Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size
Login

Military Photos



Online
There are 251 users online

You can register for a user account here.
Library of Congress

Military Quotes

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

-- Sun Tzu

AirforceShortly after the end of WWII the US Air force established a group called AFOAT-ONE that flew regular air sampling flights around the periphery of the Soviet Union. I understand their mission was to pinpoint the site of plutonium production and more importantly the rate of production of Pu.
The team used the ratio of 2 argon isotopes to monitor the rate which was very slow (verified by historian Richard Rhodes). It was already 1949 and although the Klaus Fuchs design was in their posession they lacked the thirty pounds of fuel required.

Meanwhile back in the US Los Alamos, having abandoned the inefficient gun-gadget designed a bomb core which used less Pu in the center surrounded by a shell of uranium-235 and by which the desired alpha was controlled by the Pu and which was a way to include U-235 in an implosion device. This geometry was termed as "composite". Many people outside the inner sanctum reasoned that composite referred to the presence in early models of a depleted uranium "tamper".

Of a sudden and out of the blue the AFOAT-ONE mission was at an end and a new name and mission happened because the USSR had detonated their first nuclear bomb. Most everyone at the Lab presumed that the Russian bomb was a clone of the Trinity bomb fired in New Mexico 7/16/45. I thought so too until I attended a staff meeting in old Delta Building near the West end of the main tech area. The speaker was an Airforce officer who reported a couple of things that turned up in the air samples followeing the USSR event. This officer reported that the bomb was "composite" and not only was the ratio of the two fuels similar to the US Mark VI but that the ratios of the fission fragments were likewise.

I have been frustrated for over 50 years because I wonder if I am the only one alive who even believes there was an AFOAT-TWO. Later the composite core was used in the US Mark-13 torpedo atom bomb. Any of you old-timers ever hear about AFOAT-TWO and its mission? Thanks, Galois


Comments

Display Order
Only logged in users are allowed to comment. register/log in
Related Links

Most-read story in Airforce:
A B-52 Mid-air Collision
Military History
Forum Posts

Military Polls

Should the U.S. military attack Iran to end its nuclear weapons ambitions?

[ Results | Polls ]

Votes: 214

This Day in History
1914: In the Alsace-Lorraine area between France and Germany, the German Army captures St. Mihiel.

1915: Bulgaria mobilizes troops on the Serbian border.

1916: Sherif of Mecca reports he has forced Taif (60 miles south-east of Mecca) to surrender.

1917: German attacks north of Bezonvaux, Fosses and Chaume Woods, Verdun (north-east), are repulsed.

1918: French and British troops cooperate attacking St. Quentin sector. Good progress is made in spite of strong resistance around hamlets of Salency (Noyon) and Gricourt.



1929: The first flight using only instruments is completed by U.S. Army pilot James Doolittle.

1941: The Japanese consul in Hawaii is instructed to divide Pearl Harbor into five zones and calculate the number of battleships in each zone—and report the findings back to Japan.


1950: In the south, Eighth Armys 1st Cavalry Division took Sangju and Oksan. On the Inchon/Seoul front, the 7th Infantry Division entered Osan on a drive to link up with Eighth Army forces advancing from the south.

1950: Paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, arrived at Kimpo Air Base from Japan. This 4000-man RCT was detached from the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., for service in Korea.

1960: The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), is launched.