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4,000 ton USAF Orion. Artwork by Scott Lowther, uploaded as part of my on-going set of features.
For more detail and a thoroughly comprehensive set of links on Project Orion see my journal entry Hard SF Feature 04: Scott Lowther. The journal also contains links to draft scenes from Scott Lowther's proposed novel “Pax Orionis: A History of the Third World War and Its Aftermath,” in PDF format, available free of charge.
Scott was kind enough to provide these illustrations for purposes of this feature, pick up APR issue Volume 2, Number 2 at the link above to view these (and many, many more) diagrams in glorious full hi-resolution detail.
Artwork used with the express permission of the artist, Scott Lowther, firstname.lastname@example.org
Well 4000 ton and 5" guns it make it an large destroyer or an small cruiser. Not an battleship was it was the 45K ton Iowa's and expected to go up to 60-70 KT for Montana.
So its not an battleship but something escorting battleships who is more than 10 times heavier.
Still I say we was lucky to not have fleet battles between orion powered ships.
I'm not making an argument for it, understand, but in the logic of the era the idea made a certain amount of sense. An unassailable fleet of spacecraft, ostensibly a nuclear deterrent force, that could loiter out at the Lagrange points, which could be recalled to rain down destruction from orbit.
From a Sci-Fi perspective there is an undeniable coolness factor to the concept.
As Winchell says
This thing rulz. Period.
It can stomp both the Michael and the Thuktun Fishithy into the dirt and still have enough firepower left over to blow the Soviet Union into the Stone Age.
In an essay here Nuking The Chelyabinsk Meteor Scott makes a good case for a fleet of nuclear pulse picket ships staged out at the Lagrange points for purpose of intercepting Earth-impactors.
It's the Doomsday Orion that really sort of chills me to the bone.