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The W55 was an American thermonuclear warhead used as the warhead for the SUBROC antisubmarine rocket system. The W55 was designed in the early-1960s, and produced from 1964 to 1968. The last units were retired from service in 1990. A total of 285 W55 weapons were produced.

The W55 reportedly had a yield of 1 to 5 kilotons.,[1] which is very low for a two-stage thermonuclear device and may only refer to the yield of the primary stage. Some sources suggest that the W55 evolved from the experimental bomb tested in the Hardtack I Olive nuclear test on July 22, 1958, which had a full two-stage yield estimated at 202 kilotons.

The W55 is 35 cm (13.5 inches) in diameter, 1 metre (39.4 inches) long, and weighs 213 kg (470 pounds).

Researcher Chuck Hansen claims based on his US nuclear program research that the W55 and W58 warheads shared a common Primary or fission first stage, and that this design was nicknamed the Kinglet primary by Hansen in 2001[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. Nuclear Notebook, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1988
  2. Beware the old story by Chuck Hansen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2001 pp. 52-55.

External linksEdit

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