The W25 was a small nuclear warhead developed by the United States Air Force and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for air-defense use. It was a fission device with a nominal yield of 1.5 kt. Development of the weapon began in 1954 at the behest of Douglas Aircraft for use against enemy bombers.
The W25 was used for the MB-1 "Ding Dong", an unguided air-to-air rocket used by the F-89 Scorpion, F-101B, and F-106 interceptor aircraft. The MB-1 entered service in 1957, and was eventually redesignated the AIR-2 Genie. The only non-U.S. user was Canada, whose CF-101 Voodoos carried Genies until 1984 via a dual-key nuclear sharing arrangement. Limited numbers were still used for Air National Guard F-106 aircraft until December 1984.
The W25 is 17.4 inches (44 cm) in diameter and 26.6 inches (68 cm) long, with a reported weight of 218-221 pounds (98.8 - 100.2 kg) .
The W25 was described as a composite pit (utilizing both Uranium and Plutonium), unboosted, and the first US sealed pit design. A sealed pit means that a solid metal barrier is formed around the pit or nuclear material components inside a nuclear weapon, with no openings. This protects the nuclear materials from environmental degradation and helps reduce the chances of their release in case of an accidental fire or minor explosion.
- W53 - the warhead used on the Titan II ICBM
- W54 - very small yield warhead, one of the smallest warheads built
- W61 - the basis for most US weapons today
- W80 - warhead which armed nuclear cruise missiles
- W81 - development of the W61 for the Navy's Standard missile
- W84 - similar development for the Air Force's aborted GLCM missile
- W85 - similar development for the Army's Pershing II missile
- W88 - warhead for the Trident missile
- John Clearwater (1998). "Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal". Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-55002-299-7. http://books.google.com/?id=5-R7EJ0r680C. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- List of all U.S. Nuclear Weapons at nuclearweaponarchive.org
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