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Nuclear Parts Sent To Taiwan In Error
Old 03-26-2008, 08:07 AM   #1
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Nuclear Parts Sent To Taiwan In Error

Oops... they ordered a helicopter battery and got a fuse for a Minuteman nuclear warhead instead. I hate it when this happens. It occurred in 2006, and Taiwan has been trying to return the fuse ever since.

Having worked on the Minuteman when I was active duty, I can just imagine the conversations back and forth. Bet there's a whole lot of 'splaining going on and DD Forms being dug up.

washingtonpost.com
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Is this a Tempest in a Teapot?
Old 03-26-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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Is this a Tempest in a Teapot?

My understanding is that this was an electronic part from a 60's/70's era weapons system. It wasn't a nuclear trigger (a small nuclear bomb), or a nuclear weapon. It was very old technology. The media loves to scare us (or we wouldn't listen to them) by constantly talking about nuclear weapons, when no nuclear material was involved.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougViages View Post
My understanding is that this was an electronic part from a 60's/70's era weapons system. It wasn't a nuclear trigger (a small nuclear bomb), or a nuclear weapon. It was very old technology. The media loves to scare us (or we wouldn't listen to them) by constantly talking about nuclear weapons, when no nuclear material was involved.
Scare Tactics maybe.

This sort of reminds me of the so called WMD's in Iraq (which we never found)and the contentions by Rice and others about the mushroom clouds & the fathom nukes.

Maybe what happened is that DOD shipped Taiwan a $500 toilet seat and this is a way for them to save face.

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Old 03-26-2008, 09:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougViages View Post
My understanding is that this was an electronic part from a 60's/70's era weapons system. It wasn't a nuclear trigger (a small nuclear bomb), or a nuclear weapon. It was very old technology. The media loves to scare us (or we wouldn't listen to them) by constantly talking about nuclear weapons, when no nuclear material was involved.
Well, yes and no. I didn't mean to imply this was a nuclear trigger. It was, as you say, an electronic part that controls the process to set off the nuclear trigger. But let's not underestimate the seriousness of this screwup. Yes, this is 60s technology, but the whole Minuteman system is 60s and 70s technology. And those electronics are part of the code system that is one of the most highly classified portions of any military system, especially nuclear ones. In some ways, release of codes or coding systems is almost more dangerous than release of the nukes themselves.

So, here's hoping some heads will roll over this and that procedures are tightened. After all, this is the second incident in a year, remember the six warheads flying around on the B52?
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