The Joint Chiefs’ vice chair says smaller-yield weapons are needed to deter the use of same.
The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs - nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch.
The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.
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And just whom are we "deterring"? Russia? China? They haven't threatened us; we're threatening them.
This is a HORRIBLE idea. Nukes should NEVER again be used in warfare. And I would argue that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not "warfare" but an experiment conducted by savages on a helpless civilian population.
By the way, note well the article focuses on blast and heat damage, saying nothing about fallout.