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WE-177 Tactical Nuclear Weapon (Training round)


This WE-177 nuclear bomb training round (never armed with atomic material) is an example of part of Britain's nuclear deterrent from 1966 up the the 1980's. The WE-177 was designed to be delivered by Buccaneer, Vulcan and Tornado aircraft and was parachute-retarded to enable the deliverer to get beyond the minimum safe distance before it went off.
There were 2 variants - the WE177a was a single stage 200 kiloton range variant (600lb weight, 112 inch length 16.5 inch diameter) and the WE177b (The two stage 400 kiloton range variant - 950lb weight 133 inch length 16.5 inch diameter).
Each was capable of destroying a medium-sized city but were thankfully never used and the last remaining live examples were decommissioned at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, in 1998.
On the placard accompanying this item in the museum it states that this is only one of 2 thought to exist. This is incorrect, however, as there are other examples at RAF Marham , RAF Honingtion the RAF Museum Duxford ( RAF Cosford may also have one).
[Additional details and corrections supplied by a source within the RAF]


North East Aircraft Museum, Sunderland, England. October 2004.

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