Saturday, January 11, 2014 3:46:45 PM
I was a Radioman on a Trident Class submarine the USS Michigan SSBN 727 (B). We would get msgs called EAMs (Emergency Action Messages) telling us to launch or mostly to set condition 4SQ for training. The training would simulate spinning up and launching all missiles onboard. I know there were two keys to the console in MCC. The captain had one, and the weapons officer had the other. There was no way one person could launch missiles a lone anyway. Ship has to be at a certain speed, and depth. Plus the CO and Weps were not actually the ones actually launching missiles. There is a lot of crap you see in movies , but nuclear weapons and the safety with them, is taking very seriously. So much goes into a launch, that it's impossible for it to "just happen."
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12:56:59 AM
I don't know how the Air Force did it, but in the Navy, there were no codes [other than the coded radio messages].
It did take 4 separate combinations [to get into the various safes] and 16 different keys [to arm the ejection motors], then the coordinated efforts of the 22 people on the launch team [in 4 strategic locations] as well as every hand on board running the ship smoothly, for us to rain nuclear death across eastern Europe in under 20 minutes.
Monday, January 6, 2014 10:37:45 PM
You have to remember the US military strategy of the day. The risk of not being able to destroy the world was much more frightening to military planners than the risk of accidentally destroying the world. This philosophy is carried through to all aspects of SAC. It was a frickin' hair trigger.
The Russian approach was to make sure no rogue faction could start a war without a nod from the top. Much safer.