Military Wiki
Operation Wigwam
Country United States
Test site 500 miles (800 km) southwest of San Diego
Date 14 May 1955
Test type Underwater
Device type Fission
Yield 30 kilotons of TNT (130 TJ)
Previous test Operation Teapot
Next test Project 56

Video of the test

Operation Wigwam involved a single test of the Mark 90 Betty nuclear bomb. It was conducted between Operation Teapot and Operation Redwing on May 14, 1955, about 500 miles (800 km) southwest of San Diego, California. 6,800 personnel aboard 30 ships were involved in Wigwam. The purpose of Wigwam was to determine the vulnerability of submarines to deeply detonated nuclear weapons, and to evaluate the feasibility of using such weapons in a combat situation. The task force commander, Admiral John Sylvester, was embarked on the task force flagship USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7).

The test device was suspended by a {{convert|2000|ft) cable under a barge. A six-mile tow line connected a fleet tug, the USS Tawasa, and the shot barge itself. Suspended from the tow lines of other tugs were three miniature unmanned submarines named "Squaws", each packed with cameras and telemetry instruments.

The time of detonation was 1300 hrs Pacific Time. The test was carried out without incident, and radiation effects were negligible. The device yielded 30 kilotons. Only three personnel received doses of over 0.5 rems.

The equipment intended for direct measurement of the explosion-generated underwater bubble was not operational at the time of the shot, but based on other measurements, the bubble's maximum radius was calculated as 376 feet (115 m), and its pulsation period approximately 2.83 seconds. (See Scientific Director's Report)[1]

Wigwam Test Blast
Test name Date Time (UT) Location Yield Note
Wigwam 14 May 1955 20:00:00.0 500 miles (800 km) SW of San Diego, 28°44′00″N 126°16′00″W / 28.7333°N 126.2667°W / 28.7333; -126.2667 30 kilotons Exploded deep underwater at −610 metres (−2,000 ft); Mark 90 B7 "Betty" atomic depth charge

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Coordinates: 28°44′N 126°16′W / 28.733°N 126.267°W / 28.733; -126.267

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