From the designer of the Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated with a 57 megaton warhead set off in 1961 (approximately 4000 times the strength of ‘Little Boy’ dropped on Hiroshima), Soviet weapons designer Andrei Sakharov had sought to develop an even more lethal weapon to guarantee the USSR’s security and its future amid growing tensions with the Western Bloc. The new weapon was to deploy a 100 megaton warhead, and would be fielded as a massive submarine launched torpedo rather than an air launched bomb. With the United States having a year prior inducted the F-4A Phantom as an interceptor to protect American skies against Russian strategic bombers, and with defence planners on both sides having realised the growing vulnerability of bombers to modern combat aircraft since the Korean War in 1950, when U.S. B-29s made vulnerable targets for a small contingent of Chinese and North Korean MiG-15 jets, the Soviet Union increasingly sought alternative means of delivering nuclear warheads to the American mainland – an essential capability for the country’s strategic deterrent force.
While early intercontinental range ballistic missiles in service at the time were capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the United States, they lacked the payload to deliver a bomb as large as the Tsar Bomba – let alone a larger one the size of that Sakharov proposed deploying on a new torpedo. The torpedo would theoretically be fired at a major coastal target such as New York City or San Francisco, generating a colossal underground e
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