B-52 Prep for Release Checklist
Copyright 2023 by Michael H. Maggelet
A blog reader asked if I had a copy of the release sequence for the B-52 in relation to the 1961 Goldsboro Broken Arrow involving two Mark 39 weapons, so I dug up this document from the archives. It should be noted that over the decades, the nuclear safety rules varied slightly with changes in equipment, so the basic procedures will differ slightly.
Excerpt from "Joint Task Force 8, Ad Hoc Group for Nuclear Safety, Technical Nuclear Safety of Project Dominic, B-52 Airdrops, 26 February 1962". Declassified from "Secret".
Monday, November 20, 2023
B-52 Prep for Release Checklist
Friday, September 29, 2023
US Should Retain B83 Bomb
Copyright 2023 by Michael H. Maggelet
The B83 strategic bomb, first deployed to FB-111 bases in mid 1984 (and later to SAC B-52's), was derived from the B77 thermonuclear bomb. I worked on the first mod of the B83, and since it was a newly deployed modern weapon, there wasn't much maintenance to perform internally. There were several retrofits accomplished just as I arrived at my new base, and the B83 was a welcome arrival compared to the B43 bomb which had been in the stockpile since 1960.
I won't go into the technical details regarding the B83, only to say that it was quite easy to maintain compared to the labor intensive B43, and made our operations much easier since it contained insensitive high explosive (and it was more versatile for strike aircraft). 
Statements by detractors that the B83 has "too high a yield" are laughable, since the bomb has selectable yields for a variety of targets. 
Given the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean emphasis on building command posts and other high value targets in mountains and in heavily reinforced underground complexes, the US only has a limited number of weapons to destroy these targets. In addition, the B61-11 bomb has an earth penetrating capability. These weapons can only be delivered by the B-2, since nuclear gravity bombs were recently removed from B-52H's.
While some portion of the ICBM and SLBM force can attack and possibly neutralize some underground facilities, the use of low yield SLBM warheads and air launched cruise missiles cannot be successfully used to destroy deeply buried underground complexes with surface bursts.
1. "Nuclear Weapon Characteristics Handbook" by Sandia National Laboratories, September 1990. Declassified/sanitized from "Secret/Restricted Data", p. 77.
2. Low yield option discussed by General C. Robert Kehler during the "Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, 113th Congress, 1st Session, October 29, 2013".
B83 load shapes maintained by the author and other 463X0 personnel at Plattsburgh AFB, NY in the mid '80's (photo FB-111A.net).
Copyright 2019 by M. H. Maggelet
Time and again we read stories about Soviet officers performing their internationalist and progressive duties, and in the face of overwhelming imperialist hegemony and provocation, they manage to save the world from a nuclear holocaust and restore collective peace and international justice, etc. That’s what the Left wing press would have us believe. As we used to say in the military, it’s pure “Bravo Sierra”.
As with other world nuclear forces, a single individual cannot authorize the launch of a nuclear weapon. It takes many individuals, ranging from security forces to authentication codes, to access nuclear weapons or to initiate the nuclear release process of a combat ready nuclear weapon system.
Such was the case during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Soviet submarine B-59 (Project 641, NATO Foxtrot class) was detected by US anti-submarine forces and eventually surfaced after her batteries ran down. Just prior to surfacing, conditions inside the sub were extremely difficult with equipment breakdowns, and temperatures reaching 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Several senior officers lost their bearing and argued about using a nuclear torpedo on board the sub (likely a 53-58 T-5 with RDS-9 warhead, 3 or 9 kilotons) on circling US destroyers. One Soviet officer aboard B-59, Vadim Orlov, recorded the incident, and notes Captain Savitsky angrily ordered the assembly of the torpedo to combat readiness, which takes a minimum of three individuals (team chief, and at least two team members to perform mechanical and final assembly tasks). Additionally, a KGB officer (and communist party representative) were on board, having the final word on preparing nuclear weapons for launch.
There were at least two versions of the RDS-9 warhead for the T-5, one mod with an internal neutron initiator that required extra steps for installation into the physics package, and a “sealed pit” version. Additionally, a nuclear armed torpedo would also have to be loaded into the tube, another time consuming task with a 24 foot long, 4400 pound weapon.
The story has been skewed by many in the media and the Left wing press, which continually ignore the facts regarding the incident. Orlov writes that after several moments, cooler heads prevailed and Second Captain V.A. Arkhipov and Deputy Political Officer I. S. Maslennnikov persuaded the captain to surface.
The story doesn’t end there of course, as some anti-nuclear activists have promoted a Soviet officer named Stanlislav Petrov with another glorious internationalist task of “saving the world” in 1983. Lt. Col Petrov was a duty officer in charge of an air defence (PVO-Strany) command center, which was alerted by orbiting Molniya early warning satellites of a missile launch towards the Soviet Union. Petrov ignored the indications, which were later proven erroneous. However, once the Left wing press learned of the incident after 1998, he was showered with awards from activist groups.
A statement released by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN noted that multiple sources are used to confirm an attack- “Under no circumstances a decision to use nuclear weapons could be made or even considered in the Soviet Union or in the United States on the basis of data from a single source or a system. For this to happen, a confirmation is necessary from several systems: ground based radars, early warning satellites, intelligence reports, etc.”
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Air Force Times
Washington, D.C.- 1 April 2023
The U.S. Air Force announced today that the special military operation conducted by General Merrill McPeak in the '90's resulting in changes to U.S. Air Force regulations, specialty codes, and uniforms will be reverted to the 1986 era.
This move, designed to improve morale, will be implemented immediately and will revert all Air Force Instructions back to "Regulations", which were in place since the end of WWII. Additionally, Air Force airmen, totally confused about ever changing annual physical testing requirements, will now have to run a mile and a half at least once a year, or walk a mile and a half at a brisk pace while smoking a cigarette.
While the new Occupational Camouflage Pattern uniform has been lauded by many, there are new changes afoot. Instead of insignia being "spice brown", it will be "pumpkin spice brown". Due to the negative connotations of the term "coyote", parts of the uniform will now be described as "Labrador Brown" or "Dark Brown Kitty Cat" (depending on personal preference). At no time will such color schemes be refered to as "Ginger" or "Bill D. Cat".
Patrol caps will now include a ventilation hole at the rear of the cap for man-buns (or ponytails).
The instructions/regulations for moustaches (for men, or whatever) will be dependent on specific duties. For example, fighter pilots may be permitted to wear the "Colonel Robin Olds" pattern, however Guy Fawkes, Navy SEAL goatee's, '70's porn 'staches, and "tacticool" beards will be permitted for the rank and file.
On the matter of flight suits and leather jackets, anyone who has ever seen an airplane may be permitted to wear these uniform items. However, aviator sunglasses will be limited to actual aviators.
As for Air Force Specialty Codes, the Air Force Intelligence Agency has determined that adversary nations have finally cracked the current AF specialty codes and badges dating from the McPeak era, and since no historical documentation exists on Air Force websites and on Google, the Air Force will revert to the 1950's era AFSC's with additional shredouts for REMF's, Homesteaders, Ticket Punchers, and "Nonner's".
Finally, the Air Force intends to spend millions of dollars researching the conversion of non-covert velcro closures on the OCP uniform to silent button closures (as was the case on the previous OG-107, OG-507, and Woodland BDU uniforms).
Tactical Velcro Opening Secret
Space Force; FLOTUS Designs Space Force Uniforms
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Could The Moskva Have Been Carrying Nuclear Weapons? Possibly.
Copyright 17 April 2022 by Michael H. Maggelet
The recent sinking of the Russian Federation Navy flagship Moskva (formerly the “Slava”, i.e. Glory in Russian) has brought concerns by some in the media that the warship may have been carrying nuclear weapons.
possibility exists that the ship may have been carrying nuclear
weapons, however there are no public announcements made by NATO
countries, which likely have surveyed the area of Moskva’s sinking
in the Black Sea.
Aerial sniffer aircraft, such as the USAF WC-135W, are equipped to monitor the atmosphere for radionuclides, and media claims of Turkish and Romanian rescue ships rescuing at least 50 Russian naval personnel have yet to be verified. Losses on the Moskva may number in the hundreds.
At this time, there is no evidence that the Moskva used her defensive systems (flares, chaff) and anti-aircraft missiles and guns. Also, note that apparently two missiles hit the ship; more than two may have been fired in order to overwhelm defenses (along with other measures).
Project 1164 "Atlant" and NATO "Slava" class, now known as the "Moskva" class (source-RussianShips.info)
The location of the attack was near 45 deg 10 min N, 30 deg 55 min E. At the time of this writing, several Russian ships were in the vicinity of the sinking (as reported by naval blogger H.I. Sutton). The depth of the sinking is around 50 meters (164 feet).
It should be noted that US and NATO surface vessels do not carry nuclear weapons, while the Russian Federation still retains at least 1800 tactical nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
the fact the Moskva was heavily armed with sixteen liquid fueled
surface to surface missiles, sixty-four surface to air missiles, RPK-6 anti-submarine rockets, dozens of RBU-6000
anti-submarine rockets, and possibly depth bombs (not to mention CIWS
and cannon), a hull penetrating hit by ordnance such as the R-360 Neptune with a 330 pound warhead could have been initially
Additionally, Russian nuclear weapons are undoubtably one point safe, meaning a one point detonation of the warhead high explosive will not produce a nuclear yield.
The Moskva could carry the following Russian nuclear weapon systems-
P-1000 Vulkan (SS-N-12 Sandbox)- 350 Kt.
RPK-6 Vodopod (SS-N-16 Stallion)- 200 Kt.
Nuclear depth bombs for the Ka-27 helicopter.
for ordnance- militaryrussia.ru)
Attacks on warships using artillery and iron bombs were not uncommon during the Cold War era. During the Viet Nam war, several US warships were hit by North Vietnamese MiG-17s and shore artillery batteries, at some times leading to extensive damage and fatalities.
One case was the USS Ozbourn (DD-846), patrolling off the DMZ Viet Nam on 25 March 1967. The ship was stationary in the fog, and as morning light highlighted the ships mast, North Vietnamese shore batteries opened fire hitting the ship twice. At least one round hit the ASROC storage compartment, seriously damaging several conventional and nuclear armed ASROCs.
The most serious nuclear weapons accidents to date at sea include the loss of the USS Scorpion in 1968, loss of the Soviet submarine K-129 in 1968, K-8 submarine in 1970, K-219 in 1986, and K-278 in 1989. These accidents are covered in detail in "Broken Arrow, Volume II" by yours truly and the late James C. Oskins.
Friday, April 1, 2022
“This is a practice that is long overdue, and we need change” stated Colonel Rike Moades, noting that in the early days of the nuclear weapons field, weapon components were known by their drawing number and a long name. For instance, the H-12 Handtruck, first developed and used in 1950 with the Mark 4 bomb as the “Cartridge Dolly”, continues to be used with the B83 bomb.
“It's probably a good idea to change uniforms, rank insignia, awards and decorations, etc., well, just because”. Moades cited the exemplary leadership of retired Air Force general Merrill McPeak for his redesign of the US Air Force “dress blues”, changes to regulations as “instructions”, and US Army general Eric Shinseki's brave decision to make every soldier “elite” with black berets. Moades also noted that such a move will also likely confuse adversary nations and anti-nuclear groups, who along with active duty and retired airmen, can't figure out how munitions squadrons fall under "logistics".
As an example, the B61 bomb would be renamed the AGM-61 BWPABFABMC, or “Bomb Which Produces A Big Fireball And Big Mushroom Cloud”.
Some components and terms would remain the same, since no one can figure out the history of them anyway, and outsiders are unaware of certain terms, Moades stated. This includes the terms “Group X Kit”, “interlocking slide fastener”, “zipper”, and “fuze”.
Technical orders would also undergo a fundamental change, combining all the service branch nomenclature into one TO. For example, TP-35-51 would not be referred to as the “Bible” of the 2W2/463 career field, but the “Codex Maximus” and TMSWOPTO 35-51.
Weapons related tech orders would also undergo a significant change, being referred to as “The Book of Armaments” technical series.
Germany To Start Rationing Beer