WE 177 was developed as a free fall tactical nuclear weapon for deployment on tactical aircraft such as the Buccaneer, Vulcan and later Tornado. Due to limitations inRed Beard's fusing and the unsuitability of Yellow Sun for low level delivery it was decided to procure a new tactical nuclear free-fall weapon. Development of WE 177 commenced in 1965. It became operational in late 1966.
There were three models: A, B and C
Type A weighed 600lb (272Kg), Estimated yield - 200Kt. Fission weapon derived from Cleo. Withdrawn from Service by August 1998.
Type B weighed 950lb (431Kg), Estimated yield - 400Kt. Thermonuclear weapon derived from the RE.179 warhead intended for the UK Skybolt. Withdrawn from Service by August 1998.
Type C weighed 600lb (272Kg, Estimated yield - 10Kt. Variable yield fission weapon. This was a nuclear depth charge for the Royal Navy. Withdrawn from Service by June 1992. Possibly shorter and rocket boosted for helicopter use.
The example in the photograph is on display at the Bristol Collection at Kemble Airfield.
Nuclear Weapons or Alpha-numeric codes