Detonated by the Soviet Union on October 30, , Tsar Bomba is the largest nuclear device ever detonated and the most powerful man-made explosion in history. With a yield of 50 megatons of TNT, Tsar Bomba was the culmination of a number of hydrogen bomb tests conducted throughout this time by both the Soviet Union and the United States. A team of physicists led by Yuli Khariton designed Tsar Bomba.
On the morning of 30 October , a Soviet Tu bomber took off from Olenya airfield in the Kola Peninsula in the far north of Russia. The last decade had seen enormous strides in Soviet nuclear research. In the intervening years, their test programme had surged in leaps and starts, detonating more than 80 devices; in alone, the Soviet tested 36 nuclear bombs.
The US apparently had an instrumented KCR aircraft Operation SpeedLight  in the area of the test — close enough to have been scorched by the blast. In addition to being created for political, propagandistic use and as a response to the nuclear deterrence capabilities then possessed by the United States, the Tsar Bomba was created as part of the strategic nuclear forces concept of the USSR, adopted during the rule of Georgy Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev. The aim was to achieve — without pursuing a quantitative parity with the US in terms of nuclear weapons and means of delivery — sufficient "guaranteed retaliation with an unacceptable level of damage to the enemy" in the event of a nuclear strike on the USSR via qualitatively superior nuclear power. The Tsar Bomba was not designed as a weapon, but as a proof-of-concept that larger warheads were possible and to exert psychological pressure on the United States. The "Malenkov-Khrushchev nuclear doctrine" involved the adoption of geopolitical and military challenges to the United States and the participation of the USSR in the nuclear race but "in a distinctly asymmetrical style". The technical manifestation of this undocumented doctrine was the research-and-development of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery; the former large enough to completely or nearly wipe out large cities and entire urbanized regions in one strike i. The development of such weapons also required mandatory and practical aerial bombardment methods as, for a high-yield thermo- nuclear explosion to reach maximal effect, the payload has to be detonated at an optimal height for the shock wave to reach the greatest force and range.
Last updated 3 September Test: No. Approximate coordinates were This weapon was developed in a remarkably short time. On 10 July Nikita Khrushchev met with Andrei Sakharov, then the senior weapon designer, and directed him to develop a megaton bomb. This device had to be ready for a test series due to begin in September so that the series would create maximum political impact a bomb this size is virtually useless militarily. Sakharov returned to Arzamas, and selected a design team consisting of Victor Adamskii, Yuri Babaev, Yuri Trutnev, and Yuri Smirnov who later oversaw the transformation of this design into a fielded weapon. The bomb was tested only 16 weeks after the initiation of its design. The parachute system developed for Big Ivan was a five-stage system, with a main canopy area of 1, square meters.