Friday, November 16, 2007

Don't Throw Out Those Old Bike Keys, They May Come in Handy

From the BBC:

Bicycle lock key

With the help of Brian Burnell - a researcher into the history of the British nuclear weapons programme who once designed bomb casings for atom bombs - Newsnight tracked down a training version of the WE 177 nuclear bomb at the Bristol Aero collection at Kemble.

Tornado and earlier V-bomber crews trained with these, which were identical in every way to the live bombs except for the nuclear warhead.

To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.

Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.

The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.

I understand that the above image might not be completely appropriate to this blog entry, but I really do like these stamps. As Socrates remarked in The Symposium soldiers that love each other stick together. Socrates having done his Athenian military service, we can only conjecture, would have known.

More info here:

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