As Russian Nuke War Risk Rises – Concern Over Putin’s ‘Dead Hand’ Doomsday Device

The stalled Russian offensive into Ukraine has raised the risk of ‘Vlad the Invader’ Putin choosing to use tactical nukes to ensure victory. As ADN has reported Russia has far more tactical nuclear weapons than the U.S. or NATO, and Russian nuclear doctrine emphasizes ‘escalate to de-escalate.’

This allows Russia to use tactical nuclear weapons first to stave off defeat or simply deter enemies from escalating.

But there is an even greater concern – the Russian nuclear ‘Doomsday’ system to launch nukes automatically without human control.

The Cold War-era system is called ‘Perimeter,’ and once switched on, can launch the entire Russian nuclear arsenal in response to a nuclear attack.

The Russian Federation currently has an estimated 1,600 deployed tactical nuclear weapons, with an additional 2,400 strategic nuclear warheads for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sub-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

This makes Russia the largest nuclear power in the world, and ALL of these nukes are tied into the Perimeter.

As explains:

Called “Dead Hand” in the West, the theory is that a command and control system measures communications on military frequencies, radiation levels, air pressure, heat and short-term seismic disturbances. If the measurement points to a nuclear attack, the Perimeter begins a sequence that would end in the firing of all ICBMs in the Soviet (now, Russian) arsenal.

Perimeter would launch a command rocket, tipped with a radio warhead that transmits launch orders to Russian nuclear silos, even with the presence of radio jamming. The rocket would fly across the entire length of the country. After a number of test launches to prove the viability of such a command rocket, the Perimeter system went online in 1985.

The Soviet Union never confirmed that such a system ever existed, but Russian Strategic Missile Forces Gen. Sergey Karakaev confirmed it to a Russian newspaper in 2011, saying the U.S. could be destroyed in 30 minutes. Russian state media outlets suggest the system was upgraded to include radar early warning systems and Russia’s new hypersonic missiles.

What does this mean now with Russian forces in combat near NATO’s borders? continues:

In a crisis that might mean a first strike from the United States, high-ranking government officials or military commanders could activate the Perimeter. Perimeter would guarantee that the Soviet Union (and now, Russia) could respond even if its entire armed forces were wiped out.

“Since the Perimeter is reportedly still active,’ adds, “the danger of an automatic, computer-generated nuclear strike still exists. Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Russia’s nuclear weapons on high alert, he might have taken Russia’s doomsday device on notice as well.” ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - - PAULCRESPO.COM

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James E. McCrea
James E. McCrea
8 months ago

If this is so, how did they get so far ahead?

8 months ago

Putin’s purge facilitates his ability to unilaterally execute the nuclear strike order whereas in the past, there were human controls and authentications required and release procedures. The purported exercise of Perimeter previously witnessed was poopoo’ed by many due to bias from known technologies and capabilities. With the Balless Bumbling Blinders of Biden and the uncorroborated assertions by the Obama and now the Biden intel leadership, no one in the US knows the facts.