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Atomic Cannon.

Atomic Cannon

Field review by the editors.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

According to curator David Hoover, the Atomic Cannon in the back yard of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History came from Sandia National Laboratories. It arrived in 1968, and in 2011 it was mounted on its two "prime mover" transport trucks, making it one of only three Atomic Cannons displayed as it would have looked in the 1950s, on the nuclear battlefield. The Atomic Cannon is so heavy -- over 83 tons -- that special concrete pads had to be poured to support it.

Atomic Cannon.

In theory, the transport trucks allowed the Atomic Cannon to "shoot and scoot" -- lob a nuclear warhead at a nearby enemy, then drive to a safe position in the rear or to a new tactical position for another shot. The total time between arrival, firing, and departure was clocked in tests at under a half-hour.

But the cannon was actually in its greatest danger off the battlefield, when it was being driven around. Atomic Cannon trucks had a bad reputation for sliding off of pavement or collapsing bridges. Most of the 20 Atomic Cannons were deployed in Europe, and tiny European roads proved impossible to navigate. More than one Atomic Cannon wound up dumped in a ditch, and despite a maximum speed of 35 mph, several Atomic Cannon crew members died in road accidents.

Fortunately for tourists, this particular Atomic Cannon is immobile.

Also see: Atomic Cannons

Atomic Cannon

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

601 Eubank Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM
Southeast edge of the city. I-40 exit 165, then south about a mile on Eubank Blvd. On the right. Cannon is displayed out back of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
Daily 9 am - 5 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
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