Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the category “Other stuff”

French nuclear weapon inventory in 2019.

070723-N-6524M-004 by cryogenic666 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Mediterranean Sea (July 23, 2007)– A French Rafale M combat aircraft performs a catapult-assisted launch from the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The Rafale is the first French aircraft to both launch and recover on an American carrier. U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris. Image released by LT Mark C. Jones, PAO CVN 65.

For an overview of France’s nuclear weapons consider the document French nuclear forces, 2019 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Their preferred citation is: Hans M. Kristensen & Matt Korda (2019) French nuclear forces, 2019, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 75:1, 51-55, DOI: 10.1080/00963402.2019.1556003.

The bulk of their nuclear inventory is submarine based with a small number of land-based fighters and a smaller number of carrier-based fighters.

Strategy

France’s defense policy is their nuclear weapons are for “legitimate self-defense.”  They have not adopted a no-first-use policy and reserve the right for a limited strike as a “final warning” that they will defend themselves.

SLBMs and SSBNs

France has four Triomphant-class nuclear powered submarines. One of these SSBNs is always on patrol, a second is getting ready to go on patrol, another has returned from patrol, and the final one is in maintenance. Article says each sub patrol is approximately 70 days.

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Alert status and comparison of US and Soviet strategic arsenals in 1990.

A B-1B Lancer deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., prepares for a mission at Andersen AFB, Guam, Nov. 16, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

Previous posts listed the strategic nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. in 1990.

This discussion will compare the total inventories and then calculate my wild guesses for weapons on daily alert.

Full disclosure: Back in the bad old days of the Cold War, I was a tiny little cog in the ICBM forces listed below.

Here is a comparison of total inventory for each country:

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Airplane photos: P-38 edition

Nice photos of P-38 Lightning, courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

 

OVER VIRGINA — Steve Hinton flies “Glacier Girl,” a P-38 Lightning dug out from 268 feet of ice in eastern Greenland in 1992. The aircraft was part of a heritage flight during an air show at Langley Air Force Base, Va., on May 21. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker). Last I knew, “Glacier Girl” resides at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California

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Why all these discussions of nuclear weapons, especially now?

LGM-30 Minuteman III
An LGM-30 Minuteman III missile soars in the air after a test launch. (U.S. Air Force photo) No date provided or further attribution attached to photo.

Been wondering why I’m continuing my posts on nuclear weapons? Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Here are the first few reasons that come to mind:

  • Life continues. All of us, especially me, need to continue on with our lives. The current pandemic is going to be with us for a short while. There will be an echo in the next flu season. This COVID-19 bug is going to be around for a long time. We need to keep living.

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Inventory and accuracy of Soviet nuclear weapons in 1990.

 

In my research on nuclear armaments came across a superb resource: Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

(Update 4/2/20: Title of post revised.)

The book has lots of articles from the early 1980s through 1991. I bought the book especially for one specific article in 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. The gold mine in that article was a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. It gives a detailed listing of U.S. and Soviet land, submarine, and air based strategic weapons, including count, yield, equivalent megaton, and circular error probable (CEP). Lots of info I’ve been seeking for a long time.

The previous post gave info on US weapons. This post describes the Soviet inventory. Third post will make some comparisons.

First I’ll give my recap of the info and then do a little analysis.  Width limits on web pages mean there will be multiple tables.

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Inventory and accuracy of U.S. nuclear weapons in 1990.

USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) returning to port on 2/1/91, but exact date is in doubt. Sub was in service from 1964 through 1992. Photo taken by U.S. Government employee in course of assigned duties so it is in the public domain.

Came across a superb resource during my research on nuclear armaments: Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

(Update 4/2/20: Title of post revised.)

The book has articles from the early 1980s through 1991. Lots of good stuff.  I bought the book especially for one article from 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. The gold mine in that article was a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. It gives a detailed listing of U.S. and Soviet land, submarine, and air based strategic weapons, including count, yield, equivalent megaton, and circular error probable (CEP). Lots of info I’ve been looking for a long time.

Information in that table is credited to The Military Balance 1989-90. At a price of over $200 for the paperback, don’t think I’ll be buying my own copy.

This post will give info on US weapons. Next post will describe the Soviet inventory. Third post will make some comparisons.  Width limits on web pages mean there will be multiple tables.  Read more…

When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.

We will prevail. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?

When will the economy recover?

When will we be back to “normal?”

 

I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.

I have a suggestion for you.

 

Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.

What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?

Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.

Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.

I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.

For one explanation of the phenomenon he described check out article titled The Stockdale Paradox.

 

Who did not come home from captivity?

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Airplane photos: F-86 edition

Classic photos of the F-86 Sabre, all of which appear to be from the 1950s. Some have 1940s tag.

All of the following photos are courtesy of the U.S. Air Force photo website. Comments under each photo are from the USAF site. Current style is to identify where and when a photo was taken with specific mention of the photographer.  Attribution is a bit vague for these.

 

GUNNERY – ROCKETS AIRPLANES – NORTH AMERICAN F-86 “SABRE”. The F-86, the USAF’s first swept-wing jet fighter. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force, no further attribution.

 

Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, leads a three-ship F-86F Sabre formation during the Korean War in 1954. Col. Davis, a Tuskegee Airman, was one of the first African-American wing commanders. (Courtesy photo from United States Air Force; no further attribution)

 

Yeah, Ben Davis in flight. Cool, huh? How ’bout Chuck Yeager and Jackie Cochran on the ground?

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Airplane photos: Heritage Flight, #3

Final set of cool pictures of Heritage Flight presentations, all courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

A-10, P-51, F-16, and F-4:

An Air Force heritage flight consisting of a P-51 Mustang, an F-4 Phantom, an A-10 Thunderbolt and an F-16 Fighting Falcon fly over the Arizona desert on March 19 above Sadona. The flight was part of the events taking place in Phoenix for the first Air Force Week celebration of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

 

P-51 and F-15:

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Comments on US and Soviet arsenals in 1983 – #2

Rocket models by Robert Sullivan is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). Models are US LIM-491A Spartan (ABM, interceptor with 5 mt warhead), USSR ABM-1 Galosh (ABM, interceptor with 2 mt or 3 mt warhead), US Minuteman III ICBM, and USSR SS-9 ICBM.

The primary reason I bought Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today) is for one particular article: The nuclear arsenals of the US and USSR, by Barbara Levi, originally published in March 1983.

As mentioned elsewhere in this series of posts, a table in the article has been updated to reflect weapon inventory in 1990.

The article describes developments in 1983.

Previous post described the probability that various weapons would destroy a target hardened to the level of a Minuteman silo.

Equivalent Megatons

Article introduced to me a concept of equivalent megatons (EMT). When comparing effects of nuclear weapons at different yields the kiloton rating cannot be used. The relative destructive power varies based on the yield on megaton raised to the 2/3 power. The formula is: EMP = mt^(2/3) .

In the US, we have about 40% of our EMT on bombers, with another 40% of EMT on ICBM’s, with the remainder on submarines. Because of the smaller yield, about half of the count of weapons is on subs.

In the Soviet Union, about 80% of the EMT is in the ICBM force with about 15% on submarines and a mere 5% on bombers.

Article says that in 1983 about 50% of the US SSBNs ( nuclear missile armed subs, or boomers) were on patrol at a time while only about 15% of the Soviet boomers were at sea at any one moment.

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Airplane photos: Heritage Flight, #2

More cool pictures of Heritage Flight presentations, all courtesy of U.S. Air Force:

Nice view from underneath of two P-51s and an F-15, with great comparison of relative size. Notice space used for engine(s) for visual of relative power, with intake, engine, and exhaust of F-15 being about same length as an entire P-51:

An F-15 Eagle from the West Coast Demonstration Team and a pair of P-51 Mustangs fly in formation as part of a heritage flight May 1 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This is the final demonstration show for the F-15C, completing a 26-year career that began in 1983. The Air Combat Command team has performed more than 150 times around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Meares)

 

P-51, F-16, and F-15:

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Comments on US and Soviet nuclear arsenals in 1983 – #1

ICBM test contributes to continued deterrence
Second Lt. ___ ___, the 321st SMS deputy missile combat crew commander, and 1st Lt. ___ ___, the 321st SMS missile combat crew commander, simulate key turns of the Minuteman III weapon system during a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman test inside the launch control center at a missile alert facility in the 90th Missile Wing’s missile complex, Neb., April 11, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) SELM tests use actual equipment in the field to make sure the equipment in an LCC and an LF can work.

Came across a great resource on nuclear armaments as I browsed the web looking for some particular information. The book is Physics and Nuclear Arms Today (Readings from Physics Today)

It has lots of articles from the late 1970s through 1991. Reason I bought the book is for one specific article in 1983 dealing with US and Soviet nuclear forces. A table within that article was updated with a detailed inventory of strategic weaponry as of 1990. Several posts will discuss the 1990 inventory in detail.

Likelihood of destroying a hardened missile silo

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Reference points of big numbers from the banking industry

Concord coach, from the days when Wells Fargo was the gold standard of honesty and integrity. Painting of Old Town San Diego is visible at top. Photo at Wells Fargo’s San Diego museum by James Ulvog.

To provide reference points for really big numbers, I’ve been accumulating information from articles that describe big things.

An article in the Wall Street Journal gives some detail of the fourth quarter financial results for Wells Fargo: 1/14/20 – Wall Street Journal – Wells Fargo CEO: A Wonderful Bank That Made ‘Some Terrible Mistakes’.

Top-line Revenue for 4th quarter:

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Airplane photos: Heritage Flight, #1

Some cool pictures of Heritage Flight presentations, all courtesy of U.S. Air Force:, with two more sets of photos to follow:

Superb profiles of P-51, F-15, and A-10 with great comparison of size of WWII and modern fighters:

A P-51 Mustang, an F-15 Eagle and an A-10 Thunderbolt II, fly the heritage formation over “The Show of Force 2007, From Heritage to Horizons Air Show” at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., March 24. The show was part of Air Force Week, a week-long event designed to highlight the amazing things the Air Force is doing around the globe and to show appreciation to the local community for its support. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

 

A great age span – F-86 (Korea), P-38 (World War II), F-4 (Vietnam and Cold War), and A-10 (Cold War, Global War on Terror):

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Deserter from U.S. Air Force in 1983 was convicted at general court-martial, dismissed from service, and spent a short time in prison.

William Howard Hughes, Jr. (U.S. Air Force photo)

 

William H. Hughes, Jr., also known as Barry “Tim” O’Beirne deserted from the U.S. Air Force in 1983. He was found in 2018, arrested, tried by a general court martial, then convicted on September 5, 2018. He was dismissed from service and given a reprimand. He also spent 45 days in prison.

On October 8, 2019 the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction.

At the end of this post, I’ll ponder the severity of the sentence.

The disgraced former-officer, now-felon is William H. Hughes, Jr.

He had been hiding for 35 years under the assumed name of Barry “Tim” O’Beirne.

Previous post provides more detail on Deserter from the U.S. Air Force apprehended and tried.

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