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A nuclear weapon is a type of ordnance where nuclear reactions are harnessesd for their destructive effect. Using nuclear fission and/or fusion as a source of energy. The yield of a nuclear weapon is measured in the number of tons of "TNT" needed to generate an explosion of similar proportions.
An operational idiosyncrasy of nuclear weapons was the result of containing fissile material. Fissile material emitted a readily detectable Čerenkov Radiation signature upon exiting slipspace that negated stealth measures, NOT to be confused with the atomic bomb.
The nuclear yields of three real-world atomic weapons are shown:
"Fat Man" Atom Bomb (Last nuclear device used in war, 1945): ~21 Kilotons TNT
Mk. 17 Hydrogen Bomb (Largest-yield US nuclear device, mid-1950s): 25 Megatons TNT
Tsar Bomba/Emperor Bomb (Most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested, 1961): 50 Megatons TNT
UNSC Nuclear Ordnance
The UNSC employs a range of nuclear ordnance.
FENRIS Nuclear Warhead
- Main article: FENRIS Nuclear Warhead
Medium Fusion Destructive Device
- Main article: Medium Fusion Destructive Device
The MFDD is a tactical nuclear device with a yield of approximately 15 kilotons. Due to their apparent similarities, the MFDD may actually be related to the Fury nuke.
Fury Tactical Nuclear Weapon
- Main article: Fury Tactical Nuclear Weapon
The Fury is a small device with a yield slightly less than a megaton. It is extremely clean. It is the "closest thing the UNSC has to a nuclear grenade."
HAVOK Nuclear Warhead
- Main article: HAVOK Nuclear Warhead
The HAVOK is a 30 megaton thermonuclear device. Its warhead may be removed and carried by a F-41 Exoatmospheric Multirole Strike Fighter. Some were delivered by ground forces during the Human-Covenant War. It saw continued service in the Post-war era.
- Main article: HORNET Mine
- Main article: NOVA Bomb
The NOVA is a strategic device, and undoubtedly humanity's most powerful weapon. It consists of 9 nuclear warheads encased in a lithium triteride shell, which is compressed during detonation, boosting the yield "a hundred-fold." A single NOVA has enough power to cause complete devastation on a planetary scale, and can destroy orbiting moons and Naval fleets.
Shiva-class Nuclear Missile
- Main article: Shiva-class Nuclear Missile
Jiralhanae Nuclear Ordnance
While no specific iterations are mentioned by name, the Jiralhanae are known to have nearly obliterated all life on Doisac with nuclear weaponry during a pre-Covenant conflict.
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