower yield test was thought to be appropriate because an earlier, larger yield test caused loss of valuable data when the force of the detonation through the LOS pipe destroyed experiments. However, the HYBLA FAIR test had an insufficient yield to provide the amount of radiation necessary for the LOS experiments to perform as anticipated and the desired data was not obtained.
An LOS pipe allows scientists to take measurements of the effects of heat, blast and radiation. The pipe has a diameter ranging from a few inches to as much as 30 feet. Inside the pipe, with the nuclear device at the small end, experiments are set up to be exposed to the radiation effects, but not the shock and blast effects. These effects are prevented from rushing through the pipe by fast-closing steel doors. Radiation travels faster than blast and shock waves, thus allowing the doors to close and the radiation tests to be conducted.

Federal Civil Defense Administration Presents Let’s Face It

13:25 Min Color Civil Defense, based on the assumption that a nuclear attack from the former Soviet Union was imminent, ranked high on the list of U.S. priorities in the 1960’s. The Federal Civil Defense Administration was in charge of this Cold War activity. A key point emphasized in the video is that for citizens to survive a nuclear attack, they must be prepared. This meant they must know the locations of approved Civil Defense shelters or have their own shelter at their home, or both.
In the opening scenes, an Air Raid Warden is blowing his whistle while air raid sirens are blaring, and citizens are heading toward the shelters. The narrator extols citizens to prepare a fallout shelter with adequate food and emergency supplies. He warns that the usual emergency services such as fire, police and hospitals may not be available after a nuclear attack. He also urges citizens to know the sanctioned evacuation routes from potentially targeted cities. Citizens were expected to evacuate in an orderly manner, free from panic and driving mishaps.

The video shows that many nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) to gain data that would help in Civil Defense preparedness. As part of Operation Cue, the video depicts many unidentified atmospheric tests fired to learn potential effects of detonations on citizens and cities and to test the effectiveness of Civil Defense organizations.

At the NTS, entire cities or "doomtowns," including houses containing furniture, appliances, food, and mannequins representing people, were built. Utility stations and automobiles were also located in the town. The houses were constructed with various exteriors. Inside each house was an array of instruments to gather the pertinent data on blast, heat and radiation effects. The majority of the houses were destroyed by the blasts. Industrial-type buildings and transportation structures, such as railways, bridges and freeways were also subjected to nuclear blasts.

The video shows military troops participating in Camp Desert Rock Exercises and witnessing the power and fury of an atomic blast. The underlying message given is that if citizens remain calm and "face it," they can survive the bomb.

Meeting the Terrorist Threat

Produced by the Defense Nuclear Agency Early 1970's 7:30 Min Color Since the emergence of the terrorist threat, the U.S. Government’s concern about the possible terrorism against nuclear facilities has intensified. This video is a dramatization. It shows how the Government has responded to this threat.
The video depicts nuclear security activities at an early nuclear storage site and how a small unarmed force of intruders easily enters under the security fence surrounding the site. The protective force subdues the intruders easily. In another scene, a well-armed terrorist team enters the base and kills a roving patrol with a well-placed sniper. Security forces finally overcome the terrorists after a superior counter-force arrives.

On a third entry, a terrorist team enters the site under the cover of a fellow terrorist, hidden in the forest, armed with a heavy machine gun. This terrorist team reaches and penetrates a storage igloo after the roving patrol is killed, and the rapid response force is destroyed. However, the terrorists do not escape. When the superior security force appears with helicopter support and an armored personnel carrier, the terrorists, including the machine gunner, are killed.

Since this film was made, the Department of Energy (DOE) has constantly improved the training and tactics of the security forces at each installation as well as the in-place security systems. With its modern day posture, it would be highly improbable that a small group of armed individuals could forcibly enter any DOE facility and escape with a nuclear weapon or any special nuclear materials.

U.S. Army Ivy Flats Film Report

1962 17:35 Min Black&White Ivy Flats, a 1962 tactical military exercise at the Nevada Test Site, involved the detonation of live nuclear rounds fired from the Davy Crockett artillery piece. The Davy Crockett was developed to give U.S. Army units an effective nuclear capability against potentially larger units of Soviet armored forces.
The Davy Crockett, a recoilless launcher, was the third artillery piece deployed, those earlier being a l55 mm piece designed to fire a nuclear round and a 288 mm mobile piece, commonly called an "atomic cannon." Nuclear-capable ground artillery pieces were gradually replaced by increasingly accurate, nuclear carrying missiles and aircraft.

The Ivy Flats video shows an Army exercise that was observed by visiting dignitaries, including U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and General Maxwell Taylor, a Presidential military adviser. Participating in the exercise were members of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Division from Ft. Lewis, Washington.

Ivy Flats was a "battle" between a large simulated enemy armored force and a smaller U.S. force consisting of conventional artillery pieces, which could not stop the pending onslaught. U.S. Army squads then arrive in armored personnel carriers and set up the heavy (l55 mm) and light (120 mm) versions of recoilless launchers. The Davy Crockett fired a nuclear round that decimated the mock opposing force.

The Davy Crockett was deployed from 1961 to 1971. The heavy version was transported by either an armored personnel carrier or a large truck. The light version was generally carried on and fired from an Army jeep, but could be carried for a short distance and fired by a 3-man team.

The W-54 nuclear warhead in a projectile was launched by the Davy Crockett and had a subkiloton yield. The projectile was 30 inches long, 11 inches in diameter, and weighed 76 pounds. The l55 mm launcher had a maximum range of 13,000 feet, and the 120 mm could reach a distance of 6,561 feet.

Naval Atomic Weapons Vulnerability Program

Late 1950's 21:15 Min Black&White and Color The Navy realized that any implosion-type nuclear weapon would be extremely hazardous to personnel in the area should the conventional high explosives (HE) contained in the weapon detonate prematurely. A particular threat to firemen and rescue personnel stationed on a carrier was the possibility that a plane carrying an implosion weapon could crash and burn on the deck, setting off the HE and dispersing radioactive materials. Other threats were from explosions on ships carrying rockets or missiles.
Three tests were carried out in this program at the fire test area at the Navy’s China Lake facility in California. The first fire test involved a Mark 7 dummy nuclear warhead with live HE, where the fire caused the HE to detonate. The second test involved a Mark 7 dummy warhead and a Boar solid rocket motor, which were both destroyed by the fire. In the third test, a Mark 34 warhead in a sealed dummy pit was placed in the fire, but the HE did not detonate.

U.S. Navy Presents Nuclear Effects at Sea 1976 20:30 Min Black&White This video details the effects of high-altitude nuclear tests of greater than a megaton thermonuclear yield on ships, satellites, and personnel. These blasts produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can knock out electrical components over a wide area and destroy electrical systems in planes, ships and satellites.
The blast causes flash blindness and retina damage to an individual looking at the blast and can cause damage to the eardrums. The air pressure can damage a ship, even causing a roll over. Also, the blast can destroy the outside structure of a ship. The thermal radiation weakens or melts the outside metal surface and burns the skin, similar to the resultant effects of a fire.

The nuclear radiation, consisting of x-rays and neutrons, alters and destroys cells and causes radiation sickness. The three-phase symptoms of radiation sickness are the initial reaction; the latent phase with no symptoms; and the final phase, requiring hospitalization. It was determined that the ship’s crewmen must take cover in hardened spaces below the water line to escape the effects of radiation. Nuclear radiation also causes failure of the ship’s electrical systems.

From underwater bursts, the shock wave travels in all directions, damaging ships in its path. A surface burst shown causing direct shock damage to the ship’s hull and secondary damage to interior components.

Operation Argus

1958 44:40 Min Color Operation Argus was a series of three high-altitude nuclear tests conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission in the South Atlantic Ocean in August and September 1958. The results of Operation Argus proved the validity of the Christofilos theory.
This theory proposed that a radiation belt is created in the upper regions of the Earth’s atmosphere by high-altitude detonations. The radiation belt affects radio and radar transmissions, damages or destroys the arming and fuzing mechanisms of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile warheads, and endangers crews of orbiting space vehicles that might enter the belt.

The tests, conducted in complete secrecy, were not announced until the following year. Low-yield devices were carried to an altitude of approximately 300 miles by rockets before being detonated.

More than 4,500 military personnel and civilian scientists participated in the test operation.

The tests comprising 1958 Operation Argus were as follows:
ARGUS I, August 27, South 38.5 degrees, West 11.5 degrees, South Atlantic, rocket, weapons effects, 1-2 kt
ARGUS II, August 30, South 49.5 degrees, West 8.2 degrees, South Atlantic, rocket, weapons effects, 1-2 kt
ARGUS III, September 6, South 48.5 degrees, West 9.7 degrees, South Atlantic, rocket, weapons effects, 1-2 kt

Operation Argus

Report to Chief AFSWP to ARPA 44:40 Min

Operation Castle

1954 20:20 Min Color, Operation Castle was a six-detonation test series held at the Atomic Energy Commission's (AEC) Pacific Proving Ground in the Spring of 1954. This test series, principally conducted at the Enewetak and Bikini Atolls in the northwestern Marshall Islands, provided proof tests of large-yield thermonuclear, or hydrogen, devices. Castle represented the end of a drive for a workable thermonuclear weapon and the beginning of the refinement of large-H-bombs into smaller and more efficient weapons. After Castle, the U.S. could choose in a range of small tactical weapons to large strategic weapons. From this point, weapons development programs concentrated on producing bombs of specific nuclear weapons effects -- heat, blast, and radiation.

The Bravo event of the Castle series yielded 15 megatons, the most ever exploded in atmospheric testing by the U.S. A scientific miscalculation caused the yield to be about double what was expected. Also, reports indicate that Bravo was the single worst incident of fallout exposure in all of the U.S. atmospheric testing program. Fallout was scattered over more than 7,000 square miles of ocean and islands, resulting in the contamination and exposure of military, civilian U.S. personnel working on the shot, and people of the islands who were earlier moved to a supposedly "safe" island but received large amounts of radiation. Acute radiation effects were observed among some of these people.

The shots in the Castle series were:
Bravo, February 28, Bikini, 15 megatons
Romeo, March 26, Bikini, 11 megatons
Koon, April 6, Bikini, 110 kilotons
Union, April 25, Bikini, 6.9 megatons
Yankee, May 4, Bikini, 13.5 megatons
Nectar, May 13, Enewetak, 1.69 megatons

Operation Dominic

Christmas Island; EG&G Operation Dominic Scientific Photography, Bluestone Test Silent 1962 22:29 Min Black&White Two Films on One Video
JTF-8 Presents Operation Dominic, Christmas Island 12:29 Sound A previous video release, "Dominic Fireballs," (silent with captions) featured 16 nuclear bursts conducted near Christmas Island in 1962 and presented a general visual overview of the test operation. This documentary presents a brief history of the British-owned Christmas Island and the agreement that allowed the United States to use it as a staging area for 24 atmospheric tests.

However, only three nuclear blasts are shown, each representing a different aspect of Operation Dominic I. ADOBE, the first airdrop of a thermonuclear device on April 25, 1962, had a yield of 190 kilotons (kt). This was a proof test of a device prior to it going into the nuclear weapons stockpile.

The second test, FRIGATE BIRD, involved a warhead (yield not given) launched on May 6, 1962, from the submarine Ethan Allen and carried to its target by a Polaris missile. It was an atmospheric test. The third test, SWORDFISH, a low-yield device (less than 20 kilotons), was a system proof test of an antisubmarine rocket (ASROC) conducted on May 11, 1962. The weapon, an atomic depth charge, was successfully detonated underwater after its ride on the ASROC.

EG&G Operation Dominic Scientific Photography Bluestone Test - 10:00 - Silent - This video shows the BLUESTONE thermonuclear airdrop from several vantage points at various camera speeds and focal lengths. Conducted near Christmas Island in the Pacific on June 30, BLUESTONE had a yield of 1.27 megatons. This test does not have the familiar mushroom cloud effect, but forms a huge circular fireball and as it expands, forms a large ring.

BLUESTONE was but one of many Dominic I tests dedicated to research and development of thermonuclear devices. The Dominic I series was ordered after the Soviet Union had resumed testing nuclear weapons.


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