Weapon Wednesday – Nuke Truck Gets a Rocket Sled Test

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The Mobile Guardian Transporter about to be hit by a rocket-propelled truck
The Mobile Guardian Transporter about to be hit by a rocket-propelled truck
Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has successfully conducted a full-scale crash test of the semi-tractor-trailer truck that will be used to transport nuclear weapons inside the United States. The Mobile Guardian Transporter was tested at SNL’s rocket sled test track in New Mexico in June, where a second fully loaded semi-tractor trailer was propelled by rockets at highway speeds into the transporter for a broadside collision.

Because of the nature of the United States defense industry, the development, building, testing, storage, and deployment of nuclear weapons is spread widely throughout the lower 48 states. This is done for a variety of political, economic, practical, and security reasons, but it means that the US Department of energy and the Department of Defense need to rely on specially made transporters that protect weapons and weapon materials from hijacking and accidents.

Apparently the first of the transporters was the back seat of an ordinary Army sedan, which was used to carry the nuclear materials for the first atomic bomb in 1945. Since then, a family of increasingly sophisticated vehicles has been developed, including aircraft, armored trains, and since the 1990s, the Safeguards Transporter tractor-trailer system.

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