DECLASSIFIED – Over 750 Nuclear Weapons Test Videos. Unreal.

Operation Teapot nuclear test photo from 1955

Lighting designers and video content people, heads up.  An amazing trove of over 750 films from the late 50’s and early 60’s have just been declassified, and scientists have put these old nuclear test films, many of them nitrate films disintegrating from sheer age, up on Youtube.

Recently, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has released a HUGE amount of nuclear project test videos for the numerous operations that the US Government conducted in order to test their weapons design, weapons damage effects, radiation fallout and effect testing, as well as many other types of tests.  It’s actually kinda genius how they conducted these tests — an “operation” would consist of a number of tests around a certain thing they wanted to test.  For example, I found in my research that the 14 tests that the US conducted in Nevada around 1955 were called Operation Teapot — 14 tests over things like damage, power, design of the actual weapon, and how it was delivered.  Each of the payloads (explosions) themselves were also named within the operation — so you have an operation that has X amount of tests — and this test video below was from the explosion in Operation Teapot aptly called TESLA, the third explosion test of Operation Teapot, on the first of March, 1955 at 1pm.  Seriously, watch this — this explosion was from high up on a steel tower — and it worked by smashing the core of the weapon from both ends of a tube, called a Linear Implosion:

Unreal. Another video angle of the TESLA payload explosion, which was meant to test the weapon’s design:

Lawrence Livermore has released an entirety of these videos. The playlist is here, on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel — if you work with light, I highly recommend you checking these out. This is light, all light, in its purest broken down form of photons, doing all the damage that photons can make happen. Learn light for all that it is.

One more…  This is Operation Hardtack 1, the Nutmeg explosion; Operation Hardtack 1 was a group operation that included surface tests and barge tests, at the famous Bikini Atoll location.  This was a 25.1 kiloton burst from a barge above a huge underground crater made from previous test detonations.  Watch the power of this monster we were unleashing:

And of course the entire playlist, totally worth a scroll:

Link hat tips

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel

Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Films youtube playlist (also seen above here)

Funker530 — one of my favorite military blogs, pointed this out

Wikiwand — just an excellent information trove


Meet ADAM: A Laser System that Protects Our Troops from Bad Guy Missiles


I can’t get over how crazy the development of military laser technology has been lately.  There’s been a real push to create a competitor for projectile weapons.  For example, earlier this week I talked about the new German Phalanx-style laser weapon that kills drones and little metal balls from the sky.  At one time before it was abandoned, the US Air Force was working on something called the YAL-1, which was a 747 mounted with a chemical laser that was designed to kill nuclear ICBMs from a long, long distance.  I thought it was actually pretty cool, but I can understand why it was scrapped; my assumption is that they’re holding out for a more multi-burst solid state laser instead of a single-shot, highly dangerous chemical laser.


I have to say that at one point in my life I was pretty frustrated that more money goes into military laser tech than goes into scientific research and development, or even medical laser development.  However, what I realized was that as this technology becomes more readily available via all of this defense money solving big problems up front, less than death uses and systems will “come out in the wash,” as an old colleague usually says.  Just like anything else that we steal from military technology (cable bundling, for example), at some point laser technology from military development will make its way to the civilian and private sector development.

One such system is something that Lockheed Martin calls ADAMArea Defense Anti-Munitions.  This system is designed to be towed into a hostile area where the US has set up a Forward Operating Base, or FOB, in enemy territory.  While our guys sleep and stand guard and all of those things, ADAM is watching over the area, blanketing it with radar that’s watching out for munitions coming into the area from enemy forces — mortar shells, shoulder-fired missiles, etcetera — and destroys the incoming round with a laser.  Check this out, this is a prototype test of a rocket being fired at the ADAM:

Ok, that is insane.  So right now, a system exists that can detect incoming enemy rockets and shells to a base.  Can you imagine what would happen if you were to deploy a handful of these systems across a battlefield?  That sounds like it would be a pretty awesome sight.  From a press release at Lockheed Martin’s website, they’ve also tested the ADAM against drones (UAVs, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and small caliber shells:

Since August, the ADAM system has successfully engaged an unmanned aerial system target in flight at a range of approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) and has destroyed four small-caliber rocket targets in simulated flight at a range of approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

“Lockheed Martin has invested in the development of the ADAM system because of the enormous potential effectiveness of high-energy lasers,” said Doug Graham, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of advanced programs for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. “We are committed to supporting the transition of directed energy’s revolutionary capability to the war fighter.”

Designed for short-range defense of high-value areas including forward operating bases, the ADAM system’s 10-kilowatt fiber laser is engineered to destroy targets up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away. The system precisely tracks targets in cluttered optical environments and has a tracking range of more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). The system has been designed to be flexible enough to operate against rockets as a standalone system and to engage unmanned aerial systems with an external radar cue. The ADAM system’s modular architecture combines commercial hardware components with the company’s proprietary software in an integrated and easy-to-operate system.

Here’s a video of the test they’re talking about, where ADAM shoots down a drone:

I for one am pretty excited to see what happens next.  This could lead to some amazing advancements in light.


Thanks Business Insider, Army Recognition!