F22 Lightning 3 F22 Lightning 3 F22 Lightning 3

F-22 Lightning 3

Dropping the Nuclear payload

In the interests of science I ran this mission a few times to bring you this sequence of pictures.

On the first attempt my aircraft was battered into teeny little bits by the blast wave.... my faithful wingman too. On the second attempt I sent the wingman home but I was still nicked by a SAM and then battered by the nuclear blast shock wave.

On the third attempt I dropped the device from about 20,000 feet then hauled out of there at max speed. I still experienced severe buffeting but the airframe only sustained minor damage.

A nuke causes damage via:
  • Radiation damaging living tissue
  • Thermal (heat) effects starting fires. (The mushroom)
  • Shock wave which is visible as an expanding white cloud.
  • EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse). Invisible, this interferes with the operation of electronic circuits

The Nuke has its fall retarded by a parachute. This gives you a bit more time to escape the blast radius... theoretically!

The distinctive mushroom cloud forms
The distinctive mushroom cloud begins to form.

The shock wave expands.
The shock wave expands.

The shock wave is clearly visible now and racing outwards.
As you can see the blast radius is quite impressive.
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At this point I was feeling extreme buffeting in the airframe.
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Finally the shock wave has dissipated and the fiery mushroom cloud faded.

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