Dead Hand: Russian Real-Life Doomsday Machine

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Dead Hand: Russian Real-Life Doomsday Machine

The existing system of international relations and arms control treaties is slowly, but steadily crumbling. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is dead, with both Washington and Moscow publicly developing previously banned short-to-medium range missiles. The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is also moving towards its end in 2021, and it is likely that New START will not be renewed. The United States, China and Russia are developing hypersonic weapons, which are not limited by any existing arms control treaties. The major powers are preparing for a possible global conflict. The dismantlement of the system of international treaties is another factor increasing military tensions around the world.

Russia is actively working towards restoring lost Soviet capabilities and developing new strategic deterrence projects. One of them is the Dead Hand, also known as the Perimeter. This Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system is one of the most protected secrets and most important deterrence tools of the USSR and Russia.

The Dead Hand is the last line of deterrence in the event of a crippling nuclear strike. It entered into service in 1985, shortly after a major escalation in 1983, which had almost led to war between the US and the Soviet Union. It has been likened to a real-life doomsday machine. Upon activation and determination of an ongoing nuclear strike, the system sends out command missiles with special warheads that pass encrypted launch commands to all nuclear weapon carriers of the sea, air and ground components of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces.

In peacetime conditions, the system slumbers, waiting for a turn-on command or an alarm signal from the missile attack early-warning system. It has a human “firewall,” for example, an on-duty officer who would switch it into the fully automated mode. Therefore, there is no risk of an accidental or unauthorized missile launch. Having received a command or signal about missiles being launched from the territory of other countries, this Dead Hand goes into an automated combat mode. Through a wide-scale sensor network, it monitors signs of an incoming nuclear strike.

The decision to launch command missiles is made by an autonomous control and command system – a complex pseudo-artificial intelligence system. The system receives and analyzes a variety of information about seismic activity, radiation, atmospheric pressure, and the intensity of chatter on military radio frequencies. It monitors telemetry from the observation posts of the strategic missile force and data from early warning systems.

Before launching, the system reportedly checks for four conditions:

  1. Once the system is activated it first determines if a nuclear explosion has taken place on Russian territory;
  2. If this is determined, the system will then check the communication link with the General Staff operation center;
  3. If a connection is established the system will After some time – from 15 minutes to 1 hour – passing without any further signs of an attack, it will assume that a number of the officials with the authority to give the order to strike are still alive  and the system will shut down;
  4. If the General Staff operation center does not respond, the system sends a request to Kazbek, the automatic system for command and control of the Strategic Nuclear Forces. If there is no response there either, the system automatically transfers launch authority to the command bunker personnel and launches the retaliatory strike.

All of the channels through which the Dead Hand receives its information are backed up multiple times, to remove the possibility of false information being fed to it.

According to openly available data, the Dead Hand is an integral part of the “Zveno” system of air command posts, the development of which was carried out in the Soviet Union. The “Zveno” includes the airborne command and control post on the Il-86VKP aircraft, airborne radio relay on the Il-76RT aircraft, silo-based command missiles ‘Perimeter’ and mobile command missiles ‘Gorn’. In a period of threat, three Il-86VKPs would have the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Defense Minister and the Chief of the General Staff respectively on board. The Il-86VKP is able to launch an 8 km long antenna, which not even impulses from nuclear explosions can affect. Using this antenna the aircraft can transmit commands to launch all the country’s intercontinental missiles even if all underground command posts are destroyed by the aggressor’s nuclear strike. The radio relay aircraft Il-76RT would transmit commands to launch missiles in distant regions, including those deployed on submarines. In this way, the Dead Hand guarantees a devastating retaliatory strike in the event of communications disruption and the destruction of command posts after the first-strike surprise nuclear attack by the enemy. Its command missiles launch their warheads into space, where no hostile satellite or nuclear explosions can reach them and from there “wake up” nuclear forces to strike the aggressor.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 led to a deep social and economic crisis on the territory of the former Soviet republics. The Russian Armed Forces also entered a period of crisis. In 1995, the Dead Hand was removed from combat duty. After the start of the ‘Putin era’ and the restoration of proper funding for the Russian Armed Forces in the 2000s,  national security once again became one of the key priorities of the Russian leadership. In 2011, it was officially confirmed that the Dead Hand had been put on combat duty. The successful test launch of the 15Yu75 missile took place in Plesetsk in 2016. Furthermore, the Dead Hand is also being modernized. In December 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced plans to sign a contract for the new Sirena-M missile complex. The Sirena-M is the most modern variant of the “command missile system” and “command missile” for the Dead Hand. The tests of the Sirena-M missile, which is based on the first version of the Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, began in 1990. All of them were carried out successfully. The Sirena-M system will enter service in the period up to 2025.

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  • Z.P.

    It is really satisfying that Russia still has multiple layers of command and control active.
    Russia has “hand” that can assure that all rats receive destiny they deserve.
    US and West can not ever be trusted about anything !

    • FlorianGeyer

      I do hope that Israel is on the target lists, as well as the zionist ‘bolt holes ‘ in NewZealand, South America etc.

      • Z.P.

        They have nukes and are official US close allay so I don’t see the reason for them not to be on the target lists.

      • Vitex

        Oi!

        Well, if you’ve seen On the Beach, it doesn’t go very well for the Antipodes after the fact.

        If it goes down we’re all royally f&cked.

  • MADE MAKER

    So long as RUSSIA Fires it`s Nuclear Weapons at the one who STRIKES it i am OK with that

    • Harry Smith

      Sorry, in accordance to the new defense doctrine the all NATO states have to be nuked.

      • LR captain

        i live in Canada i am also ok with that

        • Karen Bartlett

          I live in a fly-over state (US) and I’m ok with them nuking Wash. D.C. Talk about “draining the swamp”!

          • Harry Smith

            The nuclear strike will be at the biggest cities and military sites. Those who will die in the first seconds would be the luckiest ones. Others will slowly die in the next 3-4 months. No food, no clear water, no medicine, no electricity.

          • Karen Bartlett

            Christ will come before that, it is my firm belief.

          • Harry Smith

            Sorry Karen but your words are just a reflection of chiliasm heresy. Do you know that there is no such dimension as time in the eternity? And that’s why Apocalypse is the prophecy not only about the feature but also about the past. Don’t you ever thought why the Apocalypse describes how the devil was thrown out from the heavens? Because when John the Apostle wrote this book he tried to write about what he saw in accordance with the timeline. But in the eternity there is no time so it’s like he “watched the whole movie” all at one second.
            That’s why Jesus the Christ will come when this World will be destroyed by fire. And his return will be for judgment not for 1000 years with the rightness. Please forgive me for lecturing you.

          • Karen Bartlett

            Well, I was raised Baptist so I expect I have some wrong views.I don’t mind a lecture as long as the lecturer is polite, which you certainly seem to be.( What do the Orthodox Church fathers say about the End of the Era? I’m studying Orthodoxy.)
            Yes I do know about eternity not being time-constrained. I went “under water” (how I describe it) with a friend once who knew how to say the “Aum” sound. All the trees were worshiping God. It was all holiness, the entire Earth worships God. Of course, we were also stoned, that probably helped. (No, I don’t smoke pot anymore.)

          • Karen Bartlett

            Never mind, I looked up chiliasm on OrthodxWiki. It is the heretical belief that Christ will reign for 1000 years after His return to Earth. It was condemned at the Council of Nicea (Baptists don’t even study the Council of Nicea and don’t know the Nicene Creed!) with the phrase “and His Kingdom will have no end”.

          • Harry Smith

            Glad you found it. If you don’t mind let me suggest you a link with a lot of Orthodox theology info:
            https://alexey-osipov.ru/translations/

          • Karen Bartlett

            Thank you, Harry. I do access “Orthodox Teaching of the Elders”, “Gregory Decapolite” and some other Orthodox sites on YouTube. I don’t even know who most of the saints are and can’t remember their names. Much less Church Fathers. And Baptists don’t study Church history, or at least not actual Church history. Any good sites with information I appreciate, thanks again!

          • Harry Smith

            Please pardon me if I am too annoying, but I would suggest you to start from books and lectures by hieromonk Seraphim Rose. At my point he is the treasure of English speaking Orthodox Christians.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraphim_Rose
            Here is one of his books for free:
            https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Serafim_Rouz/orthodoxy-and-the-religion-of-the-future/

          • Karen Bartlett

            Thank you, Harry.

          • Karen Bartlett

            I read the Wiki article and will start reading the free book today.

          • LR captain

            im a prepper i know to repair those things

            Cactus Absorb Computer Radiation
            the betal leaf palnt has an extract that was proven to be able to protect DNA from radiation in certain conditions,
            The spider plant has been shown to have the ability to absorb a large amount of pollution, even cleaning out various harmful gasses such as formic acid and Aldehyde.
            Sanseveira can harmlessly absorb over 100 different types of poison. They have also discovered that the sansevieria plant is an anti-pollutant, and can on occasion be used as an antidote to certain forms of radiation.

            as for power i can use alternators jury rigged to a windmill and use the generate power

            food id grown with hydropoinics

            and the building im living in is cold war meaning that heating and water systems are separate from the town only need power to function.

            hehehe im all set

          • Harry Smith

            The small radioactive dust will be in the air at least until good long rain. So you will breathe the radiation. The only way not to die is to wear a gas mask and eat a lot of iodine to protect your thyroid. It will give you the possibility to live not several months but years because radioactive substances will be everywhere and you will get it in one way or another.

            As for windmill and hydroponics you must have some basic experience. Or it will not work.

          • LR captain

            calcium bromide coating is made from borax which you can soak cloth in to provide clothing with what can be call an iodine crust. Using salt you reducing the amount of radiation in water by 80%

            plus our the water sources. is from a deep underground source.

            as the for windmill a already have blueprints drawn out.

            Hydroponics i have many plastic bins in a shed that have been converted into hydroponics tables.i also do vegetable gardening every year. plant seedlings in my house early spring and plant as soon as the temperature becomes warm enough.

            you need to stop nit picking/putting up roads blocks/ trying to win argument and realize that some have taken the threat of world ending seriously.

          • Harry Smith

            Our discussion is not a battle so here can’t be loser or winner. Sincerely I am really glad you have considered every possible major threat. BTW I am considering windmill too.

        • FlorianGeyer

          Lol.

        • Harry Smith

          Don’t forget about Poseidon.

          • LR captain

            i don’t get it

          • Harry Smith

            Remember that waves goes in circles.

            https://youtu.be/kIW5EKhubj4

          • Karen Bartlett

            Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

          • LR captain

            i live in Manitoba Canada

          • Harry Smith

            Lucky you. Hope you have enough experience to grow food.

          • LR captain

            i do harry smith i can grow 1900 calories per day.

          • Karen Bartlett

            There’s probably good hunting up there, too.

          • Karen Bartlett

            Me neither.

  • Harry Smith

    The song has English subs.

    https://youtu.be/IgYHnU3iZCM

    • Karen Bartlett

      Bear cubs may sleep in peace.

  • Pave Way IV

    It’s comforting to know that Dead Hand will not be activated by, say, a meltdown and explosion of all twelve of Zaporizhia’s creaky, expired nuclear reactors running on unapproved Westinghouse fuel in Ukraine. There’s nothing worse than accidentally launching a massive nuclear retaliatory strike on the U.S. just because it detects massive amounts of lethal radiation from torrents of white-hot, burning fuel pellets raining down on western Russia. Nothing worse, that is, for me. I’m probably in one of several retaitory face-melting target zones in the U.S.

    • Z.P.

      You have to work little bit more on that …
      If I understood video it is not straight forward as you pretend it to be.
      If there is no response from high command and that “other” place (that I forgot the name), only than system goes in automatic kill mode.
      So “mistakes” like yours example are not possible.

      • Pave Way IV

        According to the video (and long-held Western belief) it doesn’t go into automatic kill mode based only on preset parameters or only on sensor input – that’s my point.

    • Vitex

      Just take your deck chair out on the lawn and watch the action :) Preferably with a beer :)

      I live under an active volcano so I feel much the same about THAT

    • Aquilegia

      Hopefully it doesn’t have that kind of “childish” bugs, like the Boeing MCAS system.

  • JoeAlpha

    Because of this “Dead Hand”, Russia’s enemies have to think thousands of times before launching their first nuclear attack on Russia. No matter how devastated Russia was after the first attack, or even if the President and all the military leaders were dead, the attackers knew they would not have survived the retaliatory attack by this “Dead Hand”. This system exists and is real, not a fairy tale. This system works like the president’s spirit that you have killed, his spirit can still press the red button to launch the final deadly counterattack even though his body is dead. The new Sirena-M in the future will make this “Dead Hand” system even more deadly. And one more, this system does not choose from which countries the nuclear attack to Russia was launched, Dead Hand will automatically launch a nuclear strike back to all countries that are considered enemies of Russia. (in this case all NATO countries and their allies).

    • FlorianGeyer

      London needs to be rebuilt anyway :)

      • Nofearorfavor

        Hehe!– serious but still funny even if it borders the macabre …Your dry humour as always appreciated.

    • Aquilegia

      All silo, submarine (and TEL) based ballistic missiles probably have preset target coordinates set into their guidance system so no, they don’t determine who attacked or not, they just go to those coordinates when launched. The operators might not know either where exactly they are destined.

  • LR captain

    ladies and gentlemen i give you sky net

    • LR captain

      considering combat robots that Russia is also developing and the human like that can fire a pistol and drive car.

      • FlorianGeyer

        Is it a female version?
        Men cannot do two things at once, women can , I am frequently told :)

        • Karen Bartlett

          Ha, ha and ha.

  • Karen Bartlett

    Mr Putin is very funny quite often. He puts a religious import on the situation because he’s an Orthodox Christian. Little does he know, the US gov’t isn’t the least bit religious. The only thing they worship is money.

    • Kananda

      The neocons are extremly religious. They are the christian ISIS. They want the coming of the Armaggedon.

      • Karen Bartlett

        True. They religiously believe their mistaken doctrine and their heresy, based on the bible which they claim has all authority instead of the Church which Christ founded: There are two Jerusalems, the earthly and the spiritual. The “Jerusalem above” belongs to God and is “the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26). They believe their heretical doctrine rather than God, imo. Truly, they are the “christian” ISIS, wanting constant war against innocents.

    • Vitex

      He knows :)

    • Nofearorfavor

      He knows Karen– he knows and he has no illusions … he said once, Russia would have to cease existing before it ever allows another foreign enemy to attack her soil and if it happens and Russia ceases to exist– he will be in a box on his way to the cemetery! That too was quite funny, but there was deadly intent behind those words, which btw, I have rephrased here, as I need to go to bed and am too tired to look up his exact words.

      • Karen Bartlett

        Talk to you another time, bro.

  • Brother Thomas

    How terribly, incredible sad to think this is where we are today. Several thousand years of science, literature, art – not to mention millions of years of evolution of all Earth’s life forms – all at risk of utter and total annihilation.

    Gandhi was right: the only devil is the one in man’s heart.

    • Vitex

      I don’t think this system is evil rather than a rational response to lunacy. It is a reminder to the militant west that there is no pre-emptive strike from which they can escape unscathed. Do you suppose Russia can do without this? To do so is to invite a pre-emptive strike. There are some in Washington who sincerely contemplate such a thing. There is a devil, and he is real, and he does not reside solely in the heart of man.

    • Nofearorfavor

      So Russia has to defend herself against the men with the devil in their hearts.

  • S Melanson

    For a good example of Dead Hand system n action, see the HBO movie “By Dawn’s Early Light” (1990). A great film and the Soviet city sacrificed in a nuke false flag you will find quite interesting. Note that Russian military wanted counter strike so they set the conditions for auto counter strike. There are some interesting aspects to this movie with respect to today’s world… enjoy.

  • cechas vodobenikov

    as Bauman has observed, in the context of US imperialism, “if u want peace, prepare for war”…the US only attacks defenseless peoples….as Boorstin observed, “Americans have been liars and braggarts for 3 centuries (self loathing narcissists)