Special Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADMs) were designed to be a portable nuclear weapon that a single soldier could carry on his back.
US Navy training video
Open sources describe the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) as a United States Navy and Marines project that was demonstrated as feasible in the mid-to-late 1960s, but was never used. US Army Special Forces historians would probably take exception to the program description, at least up to, and fortunately, not including, the “never used” part.
The project, which involved a small nuclear weapon, was designed to allow one individual to parachute from any type of aircraft carrying the weapon package and place it in a harbor or other strategic location that could be accessed from the sea. Another parachutist without a weapon package would follow the first to provide support as needed.
In the Navy scenario, the two-man team would place the weapon package in the target location, set the timer, and swim out into the ocean where they would be retrieved by a submarine or other high-speed water craft. The parachute jumps and the retrieval procedures were practiced extensively.
Reportedly 300 SADMs were assembled and remained in the US arsenal until 1989. (source)
Concerned with the Soviet Union’s military advantage over the United States and its allies in terms of manpower and traditional weaponry, President Dwight Eisenhower looked to enhancing the country’s nuclear capabilities as a way to level the playing field. His “New Look” strategy, however, promised “massive retaliation” to any form of aggression by the Soviet Union – a bold strategy that in reality left the US with little room to maneuver.
“In the event that communist forces launched a limited, non-nuclear attack, the president would have to choose between defeat at the hands of a superior conventional force or a staggeringly disproportionate (and potentially suicidal) strategic nuclear exchange that would kill hundreds of millions of people,”the report stated.
In an attempt to develop targeted nuclear weapons that wouldn’t cause as many casualties, the SAMD was born. Often strapped to a soldier’s back, the 58-pound bomb made it difficult for soldiers to maneuver through a war zone, and those chosen to carry the device – known as the “Green Light” teams – underwent extensive training to ensure they could deliver the bomb, even at the expense of their own lives.
“I think that my first reaction was that I didn’t believe it,”former Green Light member Ken Richter told Foreign Policy.”Because everything that I’d seen prior to that, World War II, showed this huge weapon. And we were going to put it on our backs and carry it? I thought they were joking.”
More powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, though, the SAMD was no laughing matter. US forces would be subjected to eight to 12 hours of training a day when it came to using the device, and in some cases troops would parachute out of planes with the SAMD dangling below them in a protective case, dive underwater with it in a pressurized case, or, yes, ski down a mountain with bomb attached to them.
“I had a lot of people that I interviewed for our team,” Richter recalled. “Once they found out what the mission was, they said, ‘No, thanks. I’d rather go back to Vietnam.’ ” (source)
With the United States making noise about countries such as North Korea and Iran having small nuclear devices they could detonate over US airspace triggering an EMP, are we seriously expected to believe that SADMs portable nukes were decommissioned 25 years ago?
It’s way past time for the Obama administration to take North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats seriously. An urgently critical priority must be to counter North Korea’s rapidly-emerging capability to deliver and detonate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device in the sky over America which could knock out electronic computer circuits and paralyze virtually all activities over a vast region. Last December they successfully demonstrated its capability to launch a small payload into orbit, meaning that may soon be able to target regions in the U.S. and other distant locations. A devastating nuclear EMP device could be small, and North Korea reported that its nuclear test last February involved a miniature device.
It’s highly unlikely that the United States would not be able to match devices they believe countries such as North Korea have in their arsenal. It’s a known fact that Russia possesses such bombs.
These non-strategic nuclear weapons are often referred to as battlefield nuclear weaponry, mini-nukes or suitcase bombs. Although they are generally included in nuclear non-proliferation treaties, they are so small and portable that nobody, including governments, believe what other countries tell them about the amounts of mini-nukes they possess. Many countries state that only strategic bombs are covered by treaties, which means suitcase bombs are not and therefore they don’t have to declare how many they own.
Even the definition of suitcase bombs being non-strategic causes problems. France has the opinion that any nuke delivered by a plane is strategic. They don’t say if that means the bomb is dropped from a plane or just taken to the drop zone and parachuted down with a member of the Special Forces. It appears then that France treats ALL nuclear weapons as strategic weapons…even if they are not by everyone else’s definition.
The truth of the matter is nobody knows how many suitcase bombs are out there, or even where they are, or worse still, if any have gone missing. The Federation of American Scientists estimate that the USA and Russia alone have over 2,500 of these devices. You can read the report here.
If you add that to the known number of strategic nuclear weapons you get the nice round figure of 20,000…more than enough to annihilate the planet several times over.
It would be far easier to deploy a suitcase bomb to knock out the grid, or irradiate an area of tactical importance, and blame it on a rouge state or rogue group and avoid full on nuclear war while still getting the results you wanted…the crippling of a nation.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!