QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ May 10 2006, 01:26 PM)
You can argue that they failed to miniaturize the bomb. On the other hand, the Soviets were not playing catch-up with regard to the H-bomb. They were neck-and-neck with the USA. The use of Lithium-6 Deuteride was first devloped into a practical weapon by Sakharov, the so-called Sloika bomb.
I'm not saying their bombs were heavier or less efficient than U.S. ones. AFAIK, they were
trying to catch up to the Americans in respect of the "true" H-bomb - they lagged for a while, the Sloika was not a true H-bomb, it could not have been scaled up to much greater yields. The Americans did demonstrate the awesome firepower of the staged radiation implosion in an experimental device ("Mike
" - M
egaton) back in 1952, while the Soviets were still struggling with the Sloika, almost a year later. It wasn't until november 1955 that they tested their first "true" H-bomb, a time when the U.S. already demostrated the ability to weaponize "emergency capability", dry fusion fuel bombs. Since then, the two powers were equally capable of advancing their design -- the Soviets eventually went on to create the Tsar bomba
, supposedly the cleanest (though some say this is just soviet propaganda and the actual 50 Mt test was "dirty" as hell) and definitely the most powerful bomb in existence, weighing only 30 tons.
As far as the R-7 goes, I can't say I'm an expert - that's just what I read. I'll trust you on this. Perhaps the design requirement for the R-7 was assuming the guidance will
turn out to be imprecise, which later turned out to be false, but resulting in an overkill of a rocket? I'm also wondering about the fact the Soviets would trust their rockets receiving guidance from the ground (especially the ones carrying a warhead) in a time of paranoia and the possibility of sabotage via intruding radio signals. Recall Dr. Strangelove
and the paranoia on false transmissions from the other side, which probably was a big concern at the time. I'm implying that while spacecraft-bearing R-7s would be ground controlled, the military probably wanted the warheads to have minds of their own so nothing could interfere with them.