Who can pass up owning their very own backpack nuke?
There’s no denying that the “operator aesthetic” has come to dominate the military, veteran, and tough-guy LARPER (Live Action Role Player) communities in recent years, and for good reason. My hearty veteran beard strategically hides the fact that I was born without a man’s chin, and the cargo pockets on tactical pants are a great place to stash a handful of Slim Jims (after all, chow is continuous). But for the more refined “operator” look, there’s really no beating wearing an inert nuclear weapon like this B54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) on your back.
As insane as it may sound, there was a time when special operations units were actually tasked with not only wearing these 60-pound nuclear weapons on their backs, but jumping out of airplanes with them on as well. Once on the ground, some of these specially trained operators would have to shoulder their nukes and proceed to ski down the Bavarian Alps with them on so they could place them in strategic locations following the onset of nuclear war.
“It skied down the mountain; you did not,” said Bill Flavin, who commanded a Special Forces team tasked with the operation. “If it shifted just a little bit, that was it. You were out of control on the slopes with that thing.”
These man-portable nuclear weapons ranged in yield from 100 tons of TNT to 1,000 (.1 to 1 kiloton). Only one operator was required for actually transporting the weapon, but two had to be present in order to arm it. America’s nuclear doctrine requires that no single person, other than the president, has the authority to arm such a weapon alone. As such, each operator on the two-man team was given only half of the detonation code.
“Soldiers from elite Army engineer and Special Forces units, as well as Navy SEALs and select Marines, trained to use the bombs, known as ‘backpack nukes,’ on battlefronts from Eastern Europe to Korea to Iran,” Adam Rawnsley and David Brown wrote for Stripes.
Of course, the need for human beings to actually sneak nuclear weapons into enemy territory effectively ended with the introduction of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which could strike targets anywhere on the globe with a high degree of accuracy. As a result, America chose to retire these weapons decades ago… but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them back into style by wearing your own around town.
The SADM up for sale on GunBroker.com is obviously not an actual nuclear weapon, but rather an inert container used for training. Of course, the exterior still looks the same, so you don’t have to worry about your tactical LARPER buddies calling you out for it. But, as the listing points out, this fashionable accessory is “about as dangerous as wearing a trash can on your back.“
In fact, you could probably even use this piece of kit as your own trash can, as long as you’re comfortable with paying $7,500 for a bin to throw your Lunchables into after chow. You can see the full listing for this SADM backpack nuke here. And If you prefer your nuclear weapons to be even crazier, check out this article on Project Pluto.