It was the most powerful nuclear bomb ever built and tested.
On October 1961, a modified Tu-95N ‘Bear’ bomber piloted by Major Andrei E. Durnovtsev, dropped the 27-ton, 26-foot-long Tsar Bomba over the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago above the arctic circle.
He released the bomb at 10,500 meters and the parachute made it slowly descend to 4,000 meters in 188 seconds before it exploded.
“A powerful white flash over the horizon and after a long period of time he heard a remote, indistinct and heavy blow, as if the earth has been killed!” said an observer from afar.
RDS-220 or Big Ivan, was remarkably developed in a short time. On July 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev with then senior weapons designer Andrei Sakharov, ordered him to develop a 100-megaton bomb. However, the team was only able to build a device that could yield 50 megatons in the end.
He wanted the nuke to be ready for a series of tests in September. The goal was to ‘create maximum political impact’ from the tests according to The Nuclear Weapon Archive. The Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in a nuclear arms race.
Soviet Union was only able to test the Tsar Bomba once because The Nuclear Ban Treaty took effect in 1963, consequently banning atmospheric nuclear explosions.
To mark the 75th anniversary of Russia’s atomic industry, they released this once classified footage of the Tsar Bomba explosion.
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