"Atomic Annie" - the ULTIMATE Gun

For you casual students of military history, this serves as an insane example of nuclear warfare. After 8 years of r & d, it was tested and fired only once in 1953, but 20 of them were built at a cost of 800K each - most of them going to NATO in Europe. The original still sits in Fort Sill, OK since 1964. I’ll leave most of the details to you, but a cannon designed to fire nuclear shells at a 20-mile range - with a 15K yield - has to be one of the biggest military boondoggles in our history. FYI

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How much yield?

and on the other side of the spectrum

If you call “Atomic Annie” a boondoggle, I wonder what you think about this?

The unshielded nuclear reactor powering the missile would practically rain radiation onto the ground as it flew, offering the first of at least three separate means of destruction the SLAM missile would dish out. In order to more effectively leverage the unending range of the nuclear ramjet, the SLAM missile was designed to literally drop hydrogen bombs on targets as it flew. Finally, with its bevy of bombs expended, the SLAM missile would fly itself into one final target, detonating its own thermonuclear warhead as it did. That final strike could feasibly be days or hypothetically even weeks after the missile was first launched.

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I’m old enough to remember these little bombs…

I remember all those years ago, we were flying umpires down range at Grafenwoehr. They pulled a Willy’s out onto the range, we flew back behind the line and hovered. After the shot we flew back down range, it was simply GONE. There was Zero evidence that there had ever been a Willy’s down range. I turned to the guy and asked him “What in the hell did you hit that with?” he smiled and said “It worked, didn’t it.”

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Did you mean to say you saw a neutron bomb detonated in BRD?

No I doubt it was that but it was certainly different that the other stuff they were using that day.

Running as a contender for the title is the prototype nuclear powered airplane built at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Exact cost remains unclear, but it cost more to decommission it than the original R&D. BTW… it never flew.