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 Dead Hand Soviet Nuclear trigger 
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Post Dead Hand Soviet Nuclear trigger
There have been numerous speculations about the notorious "Dead Hand", developed by the former Soviet Union to counter a nuclear attack by the United States, even when all political and military Soviet leaders would be knocked out by an initial attack. Books and many papers are written about the subject by all kinds of "experts", but they all had one common flaw: they were all based on assumptions.

September last year, the National Security Archive published previously classified 1995 interviews with many important former Soviet military and political decision makers. In one of the interviews, Vitalii Leonidovich Kataev, former Senior Advisor to the Central Committee Defense Industry Department (now Defense Department), talks about the real "Dead Hand".

The "Dead Hand" is one of two trigger systems on a system of Command Missiles. These missiles are well concealed and extremely well protected missiles, deployed near clusters of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos. Once launched into near space, they transmit launch orders to the clusters of ICBM's they are assigned to. This enables the automated launch of a large numbers of ICBM's, even when military command is disabled by a U.S. nuclear attack

As said, there are two ways these Command Missiles might be launched or 'triggered'. The first one is by central control, when an enemy attack is detected but there's no time left for normal launch procedures (read: when the nukes strike Soviet soil it will be too late, so hit the button). The second way is the notorious "Dead Hand", which is only operational when the decision makers unblock a no-fire mechanism at the center. From that moment on, the launch of a Command Missile is under control of numerous triggers. If the sensors register a flash, seismic shock, radiation or atmospheric density, the Command Missile is launched and in turn will launch its cluster of ICBM's. You can read about the Dead Hand system in the Kataev interview.


Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:47 am
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