|April 18th, 2017 at 1:00:41 PM permalink|
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
I just read a short piece on a Soviet era "doomsday" system called variously "Perimeter" or, more ominously, "Dead Hand."
It was a rocket with powerful radio transmitters. The way it worked was that if it detected a nuclear attack on the USSR, and that the leadership was unavailable, it launched and broadcast an order to Soviet nuclear forces to strike the US.
Assuming, that is, the system were armed first.
First of all, how? That's simple. It was hooked to radiation sensors and seismometers. Also to receivers monitoring radio frequencies used by the military and civilian leadership. If it detected radiation and seismic activity consistent with a nuclear strike, it would then check for activity on the radio for 15 to 60 minutes. If activity in that band was absent, then the leadership is dead (or incapacitated, or incommunicado, or partying at the Kremlin).
Second, why? Because the US was doing a lot of work with submarine-launched missiles. A strike launched from the Dakotas with ICBMs leaves you as much as 30 minutes to decide what to do. Ample time to launch a counter-strike. A sub or a small flotilla near the coast(s) might not even let you have 3 minutes. Thus Dead Hand could strike back even in such a case.
Of course they let the Americans know about it.
But the article then claimed something rather interesting: the presence of a fail-safe doomsday system made over-reaction to a probable attack lass likely. How? Well, if your radar shows a flock of missiles, there are ways to check that, but they take time. If you know you can take the time and if they are real missiles and kill you, nevertheless your forces will strike back, then you're more likely to take the time.
I wonder if that worked. I mean, that's a nasty place to find out the unintended consequences.
Fresh out of clues. Did you really expect anything?