US had lost communication with 50 nuke missiles: Report

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 21:54

New York: The US had lost communication
with nearly 50 intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles ,
one-ninth of its arsenal for 45 minutes over the weekend, even
as defence officials said that there were no chance of an
accidental launch or foul play, a media report said on Wednesday.

A defence official said that power failure led to a
loss of communication between a control centre and the
missiles at F E Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, according to
The Wall Street Journal, which reported that President Barack
Obama had been briefed on the issue.

"There was no threat to the public," said the defence
official.

"The missiles were protected by multiple, redundant
safety security and control features," said another military
official. Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the joint
chiefs of staff, notified Defence Secretary Robert Gates of
the incident.

The cause of power failure is being investigated but
it does not appear to be malicious, according to officials.

There was no evidence of foul play, and the Air Force
never lost the ability to launch the missiles, officials said.

The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles
are part of the 319th Missile Squadron stockpiled at Warren
Air Force Base near Cheyenne, Wyoming, where 150 ICBMs are
located.

The failure affected 50 of them, or one-ninth of the
US arsenal. ICBMs at Air Force bases in Montana and North
Dakota were not affected.

The newspaper pointed out that in 2008, a series of
problems with nuclear weapons and parts, including the
accidental transport of a weapon across the US, led Defence
Secretary Gates to fire the Air Force secretary and chief of
staff.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 21:54

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