Saturday, May 3, 2014

Can You Say " Doctor Strangelove...?"

Although this might sound like something out of a scifi movie or book, I have no doubt that not only is it real, but that the U.S. has something just like it!

I don't know why anyone would ever believe that we could or would stop creating world destroying weapons after the last world war. You would think that between the drones, bombs, biological weapons, and up coming robots...we would stop and say "enough!" Not very likely, I'm afraid!

‘Dead Hand,’ Russia’s Terrifying Doomsday Device
By Chris McQ on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

During the Cold War, Russia created a fail-safe device for their nuclear weapons arsenal to ensure a second strike capability even if all command and control were to be destroyed. The system (code-named Dead Hand) utilized seismic, light, radioactivity, and pressure sensors to detect an incoming nuclear attack and retaliate if necessary. The best part? The system is almost certainly still operational.

Originally built 25 years ago, the system was created to ensure a nuclear retaliation if Russia were attacked by the US. Should this happen, the system would be triggered by an elaborate network of sensors positioned around Russia, it would then retaliate with an all-out launch of missiles against targets throughout the US.

At the time that Dead Hand was created, many Russian military strategists feared US ballistic nuclear submarines and their first strike capabilities. If the submarines were to stealthily move within Russia’s territorial waters, they could strike with very little notice. This would make it possible for the Americans to destroy the entire Soviet leadership without provoking a retaliation by the leaderless Soviet military. To combat this perceived weakness, the Soviets created Dead Hand to ensure they maintained a second strike capability regardless of a US first strike outcome.

One of the many systems that Dead Hand relies on is an interesting reserve communication system known as “Perimeter.” Perimeter consists of a network of command rockets that are used to transmit launch commands directly to the strategic missile launchers. Once Perimeter received commands to proceed, the rockets would be launched and begin broadcasting launch orders to the missile launch sites continuously for up to 50 minutes. This ensured that, even if communication networks were disabled, launch commands could still be sent to strategic missile regiments in the field and a nuclear strike could proceed.

In typical Cold War–era reasoning, Dead Hand was just one more level of annihilation stacked on top of the already terrifying idea of mutual self-destruction, perhaps (theoretically) giving the Americans one more reason to pause their itchy trigger fingers. However, the scariest part of Dead Hand is the fact that it does not require human intervention at all. If an event, like an asteroid, triggers its detectors in any way that resemble a nuclear attack, Dead Hand is more than capable of beginning the process of nuclear annihilation all on its own. According to reports, it would attempt to contact political and military leaders, and if they could not be contacted within a specified period of time, it could decide its own time for retaliation.

All is not lost it seems, as Russia had the good sense to place human intervention somewhere within this process. Situated deep underground in a bunker sit three Russian duty officers who decide whether or not to begin Armageddon. It rests in their good hands to question whether said event passed from Dead Hand was an actual nuclear attack or something of a much more benign nature. If it is determined that a real attack had occurred and the Moscow leadership had been destroyed or was unreachable, they were tasked with deciding whether or not to initiate the Perimeter system and launch all their remaining missiles.

Luckily for us Russia did not go through with their original, fully automatic version of Dead Hand . . . assuming that we take them at their word on that particular point. What do you say, Ukraine?

Now don't blame me for this article. I found it over at KnowledgeNuts! Just remember to not shoot the messenger, OK?

Coffee out on the patio again. Still nice and cool in the mornings.


Judy said...

And I lay odds we have something equally dangerous on our side of the fence that we the common motoring public don't know about!

Practical Parsimony said...

That makes my stomach hurt. When I was four, I was terrified of the Cold War, asking Mama how cold would it get. Would it kill me? I was one frightened child.

Cold War, actual or perceived, is not good. I am one of the few amongst my friends who believes the Russians never had a change of heart and have never really changed their military stance.

Mamahen said...

Ditto Practcal Parsimony's comment!

Chickenmom said...

I remember the air raid drills we had in school back in the 50's. My Dad was our block's Civil Defense coordinator. I have his old helmet somewhere around here. Cool here this morning, too at 38!

Rob said...

0618 this morning the sun was just fully above the horizon. It looks like we made it through another night!
In the 40's right now but it's supposed to get better...

edifice rex said...

The willingness of humans to destroy knows no bounds. You like to hope that one day we will evolve beyond that, but some things dash that hope pretty good.

JO said...

I remember the drill's in school too but it was into early 60's. Yes why can't the world get along always looking to kill everyone off.

I sure would like to sit on the pation this morning with you all.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I, too, remember the drills and my dad had one of CD helmets and later, where I worked, had a fall-out shelter completely stocked. The asteroids that hit Russia a few months ago. . wonder why they didn't trigger a missile response? Glad they didn't.!!