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    / Main Archive / USSR /

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    Date: 22/11/1955 | Type: Airdrop | Yield: 1.6 Mt

    Joe-19 was the Soviet Union's first test of a two-stage radiation implosion design aka Sakharov's "Third Idea",a rediscovery of the Teller Ulam design, later weaponised and designated RDS-37. The bomb's yield was reduced from its design yield for the test by 50% by replacing part of the Li-6 D fusion fuel with lithium hydride. Air dropped by a crew commanded by F. P. Golovashko (made Hero of the Soviet Union). The bomb exploded underneath an thermal inversion layer, which focused the shock back toward the ground unexpectedly. This refracted shock wave did unanticipated collateral damage, killing two people. The RDS-37 gave the Soviet Union a short lived monopoly on thermonuclear weapons. It had demonstrated, along with the RDS-27 test, that the Soviet Union had air deliverable thermonuclear weapons. The United States would not achieve this until 1956 when it successfully dropped a hydrogen bomb during Operation Redwing, codenamed Cherokee.

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