The atomic bomb ended the war against Japan in 1945 and became the centerpiece of U.S. and Soviet military strategy for the next 45 years. In the late 1940s the debate over whether the atomic bomb was the ultimate arbitrator of international differences led to the infamous carrier-versus-B-36 controversy in American defense policy; American school children in the 1950s practiced "duck and cover" as many feared an atomic attack against American cities; and billions were spent to develop and procure vast fleets of B-36, B-47, and Bâ€'52 nuclear bombers, that led to a still-alive legacy that is seen in the current B-1 and the B-2 stealth bombers.
In this comprehensive work, two leading weapons experts present a complete and fully up-to-date history of the development of U.S. nuclear weapons and detailed descriptions of the entire American nuclear arsenal, including the variety of systems capable of delivering them. Illustrated with more than 100 b/w photographs, the authors describe all of the nuclear weapons developed by the U.S, including the Army's 280-mm atomic cannon, atomic demolitions, and the atomic ""grenade"" launcher, along with the Navy's development of a carrier-based nuclear strike capability. Details are provided of the Navy's ASTOR nuclear torpedo, the 16-inch nuclear projectiles for the Iowa-class battleships, and the Navy's drone helicopter designed to carry a nuclear depth charge. In addition, they discuss the nuclear missiles and rockets carried by the air-defense fighters within the United States and the nuclear-armed surface-to-air missiles ringing major U.S. cities and military bases. This new work is certain to be considered the definitive study of the subject.
Norman Polmar, a well-known defense analyst, has written on nuclear weapons development for the U.S. Navy, Department of Energy, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Defense Nuclear Agency. He is the author of more than forty books including the Naval Institute's reference books Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet and Guide to the Soviet Navy.
Robert S. Norris is senior research associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC, and the primary contributor to the council's series of Nuclear Weapon Databooks. He coauthors a column on nuclear weapons in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is the author of the award-winning book Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man.
PRAISE FOR THE U.S. NUCLEAR ARSENAL
“This book provides a useful analysis of nuclear weapons deployed by the United States on land, sea, and in the air from the end of the Second World War until 2009. Given the current effort to restore the focus on the nuclear mission degraded since the end of the Cold War and the Obama administration’s stated commitment to disarmament, publication of The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal is timely indeed. While some readers might find parts of the book discomfiting, Norman Polmar and Robert S. Norris provide an informed perspective worth serious consideration.”
— Air Force Research Institute
"This book is highly recommended as a useful guide to the development of nuclear weapons over the six decades since the end of World war II."
— Air Power History Magazine, Herman S. Wolk, Senior Historian (Ret.) Office of Air Force History
“This is more than a well-written and researched reference book, but also an examination by experts of the evolution of nuclear weapons policy. When you absolutely need to know everything about how, why and where a US nuclear warhead and its delivery system was developed, this is the book you must have.”
— Naval Historical Foundation