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Clash City Rocker

(3,404 posts)
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 09:50 AM Jul 2023

Russia's Nukes Probably Don't Work - Here's Why

When Russia’s military equipment in Ukraine proved second-rate, I suspected their nukes might not be operational, so I searched online and found this. I’m hoping someone here can confirm or disprove the numbers and the science in the article, since I’m unfamiliar with the source. I accidentally posted a fake story recently, and people here were good enough to call me out on it, thus showing one of the basic differences between Democrats and Republicans. So please let me know if this isn’t accurate. Thanks.

https://middleeasttransparent.com/en/russias-nukes-probably-dont-work-heres-why/

24 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Russia's Nukes Probably Don't Work - Here's Why (Original Post) Clash City Rocker Jul 2023 OP
It just takes one of their thousands to work. TheBlackAdder Jul 2023 #1
Yes. Sure no one wants to really ever ever find out if even one of thousands...works to mass murder. Alexander Of Assyria Jul 2023 #9
While a number of their ICBM's may be down, and I don't know if that's true or not, MarineCombatEngineer Jul 2023 #2
I don't think the hair-trigger world-ending all-out exchange of nukes... Silent3 Jul 2023 #6
Maybe, MarineCombatEngineer Jul 2023 #8
You forgot carp. niyad Jul 2023 #21
Oh yeah, MarineCombatEngineer Jul 2023 #24
The article acknowledges the concern that I had, which is that the tactical nukes... Silent3 Jul 2023 #3
This is what worries me about this conflict as well. GhostHunter22 Jul 2023 #13
The big Hydrogen ones would likely fail IbogaProject Jul 2023 #4
Almost all modern nukes need tritium sir pball Jul 2023 #15
To split hairs, radioactive tritium is "heavy heavy hydrogen" ... eppur_se_muova Jul 2023 #19
I was pointing people to the main issue IbogaProject Jul 2023 #22
I would reverse this question sarisataka Jul 2023 #5
Patriot and THAAD are mainly aimed at short and intermediate range ballistics missiles aren't they? GregariousGroundhog Jul 2023 #10
Yes, that is what they are designed for sarisataka Jul 2023 #11
We do not have the right orthoclad Jul 2023 #7
Read that the last time Russian nuke sites were checked they were rusty. Article is from 1997. sarcasmo Jul 2023 #12
Every word of this article strikes me as the absolute truth. Aristus Jul 2023 #14
Exactly, and the article was from 97, so imagine the wear over 26 years. sarcasmo Jul 2023 #18
They still use Windows 95. lpbk2713 Jul 2023 #16
That would be modern sarisataka Jul 2023 #17
That article fails to take one important thing into consideration ... priority. Angleae Jul 2023 #20
If even one functions properly, that's a disaster. roxybear Jul 2023 #23

TheBlackAdder

(28,351 posts)
1. It just takes one of their thousands to work.
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:04 AM
Jul 2023

.


They have almost 6000 warheads. If just 1% works, that's 60 areas nuked.

.

 

Alexander Of Assyria

(7,839 posts)
9. Yes. Sure no one wants to really ever ever find out if even one of thousands...works to mass murder.
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:49 AM
Jul 2023

Pro nuke crowd equivalent of duck and cover…nothing to see here, just a thousand maybe inert nukes! Wanna press the button?

MarineCombatEngineer

(12,706 posts)
2. While a number of their ICBM's may be down, and I don't know if that's true or not,
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:06 AM
Jul 2023

all it would take is one going off to start a nuclear war and the only "winners" would be cockroaches and Twinkies.

Silent3

(15,605 posts)
6. I don't think the hair-trigger world-ending all-out exchange of nukes...
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:47 AM
Jul 2023

...that we had to worry about during the Cold War is very likely any more.

The downside of that is that "small" nuclear attacks are more likely.

Silent3

(15,605 posts)
3. The article acknowledges the concern that I had, which is that the tactical nukes...
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:40 AM
Jul 2023

...are much more likely to be functional.

While the article says, "Fortunately, these are not 'civilization-ending' devices", that's not much comfort. Tactical nukes would still be devastating and demoralizing. Set off just one in the middle of Kyiv and that's a lot a dead Ukrainians and a lot of damage. Such devices can be smuggled into Ukraine quite easily and set off by surprise.

Even if Putin is crazy enough to resort to nukes, and they are reliably functional, I never imagined he'd go straight to a giant thermonuclear devices anyway.

 

GhostHunter22

(95 posts)
13. This is what worries me about this conflict as well.
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 12:03 PM
Jul 2023

Putin can and will do what Putin wants to do with very little in the way of resistance - if he uses a 'tactical' nuke as you laid out in Kyiv - what will Nato do? We can't just stay out of it and allow that kind of destruction to become the norm - we would be faced with a horrible choice, to actively get involved or not. Neither has anything close to a good outcome.

Not to mention that if he does it, then the Ukrainians will most certainly get their hands on some warheads and do the same in Moscow - such dangerous stuff.

And, of course if Putin does use those weapons he'll wait until August or September of 2024 to do so just so that it fucks with our election process as Biden will be forced to make a choice and no matter the what he does he will be vilified by the Right (and some on the Left), thereby giving the MSM more ammo to try to take him down some.

IbogaProject

(2,938 posts)
4. The big Hydrogen ones would likely fail
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:41 AM
Jul 2023

But their tactical ones are standard explosive detonated ones. Basically the Hydrogen bombs use fusion and the heavy hydrogen used decays and is valuable so it has likely been diverted to other uses by the oligarchs. The non Hydrogen ones are just fission and those I'd guess have longer shelf life. They work by a set of timed explosives push the fission fuel together to make a runaway atomic reaction, and instead of containing it, it just blows up. I don't know if the Soviets ever made neutron bombs, which just spew short lasting radiation and leave little long lasting radiation.

sir pball

(4,805 posts)
15. Almost all modern nukes need tritium
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 12:47 PM
Jul 2023

Even relatively small tactical warheads use a process called "boosting" where a small amount of tritium is injected into the uranium core; at detonation it undergoes fusion which, while not adding directly to the explosive power, provides a ton of neutrons that increase the amount of uranium that fissions. A boosted weapon without the tritium will still fire, but the yield will be vastly reduced; our variable-yield warheads have a minimum yield of 300 tons which is speculated to be the plain, unboosted yield. It would still be a nightmare, that's a big enough boom plus the contamination, but it wouldn't even level a city block.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosted_fission_weapon

eppur_se_muova

(36,361 posts)
19. To split hairs, radioactive tritium is "heavy heavy hydrogen" ...
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 11:15 PM
Jul 2023

Deuterium is "heavy hydrogen".

Chemists and Physicists just say deuterium or tritium (and occasionally, when appropriate, protium).

IbogaProject

(2,938 posts)
22. I was pointing people to the main issue
Thu Jul 20, 2023, 08:46 AM
Jul 2023

I hadn't heard about how deuterium or tritium were added to the non "hydrogen" ones. I had heard about this maintenance issue the early part of the conflict. And how deuterium and tritium have value in the science world, which makes an extra angle for corruption.

sarisataka

(19,421 posts)
5. I would reverse this question
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:43 AM
Jul 2023
Do you believe, knowing what we know now, that the Russian military is diligently keeping ALL of these bombs in peak operating condition?


Do you believe, knowing what we know now, that the Russian military has neglected these bombs to the point we are will to risk that they ALL will fail?

The author also points to US defenses such as the Patriot which has stopped Kinzhal missiles in Ukraine. There are two problems with this example.

First, shooting down a Kinzhal is very different from shooting down an ICBM. Speed, altitude, multiple warheads are all factors which make ICBMs much harder to intercept. Just because a double barrel shotgun can bring down a duck, that doesn't mean it can shoot down an aircraft.

Second while the US has some systems theoretically effective against ICBMs to varying degrees, has anyone seen a Patriot or THAAD set up near their hometown?

The fact is there currently is no system made that can reliably intercept ICBMs. The few systems that have the potential capability are set up in the most at risk locations, few of which are in the US.

GregariousGroundhog

(7,540 posts)
10. Patriot and THAAD are mainly aimed at short and intermediate range ballistics missiles aren't they?
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 11:01 AM
Jul 2023

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is what is designed for intercontinental ballistics missiles. The United States only has a couple of dozen GMD interceptors though, and the military would need to double or trip tap each ICBM because the interceptors only have about a 50% intercept rate. It'll make a country like North Korea think twice about trying a nuclear strike, but wouldn't stop Russia or China.

sarisataka

(19,421 posts)
11. Yes, that is what they are designed for
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 11:13 AM
Jul 2023

There are some indications they could intercept MIRVs in the final stage. I don't know if there have been any tests or just discussions.

Certain missiles of the Navy's Aegis system can hit ICBMs in the launch phase. The window of opportunity however is extremely narrow. Not long after an ICBM is launched it reaches a speed where the counter missiles are in a tail chase they will never win.

orthoclad

(2,910 posts)
7. We do not have the right
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 10:47 AM
Jul 2023

to gamble with the lives and welfare of billions of innocent and uninvolved people of the Global South.

As other posters have said, it only takes one to work. In that case, we have condemned the whole world to misery and death. This would be the greatest crime in history.

Speculating about a high failure rate only makes the use of world-ending weapons more likely.

sarcasmo

(23,968 posts)
12. Read that the last time Russian nuke sites were checked they were rusty. Article is from 1997.
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 11:35 AM
Jul 2023



Snip< An examination of the public record of recent RVSN operations suggests the following conclusion: Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force is still managing to perform its mission, though it faces serious short- and long-term problems. Asked about the RVSN, former Russian national security advisor Alexander I. Lebed described the RVSN as being “rusty but still effective.” Indeed, all evidence is that Russia is still capable of waging a general nuclear war.




https://www.airandspaceforces.com/article/0297russians/

Aristus

(66,796 posts)
14. Every word of this article strikes me as the absolute truth.
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 12:36 PM
Jul 2023

I can't attest to the maintenance-heavy nuclear arsenal. But I have lived the life of maintenance-heavy conventional weapons.

As a tank crewman, most of our day-to-day lives were spent, not crewing a tank through live-fire exercises or maneuver training, but just keeping the big beasts properly maintained and at a high state of combat readiness. As the article pointed out in the issue of maintaining vehicles that are not being used currently, some maintenance tasks are related to the debilitating effects of long-term storage or simple lack of field use. Checking battery and engine readiness, topping off or changing engine, transmission, and road-wheel hub fluids, etc, all have to be done on a regular basis.

The U.S. Army takes Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, or PMCS, very seriously. They publish a monthly magazine with articles that explain new methods of equipment maintenance, or updates of old but tried-and-true methods, stories of maintenance mishaps, the consequences of poor or overlooked checks and services, etc. (The Army, in its wisdom, uses a comic book format for the publication, for the benefits of literacy-challenged Trumpster types).

There's no reason (unless one is Russian, I guess) why constant maintenance has to be unrelieved drudgery, either. Sometimes, our platoon sergeant would address us at morning formation and give us one big maintenance task for the day; say, lubing the tanks' drive trains. He'd come down, check our work, and then tell us we can hang out for the rest of the day until final formation. The prospect of a relaxing afternoon is strong motivation for getting the job done right the first time.

When a country's defense ministers are becoming billionaires by misappropriating the military's funding, I guess that can have a negative effect on unit readiness. But I guess Russia needed to learn that the hard way.

sarisataka

(19,421 posts)
17. That would be modern
Wed Jul 19, 2023, 02:35 PM
Jul 2023

The US uses IBM System 1. Until quite recently data was uploaded by 8 inch floppy disks with 80 kb capacity.

Angleae

(4,536 posts)
20. That article fails to take one important thing into consideration ... priority.
Thu Jul 20, 2023, 12:03 AM
Jul 2023

The russian military, going back to the Soviet Union, has always prioritized it's strategic weapons. ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic air defense way above anything else. If anything gets maintenance it's those things.

roxybear

(19 posts)
23. If even one functions properly, that's a disaster.
Thu Jul 20, 2023, 09:02 AM
Jul 2023

I agree with the poster who mentioned that if even one nuclear weapon functions, it results in a disaster. I would assume that many nuclear weapons would function and the world would be devastated. We can't depend on weapons not functioning.

One thought that no one mentioned. I wonder if Putin would risk using a nuclear weapon because there's a good chance it would malfunction. That would be terribly embarrassing. This could be Putin's downfall. It's bad enough employing a nuclear weapon but worse for him if it doesn't work.

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