A tactical nuclear weapon (or TNW) refers to a nuclear weapon which is designed to actually be used on a battlefield in military situations. A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from Nuclear reactions either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. This is as opposed to strategic nuclear weapons which are designed to threaten large populations, damage the enemy's ability to wage war, or for general deterrence. A strategic nuclear weapon refers to a Nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on targets as part of a strategic plan such as nuclear Missile locations military Tactical nuclear weapons are generally considered part of a strategy of limited, rather than total, nuclear war.
Tactical weapons include not only gravity bombs and missiles, but also artillery shells, land mines, depth charges, and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare. A gravity bomb is an Aircraft -delivered Bomb that does not contain a Guidance system and hence simply follows a ballistic Trajectory A missile (see also pronunciation differences) is a self-propelled explosive Projectile used as a weapon towards a target A shell is a payload-carrying Projectile, which as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling though modern usage includes large solid projectiles A land mine is an Explosive device designed to be placed on or in the ground to explode when triggered by an operator or the Proximity of a vehicle person Depth Charge is a character in the Beast Wars: Transformers universe The modern torpedo (historically called an automotive automobile locomotive or fish torpedo is a self-propelled explosive Projectile weapon launched above or below Anti-submarine warfare (ASW or in older form A/S is a branch of Naval warfare that uses surface Warships Aircraft, space craft or other Submarines A tactical nuclear weapon would involve any of the above weapons with a nuclear warhead. A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from Nuclear reactions either fission or a combination of fission and fusion.
Small, two-man portable tactical weapons (sometimes misleadingly referred to as suitcase nukes), such as the Special Atomic Demolition Munition, have been developed, although the difficulty of combining sufficient yield with portability limits their military utility. A suitcase bomb is a Bomb which uses a Suitcase as its delivery method The Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM was a United States Navy and Marines project that was demonstrated as feasible in the mid-to-late 1960s but was
Other new tactical weapons undergoing research include earth penetrating weapons which are designed to target caves or bunkers. Bunker-busting nuclear weapons, also known as earth-penetrating weapons (EPW, are a type of Nuclear weapon designed to penetrate into Soil, rock
The yield of tactical nuclear weapons is generally lower than that of strategic nuclear weapons, though they are still powerful, and some variable-yield warheads serve in both roles. The explosive yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of Energy, called the Yield, discharged when a Nuclear weapon is detonated expressed usually Modern tactical nuclear warheads have yields up to the tens, or potentially hundreds of kilotons, several times that of the weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks near the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at
Some tactical nuclear weapons have specific features meant to enhance their battlefield characteristics, such as variable yield (as with the Davy Crockett), which allows their energy output to be varied greatly for a given situation, or enhanced radiation weapons (the so-called "neutron bombs") which are meant to maximize ionizing radiation exposure while minimizing blast effects. Variable yield, or dial-a-yield, an option available on most modern Nuclear weapons allows the operator to specify a weapon's yield, or explosive power The M-388 Davy Crockett was a tactical nuclear Recoilless rifle projectile that was deployed by the United States during the Cold War. A neutron bomb, technically referred to as an enhanced radiation weapon (ERW is a type of tactical Nuclear weapon formerly built mainly by the United States A neutron bomb, technically referred to as an enhanced radiation weapon (ERW is a type of tactical Nuclear weapon formerly built mainly by the United States
The development of tactical weapons has often been criticized along a number of grounds. Many have argued that the promise of being able to wage a "limited" nuclear war with tactical weapons is dangerously misleading, and that any confrontation between nuclear powers could lead to escalation and eventually the use of strategic weapons. Escalation is the phenomenon of something getting more intense step by step for example a quarrel or notably military presence and nuclear armament during the Cold War. Additionally, the small size of many tactical weapons make them potential targets for theft and nuclear terrorism, especially during times of political instability (such as the case of Russia immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union). Nuclear terrorism denotes the use or threat of the use of Nuclear weapons or Radiological weapons in acts of Terrorism, including attacks against facilities Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Tactical nuclear weapons have in the past made up a large part of the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union, and were a major part in the peak stockpile levels in the 1960s.
Conversely, some theorists argued during the Cold War that without tactical nuclear weapons, the United States would not have had a credible threat against the large armies of the Soviet Union, since it was unlikely that they would want to be the first to use strategic weapons in warfare. Because many felt that the use of any nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would have triggered an exchange of strategic missile launches, though, the practical distinctions between tactical and strategic weapons may have effectively not existed.
The uses on the battlefield for TNWs would include: