The W59 was 16.3 inches in diameter and 47.8 inches long, and it weighed 550 pounds (250 kg). It had a design yield of 1 megaton, with a yield-to-weight ratio of 4 kiloton per kilogram.
A total of 150 W59 warheads were produced during its lifetime.
Historical evidence indicates that these weapons shared a reliability problem, which Hansen attributes to miscalculation of the reaction cross section of Tritium in fusion reactions. The weapons were not tested as extensively as some prior models due to a mid-1960s nuclear test moratorium, and the reliability problem was discovered and fixed after the moratorium ended. This problem was apparently shared by the Python primary designs.
- List of nuclear weapons
- Teller-Ulam design
- B43 nuclear bomb
- W50 (atomic weapon)
- B57 nuclear bomb
- Allbombs.html list of all US nuclear warheads at nuclearweaponarchive.org
- Beware the old story by Chuck Hansen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2001 pp. 52–55.