Soviet/Russian Nuclear Arsenal

Soviet/Russian Nuclear Arsenal

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RDS-1

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
25 kilotons
Tu-4, Tu-16
---
---

RDS-1 was the Soviet Union's first nuclear weapon. It was a copy of the U.S. Mk-3 “Fatman” bomb, using the exact same plutonium implosion assembly. This was the same device tested during Joe-1, the Soviet Union's first nuclear test in 1941. This bomb design was later copied again by China in 1964. Supposedly, this weapon was never stockpiled.


RDS-2

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
~10-15? kilotons
Tu-4, Tu-16
1951?
???

While RDS-1 was a copy of the U.S. “Fatman” bomb, RDS-2 was a copy of the U.S. MK-1 “LittleBoy “ bomb. It used a U-235 gun-type assembly, however it is unknown if this weapon was ever stockpiled by the Soviet Union. It was also never tested, despite the design passing verification.

The abbreviation RDS-2 was later designated for an improved plutonium implosion bomb design which was successfully tested on September 24, 1951.



RDS-3

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
~40 kilotons
Tu-4, Tu-16
1953
???

The RDS-3 was a modified version of RDS-1, using a composite Pu-239 and U-235 core. This weapon was first tested in 1951, and was later used for the troop exercises conducted with a live nuclear explosion at Totsk on September 14, 1954.



RDS-4

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
30 kilotons
Tu-4, Tu-16
1954
1965

The RDS-4 was the Soviet Union's first mass produced tactical nuclear weapon. It used a plutonium implosion assembly and had a nominal yield of 30 kilotons. This weapon was first tested at Semipalatinsk on August 23, 1953.



RDS-5

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
~30 kilotons
Tu-4, Tu-16
1954
???

This bomb was the same design as RDS-4, however utilized a compsosite Pu-239 and U-235 core.



RDS-6s

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
300 (+/- 100) kilotons
Tu-16
1953
???

The RDS-6s was a weaponized version of the Joe-4 “Sloika” design. The RDS-6 project was initiated on June 10, 1948 (Resolution No. 1989-773), with the intent of developing advanced atomic weapons and thermonuclear capability. The project was soon divided its development efforts into 2 designs, RDS-6s (“Sloika”) and RDS-6t (“Truba”). The Sloika, a.k.a. Layer Cake, used a U-235 fissile core surrounded by layers of fusion fuel (lithium-6 deuteride mixed with tritium). The Truba, a.k.a. Tube, was a two stage gun-type bomb with a D-T secondary, based on the U.S. “classical Super” design.

When the United States detonated Ivy Mike in the Pacific in 1952, top priority was given to the Soviet H-bomb project. Development of the RDS-6s design was given higher priority then that of RDS-6t, and as a result, the “Sloika” was successfully tested on August 12, 1953 (Joe-4) with a yield of 400 kilotons. With the success of RDS-6s, work on the “Truba” design was abandoned.


RDS-7

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
1000-2000 kilotons
???
???
???

RDS-7 was a massive implosion bomb, which was designed in the early 1950s. Similar to the U.S. Ivy King device, it used dangerously large amounts of fissile material to generate a yield in the 100s of kilotons. An early proposal made at KB-11 in 1950 indicated a yield 50-100 times greater then that of RDS-1 could be achieved with chemical and implosion assemblies. Work was conducted on RDS-7 until 1953, but the device was never tested. The success of RDS-6s in 1953 rendered the RDS-7 obsolete and it never entered the Soviet stockpile.



RDS-27

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
~300 kilotons
Tu-16
1955
???

RDS-27 was virtually identical to the RDS-6s weapon, the difference being that RDS-27 did not use tritium. As a result, it had a lower yield then RDS-6s but it's operational parameters were enhanced. This weapon was first tested at Semipalatinsk on November 6, 1955.



RDS-37

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
3000 kilotons
Tu-16, Tu-95
1955
???

RDS-37 was the Soviet Union first 'true' hydrogen bomb, dubbed Sakharov's "Third Idea". The weapon was tested on November 22, 1955 at Semipalatinsk. The yield of the bomb was reduced by 50% by replacing part of the Li-6 D fusion fuel with a passive material for the test.



RDS-9

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
10/40 kilotons
53-58 Torpedo
1958
???

RDS-9 was a low yield tactical nuclear warhead deployed on the Soviet Union's first nuclear capable torpedo, the 53-58 (T-5), and on early missiles. The first test of the warhead (October 19, 1954) was a fizzle. The second test was conducted at Semipalatinsk on July 29, 1955. This warhead was later tested in a live fire of the 53-58 at Novaya Zemlya on September 21, 1955 with a yield of 3.5 kilotons. Two more live fire underwater tests of this warhead were conducted at Novaya Zemlya in 1957 and 1961. The maximum yield for the missile warhead was 40 kilotons; the maximum yield for the torpedo deployed version was 10 kilotons.



RDS-220

Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
100000 kilotons
Tu-95
1961
???

Nicknamed “Big Ivan” by its developers, this was the world's largest nuclear weapon, both in terms of size and yield. It was developed in a relatively short time, only 16 weeks from initial concept to finished design. The bomb weighed 27 tons, was 8 meters long, and had to be built on a rail car. A 5400 square foot parachute was installed to slow down the descent of the immense weapon to allow the drop crew enough time to reach a safe distance.

The only plane capable of delivering this bomb was the Tu-95. The bomb was too large to fit in the bomb bay of the bomber so a section of the fuselage had to be cut away so the bomb could be secured to the plane. This weapon was tested at half yield on October 30, 1961 at Novaya Zemlya (Tsar Bomba) and was the largest nuclear test ever conducted. Only 3 of these bombs were supposedly ever stockpiled and probably deployed in Eastern Germany.



Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
40 kilotons
---
1960
???

-- Information Pending --



Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
3000 kilotons
R-4
1960
1966

-- Information Pending --



Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
300 kilotons
---
1965
1986

-- Information Pending --



Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
2000 kilotons
R-9
1970
1979

-- Information Pending --



Nominal Yield
Delivery Vehicle
Date entered service
Date removed from service
200 kilotons
---
1981
1991

-- Information Pending --


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