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Other titles:BRITAIN'S ATOMIC WEAPONS RESEARCH PROGRAMME COLLECTION [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: A study of the use of barrage balloons to hoist an atomic weapon as part of Britain's atomic weapons testing programme, featuring the successful use of balloons for this purpose, in round three of Operation Antler, codename Taranki.
Description: In October 1956 the RAF Balloon Unit at RAF Cardington is instructed to provide facilities and assistance in designing a balloon to hoist an weapon. In August 1957, personnel from Cardington travel to Maralinga to begin preparations for Operation Antler. Equipment from Cardington arrives and is unpacked and inspected. Constructing the balloon ready for inflation. Trolleys of gas cylinders ready to be used to inflate the balloon. Balloon is gradually inflated and tethered to the ground. Three balloons are inflated, moved to the flying area and are then stacked together. In a practice hoist a dummy weapon is hoisted into position. The middle balloon collapses at 500ft and repairs have to be made. On 9 October 1957, a further dummy run is carried out, then preparations begin for the detonation of the live weapon. Protective screens are placed around for weapon for security reasons. Final checks are carried out. Weapon is hoisted and detonated.
Technical Details: Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1900ft (ca); Running time: 21 mins
Notes: Remarks: A number of Britain's atomic weapons tests were conducted using aluminium towers to support the weapon prior to detonation. This option was expensive to construct and each tower could only be used once. Consequently the option of using barrage balloons to suspend the weapon was investigated and implemented for Operation Antler, and used again in Operation Grapple Z.