A suitcase nuclear weapon, or suitcase nuke, was a term used to describe various types of nuclear devices developed by the former Soviet Union. They, in their various incarnations, were exactly what the name implied: low-yield nuclear bombs concealed inside suitcases. These devices were specifically designed to be mobile and difficult to detect by the hostile military units and intelligence agencies. The terrorist plot in Day 5 involved suitcase nukes: Mohammad Amad and Anatoly Maier attempted to detonate the bombs on US soil and, later, William Henderson stole an FB subcircuit board to gain access to Russian military technology.
Before Day 5
During the days of the Cold War, the communist regime in the Soviet Union authorized a military project for developing and manufacturing portable nuclear devices. These nuclear weapons were supposed to detonate in the major civilian and military targets in the United States. The results of this project were the suitcase nuclear bombs. They didn't possess the massive explosive power of more powerful nuclear bombs, but the devices were designed to be easily smuggled and placed to the key enemy locations.
The suitcase nukes of Day 5 incorporated a triggering mechanism that made use of FB subcircuit boards. According to William Henderson, these boards were old enough to be easily decrypted with modern technology, and could provide a wealth of information on Russian defense systems. When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War came to an end, many of these bombs were mysteriously stolen from the Russian military.
Before Day 5 began, former Soviet general Anatoly Maier came into possession of five obsolete suitcase nukes. Maier, an ardent ultranationalist, believed that the Soviet Union fell because the Russians were too afraid to detonate the bombs during the Cold War. He wanted to revenge for Russia's defeat and masterminded a terrorist plot to wreak havoc with his suitcase nukes on the US.
At first, Maier contacted an Arab terrorist cell led by Mohammad Amad and promised to provide him with nuclear weapons to destroy major US targets. Amad agreed and became Maier's partner in the plot, but he didn't know that Maier's planned to betray him and frame his terrorist organization as the perpetrators of the nuclear attacks. The Americans had no information on Maier's plans or participation in the terrorist actions, and Russia would avoid accusation and suspicion as the West and the Middle East would annihilate each other, thus making Russia the new leading world power. The man who helped Maier to smuggle the nuclear weapons to the United States was his long-time friend, Russian Consul Victor Stovitch. Stovitch conspired with Maier to detonate the bombs and frame the Arabs as scapegoats.
After arriving to the United States, Maier contacted William Henderson, the founder of JBX Technologies. Maier promised to supply the corporation with the bombs and announced that he wanted to dismantle the suitcase nukes and recycle their components into energy production. Somehow, Maier was able to uncover William Henderson's role in the Nuke/Gas conspiracy of Day 2, and in turn, William was able to learn that Maier planned to use the bombs to the cause panic and destruction in the United States. To secure the success of his conspiracy, Maier threatened to blackmail William and JBX Technologies, and William was forced to stay quiet to save the reputation of his company. In fact, William later claimed that he had no idea that Maier planned to supply the Arab terrorist with the suitcase nukes.
William gave the bombs to John Henderson, his son and the CEO of JBX Technologies, and advised him to dismantle them as soon as possible.
However, the suitcase nukes supplied to Mohammad lacked triggering mechanisms. Mohammad also planned hire Kasim to use the component to active the devices and then detonate them on the US targets.
Around 8:57am, it was revealed that five of these suitcase nukes were in the hands of Mohammad Amad. Kasim martyred himself by detonating the bomb only because of the Mill Valley Police Department's sudden raid. He was originally planned to work with all five of the devices, so Mohammad needed a new engineer. Maier located Arnold Robinson, who was abducted and eventually handed over to Mohammad. After enduring torture, Arnold finally gave in and created a device which would allow Mohammad to arm each bomb.
It was later revealed that Maier had a delivery system for the bombs, and it was intended to be used with all five bombs, each sent to high priority targets, although none of these targets had been named. Maier, learning that a second bomb had been used, although later disarmed, had to reprogram his delivery system for three.
The delivery system was revealed to be a set of aerial drones, small planes which could be controlled remotely, and could carry the bombs in the suitcase nukes. Mohammad and Maier rendezvoused in the Altamaha desert and began to set up the drones, but their location was revealed to FBI before they finished, and only one drone was launched.
One of Maier's henchmen, was controlling the drone from a warehouse. After FBI discovered his location, Rick and a team raided the location, Maier was taken, and Rick took control of the drone. The bomb was programmed to detonate only when it reached its target area, which allowed Rick to redirect the drone to another area and land it without detonating. Rick landed the drone in an industrial park, but in the process, the casing of the bomb was damaged and a radiation leak occurred. There were minimal casualties.
While FBI focused on stopping the launched drone, Mohammad were able to escape with the other drones and the remaining bombs.
Maier agreed to lead them to Mohammad for an immunity agreement. FBI agreed, but when Maier met with Mohammad he relayed information that he was being tracked by FBI. After a failed escape attempt, Mohammad was captured by FBI and interrogated.
The interrogation led nowhere, so Rick devised a plan to trick Mohammad into thinking he was captured by his own people and the FBI vehicle he was traveling in was ambushed. It seemed he fell for the plan but he was delivered a coded message and shot all the members of the undercover FBI team. He escaped, but Rick followed him to a warehouse where Mohammad was keeping the last two nuclear devices.
Rick shot all the members of Mohammad's team. While Rick was distracted, Mohammad attempted to detonate the devices. However Rick reached Mohammad before they could be used and a hand-to-hand combat fight ensued, ending with Rick hanging Mohammad by a metal chain. As he reeled in pain Chris Andrews and a FBI team arrived, and Andrews confirmed that the nukes had been secured.