W48 155-millimeter Nuclear Artillery Shell

The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages should be considered historical.


Weapons designers examining a mock-up of a test version of the W48 155-millimeter nuclear artillery shell


During the 1950s and 1960s, nuclear weapons were developed for every conceivable military mission. An estimated 1,000 W48 nuclear artillery shells (designed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) were produced and deployed with Army and Marine Corps forces between 1963 and 1991. The W48 had a yield of 0.02-0.04 kilotons (equal to 20-40 tons of TNT).



Credit: Department of Energy (courtesy Natural Resources Defense Council)