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I stumbled upon an article on wired.com which told details about an automatic nuclear retaliation system build by the soviets in the mid-eighties. This system is supposed to ensure destruction of the US even if the Russian chain of command is wiped out or broken.

While the article seems credible at first glance, there are some suspicious things about it: Single (named) members of the construction/design crew are supposed to have leaked information, while the US government denies knowledge thereof while Russian authorities don't even bother to comment.

Is this a well known internet hoax, or is there evidence to the actual existence of a ex-soviet doomsday device?

  • I heard about the system in the 80's but it was supposed to have been built in the 60' then. Space Cowboys was a movie in the 90's about dealing with a satellite that that was a part of it. – Chad Nov 3 '11 at 17:05
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    These types of things are notoriously difficult to pin down. The fact is that neither the Russian nor US governments are going to comment one way or another as most of that stuff is probably still classified. – CaseyB Nov 3 '11 at 17:10
  • I've heard of such systems on both sides several times, but being highly classified I doubt you will find reliable confirmation about their existence. They're certainly technically viable, though implementation might well be deemed irresponsible because of the risk of accidental release. – jwenting Nov 4 '11 at 7:08
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    They also seem a bit superfluous, seeing as simply saying that you have a doomsday device should be sufficiently deterrent, without coming with the risk of being released by somebody who is not deterred by the notion of doomsday. – dxh Nov 4 '11 at 12:41
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The system mentioned in article had existed in reality although there is no information on its real automatization level. The missile provides emergency command link and the command center is probably situated 3000ft under Yamantau mountain.
Current state of the Perimeter system is unknown. 15A11 missiles were decommissioned in 1995 under START-I treaty but strategic missile catalog published in 1998 (ISBN:5866560798) mentioned another command missile based on RT-2PM design. If the information is true then these may still be operational as of 2012. No other credible information on the system was published since then.

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