March Field Air Museum has three, count ’em, three of the magnificent F-4 Phantom fighter jets on static display. Two of the three have gorgeous paint jobs, while one is looking a bit more ragged. All three a delight.
For your visual enjoyment, join me on a walk-around of the aircraft.
For years I’ve been looking for a table that illustrates the horrid effects of nuclear weapons. Have not seen anything that matched what I had in mind.
My poking around for information on this current series of nukes has led me to many places on the good ol’ net. After looking at several articles, I thought to check on Wikipedia. Guess what? Found a reasonable approximation of what I have been wanting.
The lesson from this data for those on active duty is that nuclear safety is imperative.
The lesson for the rest of us is that we and our leaders must strive to make sure nuclear weapons are never used.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yeah, Ben Davis in flight. Cool, huh? How ’bout Chuck Yeager and Jackie Cochran on the ground?
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.
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.