All Classic Video - Operation Sandstone Nuclear Bomb Test (1948)
Operation Sandstone Nuclear Bomb Test (1948)
Operation Sandstone was a series of nuclear weapon tests in 1948. It was the third series of American tests, following Trinity in 1945 and Crossroads in 1946, and preceding Ranger. Like the Crossroads tests, the Sandstone tests were carried out at the Pacific Proving Grounds, although at Enewetak Atoll rather than Bikini Atoll. They differed from Crossroads in that they were conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, with the armed forces having only a supporting role. The purpose of the Sandstone tests was also different: they were primarily tests of new bomb designs rather than of the effects of nuclear weapons. Three tests were carried out in April and May 1948 by Joint Task Force 7, with a work force of 10,366 personnel, of whom 9,890 were military.
The successful testing of the new cores in the Operation Sandstone tests rendered every component of the old weapons obsolete. Even before the third test had been carried out, production of the old cores was halted, and all effort concentrated on the new Mark 4 nuclear bomb, which would become the first mass-produced nuclear weapon. More efficient use of fissionable material as a result of Operation Sandstone would increase the U.S. nuclear stockpile from 56 bombs in June 1948 to 169 in June 1949.