Technology / The Cold War: Nuclear Weapons Of The 1980'S

The Cold War: Nuclear Weapons Of The 1980'S

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Autor:  anton  23 August 2010
Tags:  Nuclear,  Weapons
Words: 954   |   Pages: 4
Views: 400



The pope quickly organized a meeting to prepare the world for a weapon that would destroy all life on earth. "Pope Innocent II organized the conference in 11391" because of a crossbow. Approximately 800 years from this conference, the Cold War has begun. The potential of mass destruction could occur at any moment. More efforts for mining and technology went toward constructing nuclear weapons. Missiles, such as, the Tomahawk® Cruise Missile and the Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile were the new wave of nuclear weapons, in the 1980’s, used in the Cold War. Safety restrictions and treaties stopped these weapons of mass destruction from causing an Armageddon to happen.

Mining for elements that could be used as a nuclear power were very important in the Cold War. New technology and research for nuclear material was an essential part in building a nuclear weapon. The most important element for making nuclear weapons is uranium. Uranium is used to make plutonium, a very powerful element, by deuteron bombardment of uranium oxide. Uranium, a gray-colored element, is mined from the common uranium ores. Common isotopes, such as, radioactive sulfur (S35), radioactive carbon (C14), radioactive phosphorus (P32) and strontium (Sr90) were a great safety hazard towards the environment and mammals. The amount of time it takes for half the radioactive isotope to disintegrate is called half-life. "Isotopes with a short half-life, measured in seconds, hours, or days, are considered generally less dangerous to the envioronment2." Isotopes with a high half-life are very harmful to our world; for example, plutonium in one of its forms (Pu239) has a half-life of over 20,000 years. There is so much heat given off that, in power reactors, the heat is used to generate electricity. These nuclear elements, mainly plutonium, was used to make the most destructive weapons ever to be built: nuclear missiles.

In 1979, one of the most fiercest missiles was created, the Trident I (C4), and in 1990, the Trident II (D5). The Trident II (D5), slightly larger and more improved than the Trident I (C4), can go around 14,000 miles per hour3. This guided missile can be launched over 4,000 nautical miles4. The Trident missile is launched from a submarines that holds up to 24 missiles. Because of the missile’s long range and supersonic speed, this nuclear weapon had the potential of causing an Armageddon.

Probably the most important missile to the U.S. is the Tomahawk® Cruise Missile. The U.S. uses the Tomahawk® Cruise Missile as its primary weapon of defense. The Tomahawk® Cruise Missile goes about 550 miles per hour and can reach a range at about 870 nautical miles5. "Tomahawk® cruise missiles are designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission tailored guidance systems.6" Achieving this goal seemed impossible at first because of buildings and other obstacles, but this cruise missile ended up to be a very valuable weapon for the U.S.

Another version of the Tomahawk® missile was invented. This missile was shaped very similar to a torpedo, but it’s purpose was different. The Tomahawk® BGM 109G missile was a ground launched cruise missile that was deployed from a large vehicle on land. "The ground version of the BGM 109G missile was designed to be launched from a transporter - erector by a solid - fuel rocket motor. 7" The BGM 109G was very stealthy because a scrambled sequence was required to be entered before every launch of this missile. The BGM 109G used an air - breathing engine that gave the missile a longer endurance. This ground launched cruise missile seemed to be the most powerful and useful missile ever to be built; a great amount of safety and precaution needed to be taken. A new technology was found that would keep this missile safe. "The United States named the system to prevent accidental or unauthorized detonation of a nuclear warhead Permissive Action Link (PAL). 8" The PAL technology seemed very important, so the U.S. gave the technology to the Soviets. The explosives in the warhead were insensitive and could not be triggered - off by small fire arms or lightning. If an entry of a false code or improper sequence was given, the security system would disable the missile. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union eliminated all USAF GLCMs and prevented them from further production and development. This treaty could have saved the world from mass destruction.

The nuclear weapons of the Cold War had the potential to blow up Earth dozens of times. Towards the end of the Cold War, in the 1980’s, The Soviet Union started become more of the United States’ friend and both wanted peace. Sharing defense technology with one another and signing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty saved the world from Armageddon.

Works Cited:

Coldwar6. "The Arms Race Renewed." 4/10/00.

Cold War - Espionage. "Tools of the Trade." 4/16/00.

Coldwell, Dan. WORLD POLITICS AND YOU. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall, 2000.

Medvedev, Zhores. Nuclear Disaster in the Urals. New York: W.W. Norton &

Company, 1979.

Navy Facts: Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile. "Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile." 4/29/00.

The 80’s. 4/10/00.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management. Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom. Washington D.C. 1987.

Tomahawk Thermonuclear Ground Launched… "BGM - 109G Tomahawk

Ground Launched Cruise Missile." 4/30/00.

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