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Expert Explains How President Would Give Order For Nuclear Attack

Dominic Smithers

Published 

Expert Explains How President Would Give Order For Nuclear Attack

Featured Image Credit: PA

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the US President attempted to launch a nuclear missile strike on an enemy?

The films often depict this terrifying scenario as something simple: the flick of a switch.

Thankfully, it's much more detailed than that, with numerous safeguards put in place to prevent any trigger happy leader from going wild and kickstarting Armageddon.

So what's the craic? Well, an expert from the Titan Missile Museum Tour in Sahuarita, Arizona, has given the low down on exactly what happens when a president wants to give the order for a nuclear strike.

In a video shared on YouTube, the guide can be seen giving a talk in a military station, with two volunteers helping demonstrate the process.

He says: "Now, wherever the President travels, he has an aide that travels with him who carries around a little briefcase called a 'football'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"Now, let's just for the sake of argument say, 'Well, the President has decided that it's time for us to retaliate', what he's going to do is send a coded [inaudible] from that football to the War Room at the White House.

"That message will then get transferred to us from one of two sources: SAC headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska, 15th Air Force, Riverside, California."

He then explains that a warning sound will then be set off, with the commander and their deputy given a handbook each.

Another siren will then sound, this time with a coded message, which the two officers must transcribe to their handbooks - checking each other's work to make sure they're correct.

If so, they then have the authority to open something called the 'go to war safe', which only they are able to open.

They then have to open an envelope which corresponds with the first two digits from the coded message they heard, pulling out a cookie that matches the final five digits.

Credit: YouTube
Credit: YouTube

"If they exactly agree, this is not a drill," he says.

"We now know we have an authenticated order from the President of the United States that we're gonna launch our nuclear weapon."

The deputy will then write out the set time for the launch, which is also embedded in the message.

But that's not it. The tour guide explains that the 'most important' safety feature to avoid an unauthorised rocket launch is something called the 'butterfly valve'.

Four of them are used for the fuel and oxygen lines, and must be unlocked in order for a successful launch.

To do so, a six-digit code must be entered exactly correct.

The final step is to extract a pair of launch keys, one for the commander and another for the deputy.

"These two keys, they're kind of like your car, they're spring loaded in he off position," he says.

"They must be turned within two seconds of each other and held for five seconds."

He then points to the panel with the keys, explaining: "See this first light over here, it's a green light that says 'launch enable'.

"When you turn those keys, that 'launch enable' light is gonna come on. And when that light comes on, you might as well say, 'Welcome to World War Three', because there is nothing you can do to stop it."

And 58 seconds later, the missile will have launched, with the target hit around 35 minutes after that.

Topics: us military, War, White House, US Politics, US News, US President, Technology

Dominic Smithers
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