"Tactical neutron bombs are primarily intended to kill soldiers who are
protected by armor. Armored vehicles are very resistant to blast and
heat produced by nuclear weapons, but steel armor can reduce neutron
radiation only by a modest amount so the lethal range from neutrons
greatly exceeds that of other weapon effects. The lethal range for
tactical neutron bombs can exceed the lethal range for blast and heat
even for unprotected troops. Armor can absorb neutrons and neutron
energy, thus reducing the neutron radiation to which the tank crew is
exposed, but this offset to some extent by the fact that armor can also
react harmfully with neutrons. Alloy steels for example can develop
induced radioactivity that remains dangerous for some time. When fast
neutrons are slowed down, the energy lost can show up as x-rays. Some types of armor, like that of the M-1 tank, employ depleted uranium which
can undergo fast fission, generating additional neutrons and becoming
radioactive. Special neutron absorbing armor techniques have also been
developed, such as armors containing boronated plastics and the use of
vehicle fuel as a shield."
"Also called ENHANCED RADIATION WARHEAD, specialized type of small thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but which releases large amounts of lethal radiation. The neutron bomb delivers blast and heat effects that are confined to an area of only a few hundred yards in radius. But within a somewhat larger area it throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which can penetrate armour or several feet of earth. This radiation is extremely destructive to living tissue. Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effect, the neutron bomb would be highly effective against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield but would not endanger cities or other population centres only a few miles away. It can be carried in a
Lance missile or delivered by an 8-inch (200-millimetre) howitzer, or possibly by attack aircraft.
In strategic terms, the neutron bomb has a theoretical deterrent effect: discouraging an armoured ground assault by arousing the fear of neutron bomb counterattack. The bomb would disable enemy tank crews in minutes, and those exposed would die within days. U.S. production of the bomb was postponed in 1978 and resumed in 1981."
©2006 m. villanueva