After exploring and researching the abandoned Cold War-era missile silo in the Saranac valley I posted about on Monday, the one big question I still had was: how do you actually fire the missile? I speculated that this device might be a part of it…
Turns out, I was right. A reader by the name of Bob wrote a very detailed, informative, and absolutely chilling comment about how exactly a missile launch (read: Armageddon) would go down, and I wanted to share it with those who might be curious. Take it away, Bob!
The first step once a message was received and authenticated was to remove two keys from a lock box. The silo had two operators who sat about 15-20 feet across from each other. Both were officers and one was the commander.
Keys were inserted into the keyhole next to the phone. At this point a series of buttons and switches were flipped/turned, pressed to enter the information. The phone would ring at the secondary officers station for final verification and the keys would be turned and the missle committed.
It would go something like this:
Message Follows: AABTY872V9……
A (Commander): I have a valid launch message
B (Secondary): I concur.
A: Remove Key.
**each officer would then open a lock on the key box and take out their respective key*****
Now they would start entering information from a manual that was also kept under lock and key. They would read from the manual step by step to arm, program, and launch:
A: Unstable the missle.
A: Program in-flight switch enable.
B: Program online codes inserted.
A: Enable Switch enabled.
–at this point one of the two phones would ring with a final authorization call———-
A: Key turn on my mark
The key was turned and the missle launch was committed. The doors would fly open – literally – and the missle would launch.
The silo crew, now having done its mission, gets to kick back and wait to die.