[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V2 #64

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (10/14/84)

From: Moderator <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 2 : Issue 64
Today's Topics:

		Reliability of Nuclear Deterrent (3 msgs)  
		Subject: Peace in 2010


Date: 10 October 1984 18:36-EDT
From: Herb Lin <LIN @ MIT-MC>
Subject:  Reliability of Nuclear Deterrent
To: ihnp4!utzoo!henry @ UCB-VAX

    From: ihnp4!utzoo!henry at Berkeley

    ..the USAF has *never* successfully fired a Minuteman missile from a normal
    operational silo.  They fire them all the time from special test silos at
    Vandenberg, but they had so many failures trying to test-fire from a
    standard silo that they gave up on it!!!  Good Ghod...

I used to believe this too, until it was pointed out that a successful
test flight of a MM from an operational silo might well result in the
filing of multi-megabuck lawsuits -- "Well, I don't know what happened
-- this big thing just crashed down from the sky and hit my barn."
What would you do with the first stage?

This isn't to say that I believe the stories to be untrue, just that
there are other good reasons for not test-firing from operational


Date: 11 Oct 84 18:14:47 CDT (Thu)
Subject:  Reliability of Nuclear Deterrent

My point was not that they've never fired from a silo at, say, Minot; of
course they can't do that.  Among other reasons, the lower stages would
fall on a friendly foreign country (Canada, remember?).  The failed tests
I referred to were at Vandenberg.  The key fact is that operational silos
are built differently from the test-firing silos that are in routine use at
Vandenberg.  They did build a standard operational-readiness silo there
for final tests of the whole system; they had so many failures that they
gave up.  In other words, nobody has ever demonstrated that the standard
operational silo design *WORKS*!


Date: 11 October 1984 20:26-EDT
From: Herb Lin <LIN @ MIT-MC>
Subject:  Reliability of Nuclear Deterrent
To: ihnp4!utzoo!henry @ UCB-VAX

I'm confused; the source you cited in your first msg (Fallows) doesn't
address the issue at all except to say that MM has not been fired from
an operational silo.  Your second msg says they did build an
operational silo at Vandenburg, where they tried and gave up.  Please
state your source for this statement.

I agree with your key point: MM has not been tested from operational


Date: Thu, 11 Oct 84 10:57:14 cdt
From: "Walter G. Rudd" <rudd%lsu.csnet@csnet-relay.arpa>
To: ARMS-D@mit-mc.csnet
Subject: Peace in 2010

The most likely scenario for peace in 2010 is that the nuclear winter will
have made it impossible for anyone left (if anyone is left) to wage war.

[End of ARMS-D Digest]