The escalating tensions between North Korea and the USA are once again making nuclear weapons front page news. But how much do you know about the technology behind these devastating tools of deterrent?
Our new Nuclear Weapons Owners' Workshop Manual, which is out soon, goes beyond the headlines and the rhetoric to bring you the real story of the nuclear arms race.
The Manual covers nuclear weapons by country, with details on American, Russian, British, French and Chinese bombs, as well as the nuclear powers of India, Pakistan, Israel and – of course – North Korea.
Then there are the technical questions: How do nuclear missiles work? What are the difficulties in making a nuclear bomb? How are these weapons assigned to different targets in the event of conflict?
Author David Baker, a veteran of NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs and a prolific writer on spaceflight and military technology, has produced a comprehensive reference on the science, design and engineering of nuclear weapons. He provides a fascinating, fact-based account of their development and the delivery systems used to deploy them.
David explains the complexities of nuclear physics in everyday language, with the technical detail supported by more than 300 illustrations – including Haynes cutaway diagrams, charts and images of nuclear weapons and tests.
The Nuclear Weapons Operations Manual includes details on the effects of these fearsome weapons and how they have been used to threaten potential adversaries.
But it doesn’t make any judgements on either the moral or political issues. Rather, as David explains in his introduction, it is “the story of the nuclear weapon – hard to develop, difficult to give up, almost impossible to use.“
“Nuclear forces are justified on the basis that their use would invoke a response which would bring unacceptable destruction in return, therein becoming a deterrent. That is the logic of mutually assured destruction (MAD). There are those who seek to silence debate and stifle questions, fearful that the answers may invalidate their assumptions. The aim of this book is to inform and to leave those judgements to the reader. ”
The Nuclear Weapons Operations Manual is available now. Here’s a taster…