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Declassified U.S. Nuclear Test Film #58

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Uploaded on Nov 6, 2007

0800058 - U.S. Navy Training Film - Mark 43 and Mark 57 Weapons - Shipboard Handling, Including Aircraft Loading - 1963 -20:25 - Black&White - An A-4 Skyhawk aircraft rises into view on a platform aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence. A double rigged crane transfers Mark 43 and Mark 57 nuclear weapons in a coffin to the Independence from a carrier support ship. This video demonstrates how nuclear weapons and delivery aircraft function in a coordinated effort that could effectively be used against an enemy of the U.S. The weapons, one by one, are placed on an elevator and taken to a lower deck to await mating with an A-4. They are removed from the transportation cart and placed in a sturdy fixture bolted to the floor.

Reflecting the times in 1963, the narrator of the video emphasizes the importance of readiness and safety as twin components of reliability to counter any enemy threat in the Cold War. The video shows a drill in which a nuclear strike plan is created and sent to weapon assembly officers on board. They direct teams to take the weapons from storage, move them to the A-4s, and install them.

The Mark 57 was a lightweight, multipurpose nuclear depth charge for antisubmarine warfare and a bomb for land warfare. It was 118 inches long with a diameter of 14.75 inches and weighed approximately 510 pounds. The fission device was in the stockpile from 1963 to 1992.

The Mark 43 was a thermonuclear strategic and tactical nuclear weapon carried by most of the nuclear capable aircraft in the U.S. inventory. It was one of the first laydown bombs, developed to minimize aircraft losses by delivering the bomb at transonic speeds, at altitudes of 100 to 200 feet. The weapons components could withstand the ground impact shocks and then be detonated at a preset time. It also could be delivered as a parachute-retarded airburst, a surface burst, or a free-fall airburst. The Mark 43, in the stockpile from 1961 to 1991, was 12.5 feet long with a diameter of 18 inches and weighed approximately 2,100 pounds.

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