- neutron bomb
a nuclear bomb designed to release radiation consisting mainly of neutrons, thus causing extensive loss of life but relatively little damage to buildings and property and only brief radioactive contamination. Also called neutron radiation weapon, N-bomb.[1955-60]
* * *or enhanced radiation warheadSmall thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but releases large amounts of lethal radiation.The blast and heat are confined to a radius of only a few hundred yards; within a somewhat larger area, the bomb throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which is extremely destructive to living tissue. Such a bomb could be used with deadly efficiency against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield without endangering towns or cities only a few miles away. It can be carried in a missile or delivered by a howitzer or even an attack aircraft.
* * *also called Enhanced Radiation Warhead,specialized type of small thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but which releases large amounts of lethal radiation. The neutron bomb delivers blast and heat effects that are confined to an area of only a few hundred yards in radius. But within a somewhat larger area it throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which can penetrate armour or several feet of earth. This radiation is extremely destructive to living tissue. Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effect, the neutron bomb would be highly effective against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield but would not endanger cities or other population centres only a few miles away. It can be carried in a Lance missile or delivered by an 8-inch (200-millimetre) howitzer, or possibly by attack aircraft.In strategic terms, the neutron bomb has a theoretical deterrent effect: discouraging an armoured ground assault by arousing the fear of neutron bomb counterattack. The bomb would disable enemy tank crews in minutes, and those exposed would die within days. U.S. production of the bomb was postponed in 1978 and resumed in 1981.
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