The Soviet Missile Warning Officer Who Did His Job

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

In 1983, things were more tense, nuclear-wise, than they are today.

So it’s interesting to read about the Stanislav Petrov story, the man who the headline claims avoided global nuclear war.

As a missile guy and a missile warning guy, Petrov points out a several interesting items that no doubt helped ease him into his “no launch” call:

The Soviet space-based missile warning system was known to be flawed.

The system showed one missile inbound. Why would the U.S. launch one missile?  Answer: they wouldn’t.

The ground based radar showed nothing.  Dual-phenomenology is good.

Don’t expect any interest in the fact the event was caused by an equipment problem and the “crisis” was artificially created by the ghosts in the Soviet’s missile warning machines.  Instead it’s all breathless talk about how World War III was narrowly avoided.

The lessons?  Strategic warning precedes tactical warning; sound professional judgment rules the day; space and ground based sensors are useful and complimentary; no one other than Iran or North Korea would fight a nuclear war with one ICBM; your missile warning is only as good as your missile warning equipment.


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