Computer says nuke the USA - Stanislav Petrov says no!

I would like to suggest that we buy a round and raise a toast to Lt Col Stanislav Petrov who was born in Vladivostok on 9th September 1939 and recently died in Moscow on 19th May 2017 aged 77.

On 26th September 1983 this gentleman saved the world.

On that date, at a time of high tension, Soviet computer systems detected that five Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched by the US towards the Soviet Union.

Protocol demanded an immediate retaliatory strike but Stanislav Petrov's instincts told him that the alarm was false. As a result rather than unleashing nuclear armageddon he reported that the early warning system was malfunctioning - though he did not in fact know for certain that this was the case.

The story came out many years later and Stanislav Petrov was subsequently honoured, but his name and how close we came to disaster is not as widely know as it should be.

Nice story. Thanks for sharing.

I wonder would his modern day counterpart be as sanguine in view of the occupant of the White House.

And what about his NK equivalent :)

...R

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_close_calls

9 November 1979 A computer error at NORAD headquarters led to alarm and full preparation for a nonexistent large-scale Soviet attack.[5] NORAD notified national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Soviet Union had launched 250 ballistic missiles with a trajectory for the United States, stating that a decision to retaliate would need to be made by the president within 3 to 7 minutes. NORAD computers then placed the number of incoming missiles at 2,200.[14] Strategic Air Command was notified, nuclear bombers prepared for takeoff, and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) crews were presumably placed on alert. Within six to seven minutes of the initial response, satellite and radar systems were able to confirm that the attack was a false alarm.[15] It was found that a training scenario was inadvertently loaded into an operational computer. Commenting on the incident, U.S. State Department adviser Marshall Shulman stated that "false alerts of this kind are not a rare occurrence. There is a complacency about handling them that disturbs me."[14] In the months following the incident there were 3 more false alarms at NORAD, 2 of them caused by faulty computer chips.[5]

That time it was Carter. Lucky for everyone that he was not a childish nutcase. Now the world has a near complete set.

I am certainly in favour of toasting Mr. Petrov. At the time I lived within certain death distance of the #3 strategic target. He very likely he saved my life.

A major SAC base was placed next to my home town, the closest one in the lower 48 to Russia. We had nuke drills in school. Last I remember was 67 or 68.

There are more of these stories coming out of the woodwork; The "Black Brant Scare" happened on 25th January 1995. American and Norwegian scientists launched a scientific rocket. Unfortunately the trajectory of the rocket made it look like a US submarine launched Trident missile heading for Moscow.

Boris Yeltsin was given the controls to launch a retaliatory strike but it seems he felt relations with the US were good at the time and so did not believe the threat was real. Apparently we got within 5 minutes of launch that time.

All the current sabre rattling makes the Korean situation very dangerous. I doubt NK will be first to launch any kind of actual attack, but the problem is if US feels it has to back up all the tweeting with action.

Even a limited air strike by the US could result in NK shelling Seoul and before you know it there might be a full scale conventional war between the US & SK and NK ( a treaty ally of China). Could the US & SK really win such a war without going nuclear? It would be a heck of a gamble.

ardly: Could the US & SK really win such a war without going nuclear? It would be a heck of a gamble.

The only winners would be the armaments manufacturers and dealers. I wonder how many of them have Trump's phone number? (or any other President, for that matter)

...R

Could an unhinged, delusional narcissist resist being "the biggest"? As in conventional war is for pussies?

GoForSmoke: Could an unhinged, delusional narcissist resist being "the biggest"? As in conventional war is for pussies?

I think too much is made of "the man on the finger" thing. It takes more that one person to launch a nuke. People would probably resign, especially for this president, before they would press the red button.

I don't believe NK have the capacity to launch, guide, or deliver a nuke-loaded ICBM any distance. Yet.

But they have made remarkable progress. Given they're skint , who's funding them? Do they make their own UDMH /MMH / N2O4 / IRFNA type fuel and oxidiser? ( nasty stuff) And such rocket engines aren't trivial.

You can tell they're using such propellants because of the reddish-brown smoke at the launch.

As for the nuke itself ( not my field) have they miniaturised it such that a ( probably - my guess ) 1/2 ton launcher with it will reach the states? I don't know - but you can bet that some people do.

It's my view that China have viewed it amusing to have a little tame - ish ( they could shut them down in a day) terrier barking defiance , but while it's bite is noisy and limited, this is just an annoyance to the west.. Now it might be getting to be a serious danger and an embarrassment to China - what'll they do?

Obviously 1 MRV missile from whatever platform would wipe them out , but , despite the hawks, this is surely to be avoided if at all possible.

Beyond ( as they say ) my pay grade.

Interesting.

Allan

From reading/listening to reports (from those that oppose my ideological views), the exponential increase in NK scientific steps in nuclear technology has been with the help of the Russian government NPR; setting aside the US government in the 90’s removed the road blocks. And yes - the POTUS has the sole decision NPR.

POTUS has the sole decision, but he can't launch all by himself was the point. There are several people between him and the guy with the actual key that drops the bomb that could just decide not to follow the order. Guys like our good Col Petrov here.

I think the world underestimates the US military's frustration of dictators and the freedom to choose one's path in the modern era. Hopefully, we won't allow dictators to saber rattle and oppress their citizens for a few a more decades more. Fortunately (as a world from the whole), the 1940's actions changed hearts and minds; otherwise, this would be a much different world. Imagine if a bleeding heart was aboard the "Bock's Car".

Moral equivalency (again) at work. Next post, invoke "Jesus would... " fill in blank).

At the risk of alienating the community I have learned from nearly a decade, I stand by my reply.

If history has shown America anything, it's that bombing the shit out of third world countries solves everything. Jesus would bomb them. They are mostly muslim countries and idol worshipers who disrespect the One True God™

lmao-Q; nice edit. Thank you for the entertainment - Facebook quality.

Lt Col Stanislav Petrov

I believe that a film was made which was similar to that incident.s

ardly: Boris Yeltsin was given the controls to launch a retaliatory strike but it seems he felt relations with the US were good at the time and so did not believe the threat was real. Apparently we got within 5 minutes of launch that time.

At one time the USSR had the nuclear trigger under the control of generals and even lower ranks.

Basically a dead mans handle. A nuclear strike on Russia would result in a retaliatory strike , possibly not considering where the missile was launched from.

Later the USA shared their technology with Russia (the permissive action link) to make things safer.

During the Cuban missile crisis ISTR that local commanders had control of the missiles.

Truly scary stuff.

Qdeathstar: I think too much is made of "the man on the finger" thing. It takes more that one person to launch a nuke. People would probably resign, especially for this president, before they would press the red button.

I do not know about current methods but this was untrue in the past.

I believe for instance that it is possible for SSBN crews to launch by themselves under certain circumstances however that does take several people and a reference to the letter of last resort.

"During the Cuban missile crisis ISTR that local commanders had control of the missiles"

Line up the shorts let's have a toast to Vasili Arkhipov deputy commander of a Russian submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In International waters the US navy dropped depth charges to force the submarine to surface.

The submarine Captain and the Political Officer decided to respond by firing a nuclear torpedo at a US aircraft carrier! Normally this was all the authorization required. However, by luck, on this sub the deputy commander Vasili Arkhipov had the same rank as the Captain and had to agree.

He refused unless Moscow was first consulted.

Would a US ship depth-charging a Russian sub in international waters and the sub then nuking a US aircraft carrier in a flotilla of US ships be a situation that could be contained?

A bit less dangerous than the Stanislav Petrov situation, but it would have been remarkable if anybody could have brought things under control.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Arkhipov