Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Glitch takes nukes offline

(F. E. WARREN AFB, Wyo.) -- About 50 nuclear missiles at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming went offline for about 45 minutes during the weekend. The missiles were taken offline while Air Force officers tried to correct a hardware glitch that had some of the missiles pinging incorrect messages.

Officials stress that there was no compromise in security nor in the launch capability of the missiles, and that President Obama could have launched the missiles if he needed to. Officials added that nothing was compromised because there are many ways in which the missiles can be launched.

WASHINGTON - A computer glitch took 50 U.S. nuclear inter-continental ballistic missiles offline for 45 minutes on Oct. 23, a Pentagon official said.

The problem was apparently a hardware malfunction, said the official, an Air Force officer with knowledge of the event who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Air Force Global Strike Command has 450 Minutemen III ICBMs in bases located in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Of these, there was a "communication disruption" in which the Air Force lost communication with 50 ICBMs located at F.E. Warren Air Force base in Wyoming.

"The whole episode lasted three-quarters of an hour," the officer said.

On Oct. 26, investigators discovered that similar incidents had happened at other sites more than a decade ago, so they are focusing on the hardware.

"It looks to be a mechanical problem with a particular part," the officer said.

"As soon as it happened, there was a security check of every missile site" - by video camera and in person - "and there was no apparent damage to any equipment."

"We have no indication of any malicious or intentional activity that would have caused this - it looks to be mechanical," the officer said.

The other squadrons with 50 missiles each at Warren were unaffected, as were the 300 ICBMs at the Montana and North Dakota bases, the officer said.

Aside from the 450 land-based nuclear missiles, the U.S. military can also deliver nuclear missiles from airplanes or launch them from submarines.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the event early Oct. 27 - after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, CBS News reported.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin