Marines test equipments provided by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Camp Pendleton, California.
Marines test equipments provided by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Camp Pendleton, California.
I always wondered how these nuclear missiles are launched. Especially how they are propelled to the surface from the submerged submarine. The answers below addressed these questions very clearly.
From Juergen Nieveler:
First of all, the missile launch is a two-stage process – the missile engine doesn’t actually start until it’s clear out of the water. SLBMs and vertical-launched Tomahawks actually get pushed out by high-pressure air with enough force to lift the tail end a few feet out of the water – then the rocket engine kicks in, and in the case of the Tomahawk the process of deploying and starting the jet engine and dropping the rocket engine begins. With Harpoon it’s a bit different – they are launched horizontally from the torpedo tube within a container shaped a bit like a torpedo. That container then angles upwards and soon breaches the water surface… then the top blows off and the missile is launched from inside the launch container.
All of those missiles will get a last position update right before launch, so they’ll roughly know where they are when they leave the water – the vertically launched missiles of course having a better position fix than the tube-launched ones, as those travel a bit downrange. Once airborne, the missiles will then switch on their GPS receivers and will get a position fix from GPS within seconds (military GPS receivers getting a much more accurate signal than the civilian ones…). Once the navigation system has an updated position, it will plot an updated course for the missile to follow.
From Gururaq Kalanidhi:
In the earlier 1950s~1960s when the first operational Ballistic Missile submarines (or Boomers) were being tested, the technologies for an underwater missile launch were not feasible. This was because, the ballistic missiles were liquid fuelled. This meant that the missile was huge and cumbersome. This meant that only 1 or 2 could be carried onboard. Also, since it was powered by liquid fuels, it could not be ignited sub-surface. This meant that the submarine had to surface for a launch. This would give away the location of the submarine. Hence, scientists across the world were trying hard solve this problem. The solution came with the development of solid fuel rockets. These rockets usually made from carbon, sulphur and others did not need oxygen for their combustion. This made the missile more compact and powerful. This meant that the missile could be launched from within the submarine… However, launching a rocket/ missile from the confines of a submarine presents with a unique set of challenges. The launch would put tremendous pressure on the submarine body.
Hence, the scientists came up with a underwater launch system using pressurised air.
The launch from the submarine occurs below the ocean surface. The missiles are ejected from their tubes by igniting an explosive charge in a separate container which is separated by seventeen titanium alloy pinnacles activated by a double alloy steam system. The energy from the blast is directed to a water tank, where the water is flash-vaporized to steam. The subsequent pressure spike is strong enough to eject the missile out of the tube and give it enough momentum to reach and clear the surface of the water. The missile is pressurized with nitrogen to prevent the intrusion of water into any internal spaces, which could damage the missile or add weight, destabilizing the missile. Should the missile fail to breach the surface of the water, there are several safety mechanisms that can either deactivate the missile before launch or guide the missile through an additional phase of launch. Inertial motion sensors are activated upon launch, and when the sensors detect downward acceleration after being blown out of the water, the first-stage engine ignites. The aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that halves aerodynamic drag, is then deployed, and the boost phase begins. When the third-stage motor fires, within two minutes of launch, the missile is traveling faster than 20,000 ft/s (6,000 m/s), or 13,600 mph (21,600 km/h).
USS Grayback (SS/SSG/APSS/LPSS-574), the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grayback, a small herring of commercial importance in the Great Lakes.
Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1954 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard of Vallejo, California. She was launched on 2 July 1957 sponsored by Mrs. John A. Moore, widow of the last skipper of the USS Grayback (SS-208) and commissioned at Mare Island on 7 March 1958 with Lieutenant Commander Hugh G. Nott in command. Grayback was initially designated as an attack submarine, but was converted to a Regulus nuclear cruise missile submarine (SSG-574) in 1958.
In mid-1956, it became Navy policy to keep one SSG in each ocean, and Tunny shifted her base of operations to Pearl Harbor in 1957. Meanwhile, the Navy had laid down two large diesel-electric submarines specifically to carry Regulus, launching USS Grayback (SSG-574) in March 1958 and USS Growler (SSG-577) in August of that same year. Each of these two near-sister ships displacing approximately 3,600 tons submerged could accommodate a total of four Regulus I missiles in a pair of cylindrical hangars set into the large, bulbous bow. These hangars opened aft through a set of doors by which the weapons could be moved onto a trainable launch ramp set into a well forward of the sail. The ramp was rotated athwartships for launching.
After the Soviet Union and then the United States successfully tested their first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 1957, the nuclear arms race moved into a more dangerous phase. In late 1958, with four SSGs and four Regulus cruisers in commission, the Navy responded by moving all of the submarines and three of the cruisers to the Pacific to maintain regular deterrent patrols threatening the Soviet Far East. In particular, Submarine Squadron ONE was formed of the four SSGs at Pearl Harbor and adopted a readiness posture that put at least four missiles on station in the Western Pacific at all times, to complement existing carrier-based aircraft armed with nuclear weapons. (This required deploying either the two converted fleet boats together or one of the two Graybacks.) Tunny departed on the first of these regularly scheduled deterrent patrols in October 1959, whereas Grayback’s and Growler’s first patrols commenced in early 1960.
As Polaris missile submarines became operational, they assumed the deterrent functions previously assigned to Grayback and her sister ships. The Regulus missile program ended in 1964 and Grayback was withdrawn from active service. She decommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, on 25 May 1964.
The Regulus 1 was the first operational U.S. Navy cruise missile. Designed to attack ground targets, it carried a nuclear warhead, flew at subsonic speeds up to an altitude of 9,144 meters (30,000 feet), and had a range of 800 kilometers (500 miles). A turbojet engine powered the missile to its target after two boosters were jettisoned. The missile was deployed on several aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers, and submarines (in watertight containers on the deck) from 1955 to 1964. Radio signals from a control aircraft or other submarines were the primary means of guiding the missile. The Polaris, the first U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile, replaced the Regulus 1. Chance Vought built this missile and the U.S. Navy transferred it to NASM in 1988.
They referred to this missile as a cruise missile. Yet it flew at 30,000 feet. Todays cruise missiles fly below 200 feet.
|Weight||13,685 pounds (6,207 kg)|
|Length||32 feet 2 inches (9.80 m)|
|Diameter||4 feet 8.5 inches (1.435 m)|
|Warhead||3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) such as the W5 warhead or the W27 warhead|
|Engine||Allison J33-A-14 turbojet 4,600 lbf (20 kN)
2 × booster rockets 33,000 lbf (150 kN)
|Wingspan||21 feet (6.4 m) extended
9 feet 10.5 inches (3.010 m) folded
|500 nautical miles (926 km)|
The Royal Canadian Navy confirmed today that a mysterious object found off the coast of B.C.’s North Coast is not a bomb or a lost nuclear weapon.
The navy was deployed at the request of RCMP to investigate the area near Haida Gwaii after diver Sean Smyrichinsky found a suspicious object during a diving trip near Banks Island.
In a statement, the navy said the object is “a metal part of a larger machine assembly and appears to be a piece of industrial equipment.”
November 5, 2016
A diver exploring off the coast of British Columbia may have found a legendary nuclear bomb that went missing in the 1950’s.
Sean Smyrichinsky spotted the strange object during a diving expedition near Canada’s Banks Island.
“It resembled, like, a bagel cut in half, and then around the bagel these bolts molded into it,” Smyrichinsky told the CBC.
When he first emerged from the water after encountering the mystery object, Smyrichinsky marveled to his fellow divers that he had just spotted a UFO!
However, he later investigated what it could have possibly been and concluded that it was likely a nuclear bomb that was lost in a U.S. Air Force crash in 1950.
The incident had been kept secret by the American government for years and the ultimate whereabouts of the bomb had long been the subject of debate among researchers.
Comparing images of the ‘lost bomb’ to what he saw during the dive, Smyrichinsky is convinced that it must be the infamous armament, probably because any other possibly was too fantastic to consider.
Smyrichinsky mused to the CBC, “I was thinking UFO, but probably not a UFO, right?”
Since the discovery is not too far from where the American Air Force plane went down in 1950, the chance of Smyrichinsky’s object being the bomb seems fairly likely.
Fortunately, the ‘mystery object’ will not linger as an unsolved case for long as the Canadian Navy is en route to examine Smyrichinsky’s find and determine what it is.
Although an official with the Canadian Air Force claims that the ‘lost bomb’ from the 1950’s is not dangerous, we wouldn’t want to be the guy in the wetsuit who has to go down there and find out.
On 14 February 1950, a Convair B-36B, Air Force Serial Number 44-92075 assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell Air Force Base, crashed in northern British Columbia after jettisoning a Mark 4 nuclear bomb. This was the first such nuclear weapon loss in history. The B-36 had been en route from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, more than 3000 miles south-east, on a mission that included a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco.
Plane 44-92075, was flying on a simulated nuclear strike combat mission against the Soviet Union. The B-36 took off from Eielson AFB with a regular crew of 15 plus a Weaponeer and a Bomb Commander. The plan for the 24-hour flight was to fly over the North Pacific, due west of the Alaska panhandle and British Columbia, then head inland over Washington state and Montana. Here the B-36 would climb to 40,000 feet (12,000 m) for a simulated bomb run to southern California and then San Francisco, it would continue its non-stop flight to Fort Worth, Texas. The flight plan did not include any penetration of Canadian airspace. The plane carried a Mark IV atomic bomb, containing a substantial quantity of natural uranium and 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of conventional explosives. According to the USAF, the bomb did not contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation.
Cold weather (−40 °F/−40 °C on the ground at Eielson AFB) adversely affected the planes involved in this exercise, and some minor difficulties with 44-92075 were noted before takeoff. Seven hours into the flight, three of the six engines began shooting flames and were shut down, and the other three engines proved incapable of delivering full power. The subsequent investigation blamed ice buildup in the mixture control air intakes.
The crew decided to abandon the aircraft because it could not stay aloft with three engines out of commission while carrying a heavy payload. The atomic bomb was jettisoned and detonated in mid-air, resulting in a large conventional explosion over the Inside Passage. The USAF later stated that the fake practice core on board the aircraft was inserted into the weapon before it was dropped.
The aircraft commander steered the plane over Princess Royal Island to spare his crew having to parachute into the cold North Pacific, whereupon the crew bailed out. Before bailing out last, he set a turning course toward the open ocean using the autopilot.
The plane had been in constant radio contact with Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and within minutes of the bailout the Royal Canadian Air Force launched Operation Brix to find the missing men. Poor weather hampered search efforts; nevertheless 12 of the 17 men were eventually found alive. Four of the five deceased airmen were believed to have bailed out of the aircraft earlier than the surviving crew members, and it was assumed that they landed in the ocean and died of hypothermia. Canadian authorities were never told that the aircraft was carrying a nuclear weapon.
To search for the B-36, planes were pulled off the search for a C-54 that had disappeared three weeks earlier. A more exhaustive search was not launched for the plane, as it was believed to be at the bottom of the Pacific. Three years later, however, a RCAF flight searching for the missing de Havilland Dove aircraft of Texas millionaire oilman Ellis Hall spotted the B-36’s wreckage. It was found on the side of Mount Kologet, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Alaskan border, roughly due east of the towns of Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska, on the east side of the isolated Nass Basin northwest of Hazelton, British Columbia.
The USAF immediately began an investigation. A team was sent in September 1953, as the effort was given a high priority, but they failed to reach the site after 19 days of trudging through the wilderness. The effort was resumed the following year with better equipment, and in August 1954 a new team of USAF personnel accompanied by a local guide reached the wreckage. They recovered important components and then used explosives to destroy what was visible above the snow.
In 1956, two civilian surveyors chanced on the wreck and noted its exact location, which otherwise remained unknown for the next 40 years. In 1997 one of the surveyors provided the coordinates to two distinct expeditions, one American and one led by the Canadian Department of National Defence, seeking to conduct an environmental analysis of the site. Both expeditions reached the wreck around the same time, and members were apparently the first humans to set foot in the area since 1956. The Canadian-led mission found no unusual radiation levels. In late 1998, the Canadian government declared the site protected. A portion of one of the gun turrets is on display at The Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers, British Columbia.
In November 2016 a diver reported he had discovered something that looked like a segment of the (non-nuclear) bomb that the co-pilot said they had dumped before the crash.
Nine countries together possess more than 15,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.
The failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons. The only guarantee against the spread and use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them without delay. Although the leaders of some nuclear-armed nations have expressed their vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, they have failed to develop any detailed plans to eliminate their arsenals and are modernizing them.
|COUNTRY||NUCLEAR PROGRAMME||SIZE OF ARSENAL
|United States||The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.||6,970 warheads|
|Russia||The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.||7,300 warheads|
|United Kingdom||It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. It is considering whether to overhaul its nuclear forces or disarm.||215 warheads|
|France||Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.||300 warheads|
|China||It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It appears to be increasing the size of its arsenal at a slow pace.||260 warheads|
|India||It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.||100–120 warheads|
|Pakistan||It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal in recent years.||110–130 warheads|
|Israel||It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.||80 warheads|
|North Korea||It has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them.||<10 warheads|
I came across a British tabloid site that had an article on where is the best places on the planet to survive a nuclear war. The list is funny, to say the least.
Kansas City! Kansas City is a major American population center. It undoubtedly would be targeted by the Russians.
The island of Guam in the eastern Pacific is a United States territory. It hosts a major American nuclear submarine base and thousands of Marines. Without a doubt, it is targeted.
Cape Town and Antarctica would possibly be safe places. But after the world economy and infrastructure is destroyed. Who do the residents of these places deal with? Tristan Da Cunha would be the safest place on the list.
Isle of Lewis, Iceland, Bern and the Yukon: These places wouldn’t be targets, but they would have to contend with a 5 year nuclear winter of 24 hour dark skies and intense fallout radiation. Not good places.
The key here is that these horrible weapons are built for deterrent. Nobody wants to use them, there would be no winner. And with the safeguards in place it is highly unlikely responsible nations would accidently launch a nuclear attack. However, there is rogue countries with the bomb like North Korea, and to a lesser extent Pakistan. Kim Jong-Um is a very deranged and scary individual. He could do anything. Another concern is if terrorists would get their hands on a weapon. There would not be any second thoughts by those radical extremists to try and use a bomb.
The infamous World War II German Tiger tank was a very formidable battle machine. To destroy one, it would take three to four US Sherman tanks to attack it from behind. How would that beast compare with a modern U.S. M1-Abrams main battle tank?
Abrams left and Tiger
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Wars||World War II|
Henschel & Son
|Unit cost||250,800 RM|
|Specifications (RfRuK VK 4501H Ausf.E, Blatt: G-330)|
|Weight||54 tonnes (60 short tons)|
|Length||6.316 m (20 ft 8.7 in)
8.45 m (27 ft 9 in) gun forward
|Width||3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)|
|Height||3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)|
|Armour||25–120 mm (0.98–4.72 in)|
|1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
|2× 7.92 mm MG 34
|Engine||Maybach HL230 P45 V-12
700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
|Power/weight||13 PS/t (9.6 kW/t)|
|Ground clearance||0.47 m (1 ft 7 in)|
|Fuel capacity||540 L (140 US gal) including reserve|
|110–195 km (68–121 mi)|
|Speed||45.4 km/h (28.2 mph)|
Gun range: 1,100 meters
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Wars||Persian Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
War on ISIL
Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
|Designer||Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems)|
|Manufacturer||Lima Army Tank Plant (since 1980)
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (1982–1996)
|Unit cost||US$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99) Estimated in 2016 as US$8.92 million (with inflation adjustment)|
|Weight||M1: 60 short tons (54 t)
M1A1: 63 short tons (57 t)
M1A2: 72 short tons (65 t)
|Length||Gun forward: 32.04 ft (9.77 m)
Hull length: 26.02 ft (7.93 m)
|Width||12 ft (3.66 m)|
|Height||8 ft (2.44 m)|
|Crew||4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)|
|Armor||M1, M1A1: Burlington composite armor
M1A1HA, M1A2: depleted uranium mesh-reinforced composite armor
|M1: 105 mm L/52 M68 rifled gun (55 rounds)
M1A1: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (40 rounds)
M1A2: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (42 rounds)
|1 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2HB heavy machine gun with 900 rounds
2 × 7.62 mm (.308 in) M240 machine guns with 10,400 rounds (1 pintle-mounted, 1 coaxial)
|Engine||Honeywell AGT1500C multi-fuel turbine engine
1,500 shp (1,120 kW)
|Power/weight||From 26.9 hp/t (20.05 kW/t) to 23.8 hp/t (17.74 kW/t)|
|Transmission||Allison DDA X-1100-3B|
|Suspension||High-hardness-steel torsion bars with rotary shock absorbers|
|Ground clearance||M1, M1A1: 0.48 m (1 ft 7 in)
M1A2: 0.43 m (1 ft 5 in)
|Fuel capacity||500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal)|
|M1A2: 426 km (265 mi)|
|Speed||M1A1: Road 45 mph (72 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 30 mph (48 km/h)
M1A2: Road 42 mph (67 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 25 mph (40 km/h)
Popsci.com May, 2016
Birthed into the sky with all the fanfare of a soda bottle pop, the drone swarm took flight from its metallic silos. One drone every second, until the whole swarm is airborne. Pop, pop, pop, this is the future of war, according to the Office of Naval Research.
“LOw-Cost Unmanned aerial vehicle Swarming Technology”, or LOCUST, as the program is known, is an evocative acronym, immediately bringing to mind biblical retribution against Pharaoh and countless other famines wrecked by the flying, grain-hungry insects.
The military program is modestly less sinister. It’s lots of small drones, folded up into tubes, and then put into the sky to cover and scout an area together. For decades, America has fielded aircraft more expensive than the weapons used to knock them out of the sky. One solution to this, and that favored largely by the Air Force, is stealthy planes, which are much harder for anti-air missiles to hit. Another option, which is growing on the Air Force and which the Navy demonstrates here, is instead to throw lots of smaller, cheaper robots into the sky, with a single human controlling them from afar, and let the enemy waste expensive anti-air missiles on drones, while redundant swarm members complete the mission.
We’ve seen this swarm demonstrated before. The latest video, released by the Office of Naval Research yesterday, shows a refinement of the technology, and curiously leaves out the tactical simulation, where some swarm drones turn into weapons and blow up targets on the ground. That may be missing from the video below, but it’s still very much part of the future plans for machines like this.