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Strategic Equipments and

Thermonuclear devices

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Strategy 5
Missile 8
Intercontinental ballistic missile 14
Submarine 20
Nuclear submarine 45
Radar 51
Communications satellite 68
Unmanned aerial vehicle 75
Cryptography 89
Simulation 103
Nuclear weapon 121
Pinch (plasma physics) 131
Hall effect thruster 142
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 147
Plateau–Rayleigh instability 153
Nuclear weapons testing 156
Earthquake 165
Tsunami 179
Weapon of mass destruction 189
Strategic Defense Initiative 202

Article Sources and Contributors 220
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 227

Article Licenses
License 232
User:Rajah2770 1

Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika

Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika
[[File:File:Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika & his two kids.jpg||alt=]]
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika with Laquit(son) and Danisha(daughter)

Born Azad Bin Rajib HazarikaJuly 2, 1970Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Residence Nagaon, Assam, India

Nationality Indian

Ethnicity AssameseMuslim

Citizenship India

Education PhD, PDF, FRAS

Alma mater University of Jodhpur

Jai Narayan Vyas University
Institute of Advanced Study in Science & Technology
Kendriya Vidyalaya
Poona College of Arts, Science &Commerce

Occupation Assistant Professor(Lecturer), Diphu Govt. College , Diphu,Assam,India

Years active 2004- onwards

Employer Diphu Government College

Government of Assam,Assam Education Service

Known for Lecturer ,Assistant Professor,Mathematician,Academician,Fusion,Astronomy

Home town Nagaon, Assam, India

Salary Rs 40000 per month

Height 6 feet and 2 inches

Weight 100 kg

Title Doctorate, Dr., FRAS (London), Assam Education Service, AES

Board Member of Scientific and Technical committee & Editorial review board of Natuaral and Applied sciences World Academy of
member of [4]
Science ,Engineering & Technology

Religion Sunni Islam,

Spouse Helmin Begum Hazarika

Children Laquit Ali Hazarika(son), Danisha Begum Hazarika(daughter)

Parents Rosmat Ali Hazarika@Rostam Ali Hazarika@Roufat Ali Hazarika and Anjena Begum Hazarika

Call-sign Drabrh or Raja


[6] [7] [8] [9]
User:Rajah2770 2

Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika with Laquit (son) and Danisha(daughter)

Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika (born July 02, 1970, in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India) is Assistant
Professor(Lecturer) Diphu Government College ,Diphu in Karbi Anglong district , Government of Assam [10] , [11] ,
Karbi Anglong,Assam's largest conglomerate by Government of Assam . He is also the Fellow of Royal
Astronomical Society[12] ,London ,Member of International Association of Mathematical Physics, World Academy
of Science ,Engineering & Technology, Focus Fusion Society, Dense Plasma Focus, Plasma Science Society of
India, Assam Science Society, Assam academy of mathematics,International Atomic Energy Agency,Nuclear and
Plasma Sciences Society,Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics,German Academy of Mathematics and
Mechanics,Fusion Science & Technology Society,Indian National Science Academy,Indian Science Congress
Association,Advisory Committee of Mathematical Education,Royal Society,International Biographical Centre.

Early life
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika was born into the famous Hazarika family, a prominent family belonging to Dhing's wealthy
Muslim Assamese community of Nagaon district. He was born to Anjena Begum Hazarika and Rusmat Ali
Hazarika. He is eldest of two childrens of his parents younger one is a Shamim Ara Rahman(nee Hazarika)daughter .

Early career
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika completed his PhD degree in Mathematics from J N Vyas University of Jodhpur in 1995 with
specialization in Plasma instability, the thesis was awarded “best thesis” by Association of Indian Universities in
1998 and the Post-Doctoral Fellow Program from Institute of Advanced Study in Science & Technology [13] in
Guwahati Assam in 1998 as Research Associate in Plasma Physics Division in theory group studying the Sheath
phenomenon. As a Part-time Lecturer in Nowgong college, Assam before joining the present position in Diphu
Government College ,Diphu in Karbi Anglong district[14] ,[15] He is a member of the wikipedia[16] , [17] . He is
Fellow of Royal Astronomical Society[18] ,member of International Association Mathematical Physics[19] , member
of World Academy of Science,Engineering & Technology [20] ,[21] , member of Plasma science Society of India [22] ,
,member of Focus Fusion Society forum [24] ,member of Dense Plasma Focus [25] , Member of Assam Science
Society [26] , Member of Assam Academy of Mathematics [27]
User:Rajah2770 3

He joined the Diphu Government College in July2004 as Lecturer in Mathematics (Gazetted officer), through Assam
Public Service commission [28] in Assam Education Service [29] , AES-I. [30] now redesignated as Assistant

In May 1993, Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika was awarded Junior Research Fellowship,University Grants Commission,
National Eligibility Test and eligibility for Lecturership ,Govt. of India and worked as JRF(UGC,NET) in
Department of Mathematics and Statistics of J N Vyas University in Jodhpur. Later on in May 1995 got Senior
Research Fellowship(UGC,NET) and continued research for completion of PhD on 27th Dec 1995 .From 1993
onwards taught in Kamala Nehru College for women, Jodhpur and in Faculty of Science in J N Vyas University in
Jodhpur up to the completion of PhD .In 1998 May joined Plasma Physics Division of Institute of Advanced Study
in Science & Technology in Guwahati as Research Associate for PDF in theory group to study the sheath
phenomena of National Fusion Programme [31] of Govt. of India . Then joined Nowgong College as a part-time
Lecturer after which in 2004, July joined the present position of Lecturer in Diphu Government College which is
redesignated as Assistant Professor.

During PhD [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]
The research was based on Astronomy,Astrophysics, Geophysics , for plasma instability with the title of thesis as
“Some Problems of instabilities in partially ionized and fully ionized plasmas” which later on in 1998 was assessed
as best thesis of the year by Association of Indian Universities in New Delhi. He is known for Bhatia-Hazarika
limitResearch at Diphu Govt. College [37] , [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] Applied for patent in US patent and
trademarks office [45] [46]
Research guidance is given to students in Mathematics for MPhil. He has written six books entitled Inventions of
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika on future devices and Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika's Pattern recognition on fusion
,Application of Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika's conceptual devices , Green tecnology for next genration , Invention of
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika's devices ,VASIMR DANISHA:A Hall Thruster Space Odyssey ,[47] , [48] , [49]
He has derived a formula Hazarika's constant for VASIMR DANISHA as Hazarika constant Ch=1+4sin3φ sin θ-2sin
φ-2sin θ the value is 2.646

Personal life
Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika has a metallic Scarlet red Tata Indigo CS of Tata motors make and loves to drive himself.He
is married to Helmin Begum Hazarika and have two chidrens Laquit(son) and Danisha(daughter).

• "Fakir(saint) and lakir(line) stops at nothing but at destination"
• "Expert criticizes the wrong but demonstrates the right thing"
• “Intellectuals are measured by their brain not by their age and experience”
• “Two type of persons are happy in life one who knows everything another who doesn’t know anything”
• “Implosion in device to prove every notion wrong for fusion”
• “Meditation gives fakir(saint) long life and fusion devices the long lasting confinement”
User:Rajah2770 4

Awards and recognition

Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika got Junior Research Fellowship,Government of India
Senior Research Fellowship,Government of India
Research AssociateshipDSTGovernment of India
Fellowof Royal Astronomical Society [50]
Member of Advisory committee of Mathematical Education Royal Society London
Member of Scientific and Technical committee & editorial review board on Natural and applied sciences of World
Academy of Science ,Engineering &Technology [51]
Leading professional of the world-2010 as noted and eminent professional from International Biographical Centre

[1] http:/ / www. iasst. in
[2] http:/ / www. kvafsdigaru. org
[3] http:/ / www. akipoonacollege. com
[4] http:/ / www. waset. org/ NaturalandAppliedSciences. php?page=45
[5] http:/ / www. facebook. com/ Drabrajib
[6] http:/ / in. linkedin. com/ pub/ dr-a-b-rajib-hazarika/ 25/ 506/ 549
[7] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Special:Contributions/ Drabrh
[8] http:/ / www. diphugovtcollege. org
[9] http:/ / www. karbianglong. nic. in/ diphugovtcollege. org/ teaching. html
[10] http:/ / www. karbianglong. nic. in/ diphugovtcollege/ teaching. html
[11] http:/ / www. diphugovtcollege. org/ DGC%20prospectus%2008-09. pdf
[12] http:/ / www. ras. org. uk/ member?recid==5531
[13] http:/ / www. iasst. in
[14] {{cite web|url=http:/ / www. diphugovtcollege. org/ DGC%20prospectus%2008-09. pdf
[15] http:/ / karbianglong. nic. in/ diphugovtcollege/ teaching. html
[16] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ User:Drabrh
[17] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Special:Contributions/ Drabrh
[18] http:/ / www. ras. org. uk/ member?recid=5531,
[19] http:/ / www. iamp. org/ bulletins/ old-bulletins/ 201001. pdf
[20] http:/ / www. waset. org/ NaturalandAppliedSciences. php?page=45
[21] http:/ / www. waset. org/ Search. php?page=68& search=
[22] http:/ / www. plasma. ernet. in/ ~pssi/ member/ pssi_new04. doc
[23] http:/ / www. ipr. res. in/ ~pssi/ member/ pssidir_new-04. doc
[24] http:/ / www. focusfusion. org/ index. php/ forums/ member/ 4165
[25] http:/ / www. denseplasmafocus. org/ index. php/ forum/ member/ 4165
[26] http:/ / www. assamsciencesociety. org/ member
[27] http:/ / www. aam. org. in/ member/ 982004
[28] http:/ / apsc. nic. in
[29] http:/ / aasc. nic. in/ . . . / Education%20Department/ The%20Assam%20Education%20Service%20Rules%201982. pdf
[30] (http:/ / www. diphugovtcollege. org/ DGC prospests 08-09. pdf)
[31] http:/ / nfp. pssi. in
[32] http:/ / www. iopscience. iop. org/ 1402-4896/ 51/ 6/ 012/ pdf/ physcr_51_6_012. pdf
[33] http:/ / www. iopsciences. iop. org/ 1402-4896/ 53/ 1/ 011/ pdf/ 1402-4896_53_1_011. pdf,
[34] http:/ / www. niscair. res. in/ sciencecommunication/ abstractingjournals/ isa_1jul08. asp
[35] http:/ / en. wiktionary. org/ wiki/ Wikitionary%3ASandbox
[36] http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ abs/ 1996PhyS. . 53. . . 578
[37] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Special:Contributions/ Drabrh/ File:Drabrhdouble_trios_saiph_star01. pdf
[38] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Drabrh_bayer_rti. pdf
[39] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Columb_drabrh. pdf
[40] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Drabrh_double_trios. pdf
[41] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Drabrhiterparabolic2007. pdf
[42] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Drabrh_mctc_feedbackloop. pdf
[43] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Drabrh_tasso_07. pdf
User:Rajah2770 5

[44] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ File:Abstracts. pdf?page=2

[45] http:/ / upload. wikimedia. org/ wikipedia/ en/ 5/ 50/ EfilingAck5530228. pdf
[46] http:/ / upload. wikimedia. org/ wikipedia/ en/ c/ c4/ EfilingAck3442787. pdf
[47] http:/ / www. pothi. com
[48] http:/ / i-proclaimbookstore. com
[49] http:/ / ipppserver. homelinux. org:8080/ view/ creators/ Hazarika=3ADr=2EA=2EB=2ERajib=3A=3A. html
[50] http:/ / www. ras. org. uk/ members?recid=5531
[51] http:/ / www. waset. org/ NaturalandAppliedSciences. php?page=46

External links
• (
• Dr.A.B.Rajib Hazarika's profile on the Linkedin Website (
• (
Rajah2770 (talk) 18:12, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Strategy, a word of military origin, refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. In military usage
strategy is distinct from tactics, which are concerned with the conduct of an engagement, while strategy is concerned
with how different engagements are linked. How a battle is fought is a matter of tactics: the terms and conditions that
it is fought on and whether it should be fought at all is a matter of strategy, which is part of the four levels of
warfare: political goals or grand strategy, strategy, operations, and tactics. Building on the work of many thinkers on
the subject, one can define strategy as "a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or
actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills – there have to be at least two sides to a conflict. These sides interact, and
thus a Strategy will rarely be successful if it shows no adaptability."[1]

The word strategy derives from the Greek "στρατηγία" (strategia), "office of general, command, generalship",[2] in
turn from "στρατηγός" (strategos), "leader or commander of an army, general",[3] a compound of "στρατός"
(stratos), "army, host" + "ἀγός" (agos), "leader, chief",[4] in turn from "ἄγω" (ago), "to lead".[5] We have no
evidence of it being used in a modern sense in Ancient Greek, but find it in Byzantine documents from the 6th
century onwards, and most notably in the work attributed to Emperor Leo VI the Wise of Byzantium. The word was
first used in German as "Strategie" in a translation of Leo's work in 1777, shortly thereafter in French as "stratégie"
by Leo's French translator, and was first attested in English 1810.[1]

Strategies in game theory

In game theory, a strategy refers to one of the options that a player can choose. That is, every player in a
non-cooperative game has a set of possible strategies, and must choose one of the choices.
A strategy must specify what action will happen in each contingent state of the game—e.g. if the opponent does A,
then take action B, whereas if the opponent does C, take action D.
Strategies in game theory may be random (mixed) or deterministic (pure). That is, in some games, players choose
mixed strategies. Pure strategies can be thought of as a special case of mixed strategies, in which only probabilities 0
or 1 are assigned to actions.
Strategy 6

Noted texts on strategy

Classic texts such as Chanakya's Arthashastra written in the 3rd century BC, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, written in
China 2,500 years ago, the political strategy of Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, written in 1513, or Carl von
Clausewitz's On War, published in 1832, as with the Japanese classic The book of five rings by Miyamoto Mushashi
written in 1645, are still well known, and highly influential. Even though the term was not used before the end of the
18th century, and subsequently shifted its meaning (see definitions, above), there were several insightful writers on
strategy between Machiavelli and Clausewitz, like Matthew Sutcliffe, Bernardino de Mendoza, Santa Cruz de
Marcenado (Álvaro de Navia Osorio y Vigil, marqués de Santa Cruz de Marcenado), Guibert (Jacques Antoine
Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert), and August Otto Rühle von Lilienstern. In the 20th century, the subject of strategic
management has been particularly applied to organizations, most typically to business firms and corporations.
The nature of historic texts differs greatly from area to area, and given the nature of strategy itself, there are some
potential parallels between various forms of strategy—noting, for example, the popularity of The Art of War as a
business book. Each domain generally has its own foundational texts, as well as more recent contributions to new
applications of strategy. Some of these are:
• Political strategy
• The Prince, published in 1532 by Niccolò Machiavelli
• Arthashastra, written in the 4th century BC by Chanakya
• The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione
• Military strategy:
• The Art of War, written in the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu
• The Art of War, written in the 19th century AD by Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini
• The Book of Five Rings, written in the 17th century AD by Miyamoto Musashi
• Strategikon, written in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine emperor Maurice
• Taktikon, by the Byzantine emperor Leo VI the Wise
• Reflexiones Militares by Santa Cruz de Marcenado
• Essai général de la Tactique by Guibert (Jacques Antoine Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert)
• On War, by Carl von Clausewitz (19th century)
• Strategy, by B.H. Liddell Hart
• On Guerrilla Warfare, by Mao Zedong
• The Influence of Sea Power upon History, by Alfred Thayer Mahan
• The Air Campaign, by Colonel John A. Warden, III
• Makers of Modern Strategy, edited by Peter Paret
• Strategy, by Edward N. Luttwak
• The Strategy Makers, edited by Beatrice Heuser, ISBN 978-0-275-99826-4
• OODA, by John Boyd
• Economic strategy
• General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936 by John Maynard Keynes
• Business strategy
• Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, 2005
• Competitive Strategy, by Michael Porter
• Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy and Strategy Concept II: Another Look at Why Organizations Need
Strategies, by Henry Mintzberg
• Winning In FastTime by John A. Warden, III and Leland A. Russell, 2002.
• Designing Organization for Higher Performance by David P. Hanna, 1988.
• Exploring Corporate Strategy by Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes, 2001.
Strategy 7

• Strategy of the Dolphin: Scoring a Win in a Chaotic World by Dudley Lynch and Dr. Paul L. Kordis, 1988
• General strategy
• Strategy Safari, by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel.
• Strategic Studies-Intelligence and strategy, by Gagliano Giuseppe, Uniservice, Nov 2009
• Others
• Marcel Détienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, Les Ruses de l'intelligence, Paris: Flammarion, 1993 (on the role of
the Greek Metis)

[1] Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2010), ISBN
978-0-521-19968-1, p.27f.
[2] στρατηγία (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 04. 0057:entry=strathgi/ a), Henry George Liddell, Robert
Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
[3] στρατηγός (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 04. 0057:entry=strathgo/ s), Henry George Liddell, Robert
Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
[4] ἀγός (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 04. 0057:entry=a)go/ s1), Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A
Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
[5] ἄγω (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 04. 0057:entry=a)/ gw), Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A
Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
Missile 8


A V-2 missile launch by the British during Operation Backfire.

The word missile usually now means a self-propelled guided weapon system, but it may refer to any thrown or
launched object.

The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send". In military parlance, powered/guided
munitions are broadly categorised as follows:
• A powered, guided munition that travels through the air or space is known as a missile (or guided missile.)
• A powered, unguided munition is known as a rocket.
• Unpowered munitions are called bombs whether guided or not; unpowered, guided munitions are known as
guided bombs or "smart bombs".
• Munitions that are fired from a gun are known as shells whether guided or not.
• Powered munitions that travel through water are called torpedoes.
A common further sub-division is to consider ballistic missile to mean a munition that follows a ballistic trajectory
and cruise missile to describe a munition that generates lift.

Early development
The first missiles to be used operationally were a series of missiles developed by Nazi Germany in World War II.
Most famous of these are the V-1 flying bomb and V-2, both of which used a simple mechanical autopilot to keep
the missile flying along a pre-chosen route. Less well known were a series of anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles,
typically based on a simple radio control system directed by the operator. However, these early systems in World
War 2 were only built in small numbers.
Missile 9

Guided missiles have a number of different system components:
• Targeting and/or guidance
• Flight system
• Engine
• Warhead

Guidance systems
Missiles may be targeted in a number of ways. The most common method is to use some form of radiation, such as
infrared, lasers or radio waves, to guide the missile onto its target. This radiation may emanate from the target (such
as the heat of an engine or the radio waves from an enemy radar), it may be provided by the missile itself (such as a
radar) or it may be provided by a friendly third party (such as the radar of the launch vehicle/platform, or a laser
designator operated by friendly infantry). The first two are often known as fire-and-forget as they need no further
support or control from the launch vehicle/platform in order to function. Another method is to use a TV
camera—using either visible light or infra-red—in order to see the target. The picture may be used either by a human
operator who steers the missile onto its target, or by a computer doing much the same job. Many missiles use a
combination of two or more of the above methods, to improve accuracy and the chances of a successful engagement.

Targeting systems
Another method is to target the missile by knowing the location of the target, and using a guidance system such as
INS, TERCOM or GPS. This guidance system guides the missile by knowing the missile's current position and the
position of the target, and then calculating a course between them. This job can also be performed somewhat crudely
by a human operator who can see the target and the missile, and guides it using either cable or radio based
remote-control, or by an automatic system that can simultaneously track the target and the missile.

Flight system
Whether a guided missile uses a targeting system, a guidance system or both, it needs a flight system. The flight
system uses the data from the targeting or guidance system to maneuver the missile in flight, allowing it to counter
inaccuracies in the missile or to follow a moving target. There are two main systems: vectored thrust (for missiles
that are powered throughout the guidance phase of their flight) and aerodynamic maneuvering (wings, fins, canards,

Missiles are powered by an engine, generally either a type of rocket or jet engine. Rockets are generally of the solid
fuel type for ease of maintenance and fast deployment, although some larger ballistic missiles use liquid fuel rockets.
Jet engines are generally used in cruise missiles, most commonly of the turbojet type, due to its relative simplicity
and low frontal area. Turbofans and ramjets are the only other common forms of jet engine propulsion, although any
type of engine could theoretically be used. Missiles often have multiple engine stages, particularly in those launched
from the ground. These stages may all be of similar types or may include a mix of engine types.
Missile 10

Missiles generally have one or more explosive warheads, although other weapon types may also be used. The
warhead or warheads of a missile provides its primary destructive power (many missiles have extensive secondary
destructive power due to the high kinetic energy of the weapon and unburnt fuel that may be on board). Warheads
are most commonly of the high explosive type, often employing shaped charges to exploit the accuracy of a guided
weapon to destroy hardened targets. Other warhead types include submunitions, incendiaries, nuclear weapons,
chemical, biological or radiological weapons or kinetic energy penetrators. Warheadless missiles are often used for
testing and training purposes.

Basic roles
Missiles are generally categorized by their launch platform and intended target. In broadest terms, these will either
be surface (ground or water) or air, and then sub-categorized by range and the exact target type (such as anti-tank or
anti-ship). Many weapons are designed to be launched from both surface or the air, and a few are designed to attack
either surface or air targets (such as the ADATS missile). Most weapons require some modification in order to be
launched from the air or ground, such as adding boosters to the ground launched version.



After the boost-stage, ballistic missiles follow a trajectory mainly

determined by ballistics. The guidance is for relatively small deviations
from that.
Ballistic missiles are largely used for land attack missions. Although
normally associated with nuclear weapons, some conventionally armed
ballistic missiles are in service, such as ATACMS. The V2 had
demonstrated that a ballistic missile could deliver a warhead to a target
city with no possibility of interception, and the introduction of nuclear
weapons meant it could do useful damage when it arrived. The
accuracy of these systems was fairly poor, but post-war development
by most military forces improved the basic inertial platform concept to
the point where it could be used as the guidance system on ICBMs
flying thousands of kilometers. Today the ballistic missile represents
the only strategic deterrent in most military forces, however some
Ballistic missiles are being adapted for conventional roles, such as the
A R-36 ballistic missile launch at a Soviet silo.
Russian Iskander or the Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile.
Ballistic missiles are primarily surface launched from mobile
launchers, silos, ships or submarines, with air launch being theoretically possible using a weapon such as the
canceled Skybolt missile.

The Russian Topol M (SS-27 Sickle B) is the fastest (7,320 m/sec) missile currently in service[1]
Missile 11

Cruise missile

The V1 had been successfully intercepted during World War II, but
this did not make the cruise missile concept entirely useless. After the
war, the US deployed a small number of nuclear-armed cruise missiles
in Germany, but these were considered to be of limited usefulness.
Continued research into much longer ranged and faster versions led to
the US's Navaho missile, and its Soviet counterparts, the Burya and
Buran cruise missile. However, these were rendered largely obsolete
by the ICBM, and none were used operationally. Shorter-range
developments have become widely used as highly accurate attack
United States Tomahawk cruise missile
systems, such as the US Tomahawk missile, the Russian Kh-55 the
German Taurus missile and the Pakistani Babur cruise missile.

Cruise missiles are generally associated with land attack operations, but also have an important role as anti-shipping
weapons. They are primarily launched from air, sea or submarine platforms in both roles, although land based
launchers also exist.


Another major German missile development project was the

anti-shipping class (such as the Fritz X and Henschel Hs 293), intended
to stop any attempt at a cross-channel invasion. However the British
were able to render their systems useless by jamming their radios, and
missiles with wire guidance were not ready by D-Day. After the war
the anti-shipping class slowly developed, and became a major class in
the 1960s with the introduction of the low-flying jet or rocket powered
cruise missiles known as "sea-skimmers". These became famous
during the Falklands War when an Argentine Exocet missile sank a
Royal Navy destroyer. The French Exocet missile in flight.

A number of anti-submarine missiles also exist; these generally use the

missile in order to deliver another weapon system such as a torpedo or depth charge to the location of the submarine,
at which point the other weapon will conduct the underwater phase of the mission.


By the end of WWII all forces had widely introduced unguided rockets
using HEAT warheads as their major anti-tank weapon (see
Panzerfaust, Bazooka). However these had a limited useful range of a
100 m or so, and the Germans were looking to extend this with the use
of a missile using wire guidance, the X-7. After the war this became a
major design class in the later 1950s, and by the 1960s had developed
into practically the only non-tank anti-tank system in general use.
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt, the 9M14
Malyutka (aka "Sagger") man-portable anti-tank missile proved potent U.S. Army soldiers firing an FGM-148 Javelin.
against Israeli tanks. While other guidance systems have been tried, the
basic reliability of wire-guidance means this will remain the primary means of controlling anti-tank missile in the
near future. Anti tank missiles may be launched from aircraft, vehicles or by ground troops in the case of smaller
Missile 12



By 1944 US and British air forces were sending huge air fleets over
occupied Europe, increasing the pressure on the Luftwaffe day and
night fighter forces. The Germans were keen to get some sort of useful
ground-based anti-aircraft system into operation. Several systems were
under development, but none had reached operational status before the
war's end. The US Navy also started missile research to deal with the
Kamikaze threat. By 1950 systems based on this early research started
to reach operational service, including the US Army's Nike Ajax, the
Navy's "3T's" (Talos, Terrier, Tartar), and soon followed by the Soviet
S-25 Berkut and S-75 Dvina and French and British systems.
Anti-aircraft weapons exist for virtually every possible launch
platform, with surface launched systems ranging from huge, self
propelled or ship mounted launchers to man portable systems.

MIM-104 Patriot missile being launched


Like most missiles, the Arrow missile, S-300, S-400 and MIM-104 Patriot are for
defense against short-range missiles and carry explosive warheads.
However, in the case of a large closing speed, a projectile without explosives is
used, just a collision is sufficient to destroy the target. See Missile Defense
Agency for the following systems being developed:
• Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI)
• Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) - a SM-3 missile with
Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Kinetic Warhead (KW)

Arrow missile

Soviet RS-82 rockets were successfully tested in combat at the Battle
of Khalkhin Gol in 1939.
German experience in WWII demonstrated that destroying a large
aircraft was quite difficult, and they had invested considerable effort
into air-to-air missile systems to do this. Their Me-262's jets often
carried R4M rockets, and other types of "bomber destroyer" aircraft
had unguided rockets as well. In the post-war period the R4M served
A F-22 fires an AIM-120 AMRAAM
Missile 13

as the pattern for a number of similar systems, used by almost all interceptor aircraft during the 1940s and '50s.
Lacking guidance systems, such rockets had to be carefully aimed at relatively close range to successfully hit the
target. The US Navy and USAF began deploying guided missiles in the early 1950s, most famous being the US
Navy's AIM-9 Sidewinder and USAF's AIM-4 Falcon. These systems have continued to advance, and modern air
warfare consists almost entirely of missile firing. In the Falklands War, less powerful British Harriers were able to
defeat faster Argentinian opponents using AIM-9G missiles provided by the United States as the conflict began. The
latest heat-seeking designs can lock onto a target from various angles, not just from behind, where the heat signature
from the engines is strongest. Other types rely on radar guidance (either on-board or "painted" by the launching
aircraft). Air to Air missiles also have a wide range of sizes, ranging from helicopter launched self defense weapons
with a range of a few kilometers, to long range weapons designed for interceptor aircraft such as the Vympel R-37.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Soviet designers started work on an
anti-satellite weapon, called the "Istrebitel Sputnik", which meant
literally, Interceptor of satellites, or Destroyer of satellites. After a
lengthy development process of roughly 20 years, it was finally
decided that testing of the Istrebitel Sputnik be canceled. Ironically,
this was when the U.S. started testing their own systems. From the mid
1970s onwards, the Soviets tested Directed-energy weapons with a
facility named Terra-3, although relatively underpowered to perform a
full anti-satellite attack, it was used to cause malfunctions on board the
Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984.[2] The proposed Brilliant Pebbles
defense system during the 1980s would use kinetic energy collisions
without explosives. Anti satellite weapons may be launched either by
an aircraft or a surface platform, depending on the design. To date,
only a few known tests have occurred.

ASM-135 ASAT missile launch on Sep. 13,

References 1985.

[1] "World’s military powers" (http:/ / www. independent. co. ug/ index. php/ reports/
world-report/ 74-world-report-/ 172-worlds-military-powers). The Independent. .
[2] http:/ / www. astronautix. com/ craft/ terra3. htm

External links
• S. A. Kamal, A. Mirza: The Multi-Stage-Q System and the Inverse-Q System for Possible application in SLV
(, Proc. IBCAST 2005, Volume 3, Control
and Simulation, Edited by Hussain SI, Munir A, Kiyani J, Samar R, Khan MA, National Center for Physics,
Bhurban, KP, Pakistan, 2006, pp 27–33 Free Full Text (
• S. A. Kamal: Incorporating Cross-Range Error in the Lambert Scheme (
drakamal/pub/confabst.htm#C67:), Proc. 10th National Aeronautical Conf., Edited by Sheikh SR, Khan AM,
Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur, KP, Pakistan, 2006, pp 255–263 Free Full Text (http://www.ngds-ku.
• S. A. Kamal: The Multi-Stage-Lambert Scheme for Steering a Satellite-Launch Vehicle (http://www10.brinkster.
com/drakamal/pub/confabst.htm#C72:), Proc. 12th IEEE INMIC, Edited by Anis MK, Khan MK, Zaidi SJH,
Bahria Univ., Karachi, Pakistan, 2008, pp 294–300 (invited paper) Free Full Text (
Intercontinental ballistic missile 14

Intercontinental ballistic missile

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile
with a long range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) typically
designed for nuclear weapons delivery (delivering one or more nuclear
warheads). Due to their great range and firepower, in an all-out nuclear
war, land-based and submarine-based ballistic missiles would carry
most of the destructive force, with nuclear-armed bombers having the

ICBMs are differentiated by having greater range and speed than other
ballistic missiles: intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs),
medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), short-range ballistic
missiles (SRBMs)—these shorter range ballistic missiles are known
collectively as theatre ballistic missiles. There is no single,
standardized definition of what ranges would be categorized as
intercontinental, intermediate, medium, or short.
Test launch of a LGM-25C Titan II ICBM from
With the advent of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles underground silo 395-Charlie at Vandenberg
(MIRVs) in 1970, deployed in Minuteman ICBMs and Poseidon AFB, during the mid 1960s

SLBMs,[1] a single missile had the capability of carrying several

warheads, each of which could strike a different target.
While the warheads of theater ballistic missiles are often conventional,
ICBMs have been nearly inseparable from their connection with
nuclear warheads. 'Nuclear ICBM' was seen as a redundant term.
Strategic planning avoided the concept of a conventionally tipped
ICBM, mainly because any ICBM launch threatens many countries and
they are expected to react under the worst-case assumption that it is a
nuclear attack. This threat of ICBMs to deliver such a lethal blow so
rapidly to targets across the globe means that there has never been any
end-to-end test of a nuclear-armed ICBM. The speed and range of an
ICBM means that it is the only means by which military action can be
taken promptly anywhere in the world, though the United States
Prompt Global Strike effort is designed to allow for similar flexibility
with conventional weapons.
A Minuteman III ICBM test launch from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, United
History States

World War II
The development of the world's first practical design for an ICBM, A9/10, intended for use in bombing New York
and other American cities, was undertaken in Nazi Germany by the team of Wernher von Braun under Projekt
Amerika. The ICBM A9/A10 rocket initially was intended to be guided by radio, but was changed to be a piloted
craft after the failure of Operation Elster. The second stage of the A9/A10 rocket was tested a few times in January
and February 1945. The progenitor of the A9/A10 was the German V-2 rocket, also designed by von Braun and
widely used at the end of World War II to bomb British and Belgian cities. All of these rockets used liquid
propellants. Following the war, von Braun and other leading German scientists were secretly forced to the United
Intercontinental ballistic missile 15

States to work directly for the U.S. Army through Operation Paperclip, developing the IRBMs, ICBMs, and

Cold War
In 1953, the USSR initiated, under the direction of the reactive
propulsion engineer Sergey Korolyov, a program to develop an ICBM.
Korolyov had constructed the R-1, a copy of the V-2 based on some
captured materials, but later developed his own distinct design. This
rocket, the R-7, was successfully tested in August 1957 becoming the
world's first ICBM and, on October 4, 1957, placed the first artificial
satellite in space, Sputnik.

The Soviet R-36(SS-18 Satan) is the largest

ICBM in history, with a Throw weight of 8,800
kg, twice that of Peacekeeper.

In the USA, competition between the U.S. armed services meant that
each force developed its own ICBM program. The U.S. initiated ICBM
research in 1946 with the MX-774. However, its funding was cancelled
and only three partially successful launches in 1948, of an intermediate
rocket, were ever conducted. In 1951, the U.S. began a new ICBM
program called MX-774 and B-65 (later renamed Atlas). The U.S.' first
successful ICBM, the 1.44-megaton Atlas D, was launched on July 29,
1959, almost two years after the Soviet R-7 flight.[2] [3]

Military units with deployed ICBM would first be fielded in 1959, in

both the Soviet Union and the United States. The R-7 and Atlas each
required a large launch facility, making them vulnerable to attack, and
could not be kept in a ready state. The first US base to host ICBMs was
F. E. Warren Air Force Base, in Wyoming;[4] [5] the base hosts an
ICBM and Heritage Museum.
U.S. Peacekeeper missile after silo launch.
These early ICBMs also formed the basis of many space launch
systems. Examples include Atlas, Redstone, Titan, R-7, and Proton, which was derived from the earlier ICBMs but
never deployed as an ICBM. The Eisenhower administration supported the development of solid-fueled missiles
such as the LGM-30 Minuteman, Polaris and Skybolt. Modern ICBMs tend to be smaller than their ancestors, due to
increased accuracy and smaller and lighter warheads, and use solid fuels, making them less useful as orbital launch

The Western view of the deployment of these systems was governed by the strategic theory of Mutual Assured
Destruction. In the 1950s and 1960s, development began on Anti-Ballistic Missile systems by both the U.S. and
USSR; these systems were restricted by the 1972 ABM treaty. The first successful ABM test were conducted by the
USSR in 1961, that later deployed a fully operating system defending Moscow in the 1970s (see Moscow ABM
Intercontinental ballistic missile 16

The 1972 SALT treaty froze the number of ICBM launchers of both the USA and the USSR at existing levels, and
allowed new submarine-based SLBM launchers only if an equal number of land-based ICBM launchers were
dismantled. Subsequent talks, called SALT II, were held from 1972 to 1979 and actually reduced the number of
nuclear warheads held by the USA and USSR. SALT II was never ratified by the United States Senate, but its terms
were nevertheless honored by both sides until 1986, when the Reagan administration "withdrew" after accusing the
USSR of violating the pact.
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative as well as the MX and Midgetman
ICBM programs.

Post–Cold War
In 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed in the START I treaty to reduce their deployed ICBMs and
attributed warheads.
As of 2009, all five of the nations with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council have operational
ICBM systems: all have submarine-launched missiles, and Russia, the United States and China also have land-based
missiles. In addition, Russia and China have mobile land-based missiles.
India is reported to be developing a new variant of the Agni missile, called the Agni V, which is reported to have a
strike range of more than 6,000 km.[6]
It is speculated by some intelligence agencies that North Korea is developing an ICBM;[7] two tests of somewhat
different developmental missiles in 1998 and 2006 were not fully successful.[8] [9] On April 5, 2009, North Korea
launched a missile. They claimed that it was to launch a satellite, but there is no proof to back up that claim.[10]
Most countries in the early stages of developing ICBMs have used liquid propellants, with the known exceptions
being the planned South African RSA-4 ICBM and the now in service Israeli Jericho 3.[11]

Flight phases
The following flight phases can be distinguished:
• boost phase: 3 to 5 minutes (shorter for a solid rocket than for a liquid-propellant rocket); altitude at the end of
this phase is typically 150 to 400 km depending on the trajectory chosen, typical burnout speed is 7 km/s.
• midcourse phase: approx. 25 minutes—sub-orbital spaceflight in an elliptic orbit; the orbit is part of an ellipse
with a vertical major axis; the apogee (halfway through the midcourse phase) is at an altitude of approximately
1,200 km; the semi-major axis is between 3,186 km and 6,372 km; the projection of the orbit on the Earth's
surface is close to a great circle, slightly displaced due to earth rotation during the time of flight; the missile may
release several independent warheads, and penetration aids such as metallic-coated balloons, aluminum chaff, and
full-scale warhead decoys.
• reentry phase (starting at an altitude of 100 km): 2 minutes—impact is at a speed of up to 4 km/s (for early
ICBMs less than 1 km/s); see also maneuverable reentry vehicle.
Intercontinental ballistic missile 17

Modern ICBMs
Modern ICBMs typically carry multiple
independently targetable reentry vehicles
(MIRVs), each of which carries a separate
nuclear warhead, allowing a single missile to hit
multiple targets. MIRV was an outgrowth of the
rapidly shrinking size and weight of modern
warheads and the Strategic Arms Limitation
Treaties which imposed limitations on the
number of launch vehicles (SALT I and SALT
II). It has also proved to be an "easy answer" to
proposed deployments of ABM systems—it is
far less expensive to add more warheads to an
existing missile system than to build an ABM
system capable of shooting down the additional
warheads; hence, most ABM system proposals
have been judged to be impractical. The first
operational ABM systems were deployed in the
U.S. during 1970s. Safeguard ABM facility was
located in North Dakota and was operational
External and cross sectional views of a Trident II D5 nuclear missile system.
from 1975–1976. The USSR deployed its It is a submarine launched missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear
Galosh ABM system around Moscow in the warheads up to 8,000 km. Trident missiles are carried by fourteen active US
1970s, which remains in service. Israel deployed Navy Ohio class submarines and four Royal Navy Vanguard class
a national ABM system based on the Arrow
missile in 1998,[12] but it is mainly designed to
intercept shorter-ranged theater ballistic missiles, not ICBMs. The U.S. Alaska-based National missile defense
system attained initial operational capability in 2004.[13]

ICBMs can be deployed from multiple

• in missile silos, which offer some
protection from military attack
(including, the designers hope, some
protection from a nuclear first strike)
• on submarines: submarine-launched
ballistic missiles (SLBMs); most or all
SLBMs have the long range of ICBMs
(as opposed to IRBMs)
• on heavy trucks; this applies to one
version of the RT-2UTTH Topol M
which may be deployed from a ICBMs can be deployed from TELs such as Topol.
self-propelled mobile launcher, capable
of moving through roadless terrain, and launching a missile from any point along its route
• mobile launchers on rails; this applies, for example, to РТ-23УТТХ "Молодец" (RT-23UTTH
"Molodets"—SS-24 "Sсаlреl")
The last three kinds are mobile and therefore hard to find.
Intercontinental ballistic missile 18

During storage, one of the most important features of the missile is its serviceability. One of the key features of the
first computer-controlled ICBM, the Minuteman missile, was that it could quickly and easily use its computer to test
In flight, a booster pushes the warhead and then falls away. Most modern boosters are solid-fueled rocket motors,
which can be stored easily for long periods of time. Early missiles used liquid-fueled rocket motors. Many
liquid-fueled ICBMs could not be kept fuelled all the time as the cryogenic liquid oxygen boiled off and caused ice
formation, and therefore fueling the rocket was necessary before launch. This procedure was a source of significant
operational delay, and might allow the missiles to be destroyed by enemy counterparts before they could be used. To
resolve this problem the British invented the missile silo that protected the missile from a first strike and also hid
fuelling operations underground.
Once the booster falls away, the warhead continues on an unpowered ballistic trajectory, much like an artillery shell
or cannon ball. The warhead is encased in a cone-shaped reentry vehicle and is difficult to detect in this phase of
flight as there is no rocket exhaust or other emissions to mark its position to defenders. The high speeds of the
warheads make them difficult to intercept and allow for little warning striking targets anywhere in the world within
Many authorities say that missiles also release aluminized balloons, electronic noisemakers, and other items intended
to confuse interception devices and radars (see penetration aid).
As the nuclear warhead reenters the Earth's atmosphere its high speed causes friction with the air, leading to a
dramatic rise in temperature which would destroy it if it were not shielded in some way. As a result, warhead
components are contained within an aluminium honeycomb substructure, sheathed in pyrolytic graphite-epoxy resin
composite, with a heat-shield layer on top which is constructed out of 3-Dimensional Quartz Phenolic.
Accuracy is crucial, because doubling the accuracy decreases the needed warhead energy by a factor of four.
Accuracy is limited by the accuracy of the navigation system and the available geophysical information.
Strategic missile systems are thought to use custom integrated circuits designed to calculate navigational differential
equations thousands to millions of times per second in order to reduce navigational errors caused by calculation
alone. These circuits are usually a network of binary addition circuits that continually recalculate the missile's
position. The inputs to the navigation circuit are set by a general purpose computer according to a navigational input
schedule loaded into the missile before launch.
One particular weapon developed by the Soviet Union (FOBS) had a partial orbital trajectory, and unlike most
ICBMs its target could not be deduced from its orbital flight path. It was decommissioned in compliance with arms
control agreements, which address the maximum range of ICBMs and prohibit orbital or fractional-orbital weapons.
Low-flying guided cruise missiles are an alternative to ballistic missiles.
Intercontinental ballistic missile 19

Specific missiles

Land-based ICBMs
Only Russia, the United States, and China
currently possess land-based ICBMs.[14]
The United States currently operates 450 ICBMs
in three USAF bases. The only model deployed
is LGM-30G Minuteman-III.
All previous USAF Minuteman II missiles have
been destroyed in accordance with START, and
their launch silos have been sealed or sold to the
public. To comply with the START II most U.S.
multiple independently targetable reentry
vehicles, or MIRVs, have been eliminated and
replaced with single warhead missiles. The
powerful MIRV-capable Peacekeeper missiles
were phased out in 2005.[15] However, since the Testing at the Kwajalein Atoll of the Peacekeeper re-entry vehicles, all eight
fired from only one missile. Each line, were its warhead live, represents the
abandonment of the START II treaty, the U.S. is potential explosive power of about 375 kilotons of TNT.
said to be considering retaining 800 warheads on
existing 450 missiles.[16]

China recently has developed several long range ICBM missiles.[17]

All current designs of submarine launched ballistic missiles have intercontinental range. Current operators of such
missiles are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France,India and China.

[1] "Call it suigenocide" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 1981/ 09/ 13/ books/ call-it-suigenocide. html). The New York Times. September 13, 1981.
. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
[2] Missile Threat: Atlas D (http:/ / www. missilethreat. com/ missilesoftheworld/ id. 15/ missile_detail. asp)
[3] Encyclopedia Astronautica: Atlas (http:/ / www. astronautix. com/ lvs/ atlas. htm)
[4] Lockheed Martin Press Release, October 9, 2009 (http:/ / www. lockheedmartin. com/ news/ press_releases/ 2009/ 1009_ss_ICBM. html)
[5] Airmen commemorate 50 years of nation's preeminent ICBM fleet, Air Force Base news, October 7, 2009 (http:/ / www. warren. af. mil/
news/ story. asp?id=123171695)
[6] Times of India: India plans 6,000-km range Agni-IV missile (http:/ / timesofindia. indiatimes. com/
India_plans_6000-km_range_Agni-IV_missile/ articleshow/ 2618413. cms)
[7] Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2) - North Korea (http:/ / www. fas. org/ nuke/ guide/ dprk/ missile/ td-2. htm)
[8] (http:/ / edition. cnn. com/ 2006/ WORLD/ asiapcf/ 07/ 04/ korea. missile/ )
[9] (http:/ / www. cnn. com/ 2006/ WORLD/ asiapcf/ 07/ 05/ korea. missile/ index. html)
[10] (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ asia-pacific/ 7982874. stm)
[11] (http:/ / www. astronautix. com/ lvfam/ jericho. htm)
[12] Israeli Arrow ABM System is Operational as War Clouds Darken (http:/ / www. ishitech. co. il/ 1102ar1. htm)
[13] (http:/ / www. missilethreat. com/ systems/ fort_greely. html)
[14] (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 290047/ ICBM)
[15] Peacekeeper missile mission ends during ceremony (http:/ / www. af. mil/ news/ story. asp?storyID=123011845)
[16] Nuclear Notebook: U.S. and Soviet/Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles, 1959–2008 (http:/ / thebulletin. metapress. com/ content/
037qk4866n431045/ fulltext. pdf) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (http:/ / thebulletin. org), January/February 2009
[17] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ DF-31
Intercontinental ballistic missile 20

External links
• Ballistic missile characters (
• Estimated Strategic Nuclear Weapons Inventories (September 2004) (
• Intercontinental Ballistic and Cruise Missiles (
• "A Tale of Two Airplanes" ( by Kingdon R. "King" Hawes, Lt Col, USAF (Ret.)

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent
operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a
submersible, which has only limited underwater
capability. The term submarine most commonly refers to
large crewed autonomous vessels; however, historically
or colloquially, submarine can also refer to medium sized
or smaller vessels (midget submarines, wet subs),
remotely operated vehicles or robots.

The word submarine was originally an adjective meaning

"under the sea"; consequently other uses such as
"submarine engineering" or "submarine cable" may not
A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Oyashio-class submarine in
actually refer at all to the vessel. Submarine was in fact 2006
shortened from the proper term, "submarine boat", and is
often further shortened to "sub" when the word is employed informally. Submarines should always be referred to as
"boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size. The English term U-boat for a German submarine comes from
the German word for submarine, U-Boot, itself an abbreviation for Unterseeboot ("undersea boat").

Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century, and
they were adopted by several different navies. Submarines were first widely used during World War I (1914–1918)
and now feature in many large navies. Military usage includes attacking enemy surface ships or submarines, aircraft
carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force, reconnaissance,
conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for
submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be
modified to perform more specialized functions such as search-and-rescue missions or undersea cable repair.
Submarines are employed, too, in tourism and for undersea archaeology.
Most large submarines comprise a cylindrical body with hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure,
usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern
submarines this structure is the "sail" in American usage, and "fin" in European usage. A "conning tower" was a
feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter
periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear and various hydrodynamic control fins as well as ballast
tanks. Smaller, deep diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout.
Submarines have one of the largest ranges of capabilities in any vessel, ranging from small autonomous examples to
one- or two-person vessels operating for a few hours, to vessels which can remain submerged for 6 months such as
the Russian Typhoon class - the biggest submarine in use and built. Submarines can work at greater depths than are
survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep diving submarines are derived from the bathyscaphe, which
in turn was an evolution of the diving bell.
Submarine 21

History of submarines

Early history of submarines and the first submersibles

The first submersible with reliable information on its construction was
built in 1620 by Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, a Dutchman in the
service of James I of England. It was created to the standards of the
design outlined by English mathematician William Bourne. It was
propelled by means of oars. The precise nature of the submarine type is
a matter of some controversy; some claim that it was merely a bell
towed by a boat. Two improved types were tested in the Thames
between 1620 and 1624. In 2002 a two-person version of Bourne's
design was built for the BBC TV programme Building the Impossible The Drebbel, the first navigable submarine
by Mark Edwards, and successfully rowed under water at Dorney
Lake, Eton.

Though the first submersible vehicles were tools for exploring under water, it did not take long for inventors to
recognize their military potential. The strategic advantages of submarines were set out by Bishop John Wilkins of
Chester, England, in Mathematicall Magick in 1648:
1. Tis private: a man may thus go to any coast in the world invisibly, without discovery or prevented in his
2. Tis safe, from the uncertainty of Tides, and the violence of Tempests, which do never move the sea above five
or six paces deep. From Pirates and Robbers which do so infest other voyages; from ice and great frost, which
do so much endanger the passages towards the Poles.
3. It may be of great advantages against a Navy of enemies, who by this may be undermined in the water and
blown up.
4. It may be of special use for the relief of any place besieged by water, to convey unto them invisible supplies;
and so likewise for the surprisal of any place that is accessible by water.
5. It may be of unspeakable benefit for submarine experiments.

First military submarines

The first military submarine was Turtle (1775), a hand-powered acorn-shaped
device designed by the American David Bushnell to accommodate a single
person. It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater
operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion. During the
American Revolutionary War, Turtle (operated by Sgt. Ezra Lee, Continental
Army) tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the
blockaders in New York harbor on September 7, 1776.[1]

A replica of the Turtle

(submarine)Turtle on display at the
Royal Navy Submarine Museum,
Submarine 22

In 1800, France built a human-powered submarine designed by

American Robert Fulton, the Nautilus. The French eventually gave up
on the experiment in 1804, as did the British when they later
considered Fulton's submarine design.
During the War of 1812, in 1814, Silas Halsey lost his life while using
a submarine in an unsuccessful attack on a British warship stationed in
New London harbor.
The Submarino Hipopótamo was the first submarine in South America
The Nautilus (1800)
built and tested in Ecuador on September 18, 1837. It was designed by
Jose Rodriguez Lavandera, who successfully crossed the Guayas River
in Guayaquil accompanied by Jose Quevedo. Rodriguez Lavandera had enrolled in the Ecuadorian Navy in 1823,
becoming a Lieutenant by 1830. The Hipopotamo crossed the Guayas on two more occasions, but it was then
abandoned because of lack of funding and interest from the government. Today, few engravings[2] and a scale model
of the original design is preserved by the Maritime Museum of the Ecuadorian Navy[3] .

In 1851, a Bavarian artillery corporal, Wilhelm Bauer, took a submarine designed by him called the Brandtaucher
(incendiary-diver), which sank on its first test dive in Kiel Harbour—but its three crewmen managed to escape, after
flooding the vessel, which allowed the inside pressure to equalize.[4] This submarine was built by August Howaldt
and powered by a treadwheel. The submarine was re-discovered during a dredging operation 1887, and was raised
sixteen years later. The vessel is on display in a museum in Dresden.
The submarine Flach was commissioned in 1865 by the Chilean government during the war of Chile and Peru
against Spain (1864–1866). It was built by the German engineer Karl Flach. The submarine sank during tests in
Valparaiso bay on May 3, 1866, with the entire eleven-man crew.

Submarines in the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union was the first to field a
submarine. The French-designed Alligator was the first U.S. Navy sub
and the first to feature compressed air (for air supply) and an air
filtration system. Initially hand-powered by oars, it was converted after
6 months to a screw propeller powered by a hand crank. With a crew of
20, it was larger than Confederate submarines. Alligator was 47 feet
(14.3 m) long and about 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. It was lost in a
storm off Cape Hatteras on April 1, 1863 with no crew and under tow
to its first combat deployment at Charleston.[5]

The Confederate States of America fielded several human-powered

submarines. The first Confederate submarine was the 30-foot (9 m)
long Pioneer which sank a target schooner using a towed mine during The 1862 Alligator, first submarine of the US
tests on Lake Pontchartrain, but was not used in combat. It was scuttled Navy, was developed in conjunction with the
after New Orleans was captured and in 1868 was raised and sold for
scrap. The Bayou St. John Confederate Submarine was also scuttled
without seeing combat, and is now on display at the Louisiana State Museum.
Submarine 23

The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley (named for one of its

financiers, Horace Lawson Hunley) was intended for attacking
the North's ships, which were blockading the South's seaports.
The submarine had a long pole with an explosive charge in the
bow, called a spar torpedo. The sub had to approach an enemy
vessel, attach an explosive, move away, and then detonate it.
The sub was extremely hazardous to operate, and had no air
supply other than what was contained inside the main
Confederate H.L. Hunley
compartment. On two occasions, the sub sank. On the first
occasion half the crew died during an experimental voyage. On
the second occasion, February 17, 1864, the salvaged and renovated vessel, now named CSS Hunley, sank the USS
Housatonic off Charleston Harbor. Soon after signaling its success the submarine sank due to unknown cause; the
entire eight-man crew (including Hunley himself) drowned. Submarines did not have a major impact on the outcome
of the war, but did portend their future importance to naval warfare and increased interest in their use in naval
warfare. The location of Hunley was unknown until it was officially found in 1995,[6] and was then recovered in
2000. The sinking of the USS Housatonic by CSS Hunley was the first successful submarine attack on a warship.[7]

Mechanically powered submarines, late 19th century

The first submarine not relying on human power for propulsion was the
French Plongeur (meaning diver), launched in 1863, and using
compressed air at 180 psi (1241 kPa).[8]
The first combustion-powered submarine was Ictineo II, designed in
Spain by Narcís Monturiol. Originally launched in 1864 as
human-powered, propelled by 16,[8] it was converted to peroxide Plongeur
propulsion and steam in 1867. The 14 meter (46 ft) craft was designed
for a crew of two, could dive to 30 metres (96 ft), and demonstrated dives of two hours. On the surface it ran on a
steam engine, but underwater such an engine would quickly consume the submarine's oxygen; so Monturiol invented
an air-independent propulsion system. While the air-independent power system drove the screw, the chemical
process driving it also released oxygen into the hull for the crew and an auxiliary steam engine. Monturiol's fully
functional, double hulled vessels also solved pressure and buoyancy control problems that had bedeviled earlier

In 1870, the French writer Jules Verne, inspired by the recent efforts of
Monturiol and of his own navy, published the science fiction classic
20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which concerns the adventures of a
maverick inventor of the Nautilus, a submarine more advanced than
any at the time. An international success, the story encouraged
inventors around the world to work towards making such a vehicle a

Replica of Ictineo II, Barcelona

Submarine 24

In 1879, the Peruvian government, during the War of the Pacific,

commissioned and built the fully operational submarine Toro
Submarino. It never saw military action before being scuttled by the
Peruvians after their defeat in the war to prevent its capture by the
The first submarine to be mass-produced was human-powered. It was
Design of the Peruvian Toro, the first fully
the submarine of the Polish inventor Stefan Drzewiecki—50 units were functional submarine built in Latin America.
built in 1881 for the Russian government. In 1884 the same inventor
built an electric-powered submarine.
Discussions between the English clergyman and inventor George
Garrett and the industrially and commercially adept Swede Thorsten
Nordenfelt led to a series of steam-powered submarines. The first was
the Nordenfelt I, a 56 tonne, 19.5 metre (64 ft) vessel similar to
Garret's ill-fated Resurgam (1879), with a range of 240 kilometres
(150 mi, 130 nm), armed with a single torpedo, in 1885. Like The Nordenfelt-designed, Ottoman submarine
Resurgam, Nordenfelt I operated on the surface by steam, then shut
down its engine to dive. While submerged the submarine released
pressure generated when the engine was running on the surface to provide propulsion for some distance underwater.
Greece, fearful of the return of the Ottomans, purchased it. Nordenfelt then built Nordenfelt II (Abdülhamid) in 1886
and Nordenfelt III (Abdülmecid) in 1887, a pair of 30 metre (100 ft) submarines with twin torpedo tubes, for the
Ottoman navy. Abdülhamid became the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo submerged.[9] Nordenfelt's efforts
culminated in 1887 with Nordenfelt IV which had twin motors and twin torpedoes. It was sold to the Russians, but
proved unstable, ran aground, and was scrapped.

Two submarines, both launched in September 1888, marked the

maturing of naval submarine technology.
One was the Peral Submarine, launched by the Spanish Navy. It had
two torpedoes, new air systems, hull shape, propeller, and cruciform
external controls anticipating much later designs. After two years of
trials the project was scrapped by naval officialdom that cited concerns
over the short range permitted by its batteries.
Peral submarine hull, Cartagena
The other was the Gymnote, launched by the French Navy. Gymnote
was also an electrically powered and fully functional military
submarine. It completed over 2,000 successful dives using a 204-cell battery.[10] Although she was scrapped for her
limited range her side hydroplanes became the standard for future submarine designs.
Many more designs were built at this time by various inventors, but submarines were not put into service by navies
until 1900.

End of the 19th century to the Russo-Japanese War

The turn of the 20th century marked a pivotal time in the development of submarines, with a number of important
technologies making their debut, as well as the widespread adoption and fielding of submarines by a number of
nations. Diesel electric propulsion would become the dominant power system and equipment such as the periscope
would become standardized. Large numbers of experiments were done by countries on effective tactics and weapons
for submarines, all of which would culminate in them making a large impact on the coming World War I.
Submarine 25

In 1896, the Irish-American inventor John Philip Holland (1841–1914,

born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland) designed submarines that,
for the first time, made use of internal combustion engine power on the
surface and electric battery power for submerged operations. The
'Fenian Ram', in 1881, was the launching the world's first successful
submarine. The Holland VI was launched on May 17, 1897 at Navy Lt.
Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard of Elizabeth, New Jersey. On April
11, 1900 the United States Navy purchased the revolutionary Holland
VI and renamed it the USS Holland (SS-1), America's first
commissioned submarine. (John P. Holland's company, the Holland USS Plunger, launched in 1902

Torpedo Boat Company/Electric Boat Company became General

Dynamics "Cold War" progeny and is arguably the builder of the world's most technologically advanced submarines

Commissioned in June 1900, the French steam and electric Narval introduced the classic double-hull design, with a
pressure hull inside the outer shell. These 200-ton ships had a range of over 100 miles (160km) underwater. The
French submarine Aigrette in 1904 further improved the concept by using a diesel rather than a gasoline engine for
surface power. Large numbers of these submarines were built, with seventy-six completed before 1914.

Submarines during the Russo-Japanese War

The first mechanically powered series of submarines to be put into service by navies, which included Great Britain,
Japan, Russia, and the United States, were the Holland submersibles built by Irish designer John Philip Holland in
1900.[11] Several of each of them were retained in both the Imperial Russian and Japanese Navies during the
Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905.
The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) started their submarine service with five Holland Type VII submarines purchased
from the Electric Boat Company in 1904. The five vessels were delivered in sections, arriving in Japan on 14 June
1904. After re-assembly, the five Hollands were ready for combat operations in August 1905,[12] but the
Russo-Japanese War was nearing its end by that date, and no IJN submarines would see action in that war.
The first submarines built in Japan were constructed by Kawasaki beginning in 1904. The Kaigun Holland Type #6
and #7 were each launched on 28 September but a year apart, in 1905 and 1906 respectively. Both submarines were
modified versions of the original imported Hollands. However, while the original vessels had each displaced over a
100 tons submerged, and were approximately 67' long and 11' wide; the Kawasaki boats displaced only 63/95 tons
submerged, and measured 73'/84' by 7' respectively for the number 6 & 7 submarines. The Kawasaki machines had
increased horse-power by 1/2, and reduced fuel consumption by 1/4, but could only launch one 18" torpedo and
carried 14 men, while the Hollands could fire two 18" torpedoes and operate with only 13 crewmen.[13] The Kaigun
Holland #6 submarine has been preserved as a memorial at Kure, Japan.[14]
The Imperial Russian Navy (IRN) preferred the German constructed submersibles built by the Germaniawerft
shipyards out of Kiel. In 1903 Germany successfully completed its first fully functional engine-powered submarine,
the Forelle (Trout).[15] This vessel was sold to Russia in 1904 and shipped via the Trans-Siberian Railway to the
combat zone during the Russo-Japanese War.[16] In 1901 two IRN Lieutenants, Kolbasieff and Kuteinoff designed
and built the electric submarine Piotr Koschka which was operated by bicycle pedals, but no other versions were
built. During the final weeks of the Port Arthur siege in 1904, the IRN attempted to place the Piotr Koschka into
operation, her bicycle pedals having been replaced by an automobile engine. But the attempt to deploy the submarine
into the Port Arthur battle was unsuccessful.[17]
A prototype version of the Plunger-class or A-class submarines, the Fulton, was developed at Nixon's Crescent
Shipyard for the United States Navy before the construction of the A-class submarines there in 1901. A naval
Submarine 26

architect and shipbuilder from the United Kingdom, Arthur Leopold Busch, superintended the development of these
first submarines for Holland's company. However the Fulton was never purchased by the U.S. Navy and was
eventually sold to the Imperial Russian Navy during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Two other A-class
vessels were built on the West Coast of (USA) at Mare Island Naval Shipyard/Union Iron Works circa 1901. In
1902, Holland received a patent for his persistent pursuit to perfect the underwater naval craft. By this time, Holland
was no longer in control of the day-to-day operations at Electric Boat, as others were now at the helm of the
company he once founded. The acumen of business were now in control of these operations as Holland was forced to
step down. His resignation from the company was to be effective as of April 1904.[18]
Due to the blockade at Port Arthur, Russia sent the remainder of their
submarines to Vladivostok, where by 01 January 1905 there were
seven boats, enough to create the world's first "operational submarine
fleet." The new submarine fleet sent out its first patrol on 14 February,
usually lasting for about 24 hours. The first confrontation with
Japanese warships occurred on 29 April 1905 when the IRN sub Som
was fired upon by IJN torpedo boats, but then withdrew.[19]
The 1900 French submarine Narval
In 1904, the Imperial Russian Navy ordered several more submersibles
from the Kiel shipyard, submarines from the Karp class. One sample of which was modified and improved, and
commissioned into the Imperial German Navy in 1906 as its first U-Boat, the U-1.[16] U-1 was retired from service
in 1919, and is currently preserved and on display in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.[20]

Submarines during World War I

Military submarines first made a significant impact in World War I.
Forces such as the U-boats of Germany saw action in the First Battle of
the Atlantic, and were responsible for the sinking of Lusitania, which
was sunk as a result of unrestricted submarine warfare and is often
cited among the reasons for the entry of the United States into the
war.[21] The German submarine U-9, which sank three
British cruisers in a few minutes in September
In August 1914, a flotilla of ten U-boats sailed from their base in
Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea in the first
submarine war patrol in history.[22] Their aim was to sink capital ships
of the British Grand Fleet, and so reduce the Grand Fleet's numerical superiority over the German High Seas Fleet.
With much depending more on luck than strategy, the first sortie was not a success. Only one attack was carried out,
when U-15 fired a torpedo (which missed) at HMS Monarch, while two of the ten U-boats were lost. The U-9 had
better luck. On 22 September 1914 while patrolling the Broad Fourteens, a region of the southern North Sea, U-9
found a squadron of three obsolescent British Cressy-class armoured cruisers (HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue, and
HMS Cressy), which were assigned to prevent German surface vessels from entering the eastern end of the English
Channel. She fired all six of her torpedoes, reloading while submerged, and sank all three in less than an hour.

The U-boats' ability to function as practical war machines relied on

new tactics, their numbers, and submarine technologies such as
combination diesel-electric power system developed in the preceding
years. More submersibles than true submarines, U-boats operated
primarily on the surface using regular engines, submerging
occasionally to attack under battery power. They were roughly
German U-boat U 14
Submarine 27

triangular in cross-section, with a distinct keel to control rolling while surfaced, and a distinct bow. During World
War I more than 5,000 Allied ships were sunk by U-boats.[23]

Interwar developments
Various new submarine designs were developed during the interwar years. Among the most notorious ones were
submarine aircraft carriers, equipped with a waterproof hangar and steam catapult to launch and recover one or more
small seaplanes. The submarine and its plane could then act as a reconnaissance unit ahead of the fleet, an essential
role at a time when radar still did not exist. The first example was the British HMS M2, followed by the French
Surcouf, and numerous aircraft-carrying submarines in the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Submarines during World War II


Germany had the largest submarine fleet during World War II. Due to
the Treaty of Versailles limiting the surface navy, the rebuilding of the
German surface forces had only begun in earnest a year before the
outbreak of World War II. Expecting to be able to defeat the Royal
Navy through underwater warfare, the German High Command
pursued commerce raiding and immediately stopped all construction
on capital surface ships save the nearly completed Bismarck-class
battleships and two cruisers, switching its resources to submarines,
which could be built more quickly. Though it took most of 1940 to
expand the production facilities and get the mass production started, German U-175 Submarine on the surface
more than a thousand submarines were built by the end of the war.

Germany put submarines to devastating effect in the Second Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, attempting but
ultimately failing to cut off Britain's supply routes by sinking more merchant ships than Britain could replace. The
supply lines were vital to Britain for food and industry, as well as armaments from the US. Although the U-boats had
been updated in the intervening years, the major innovation was improved communications, encrypted using the
famous Enigma cipher machine. This allowed for mass-attack tactics or "wolf packs" (Rudeltaktik), but was also
ultimately the U-boats' downfall.

After putting to sea, U-boats operated mostly on their own, trying to find convoys in areas assigned to them by the
High Command. If a convoy was found, the submarine did not attack immediately, but shadowed the convoy to
allow other submarines in the area to find the convoy. These were then grouped into a larger striking force to attack
the convoy simultaneously, preferably at night while surfaced.
From September 1939 to the beginning of 1943, the Ubootwaffe ("U-boat force") scored unprecedented success with
these tactics, but were too few to have any decisive success. By the spring of 1943, German U-boat construction was
at full capacity, but this was more than nullified by increased numbers of convoy escorts and aircraft, as well as
technical advances like radar and sonar. Huff-Duff and Ultra allowed the Allies to route convoys around wolf packs
when they detected them from their radio transmissions. The results were devastating: from March to July of that
year, over 130 U-boats were lost, 41 in May alone. Concurrent Allied losses dropped dramatically, from
750,000 tons in March to only 188,000 in July. Although the Second battle of the Atlantic would continue to the last
day of the war, the U-boat arm was unable to stem the tide of personnel and supplies, paving the way for Operation
Torch, Operation Husky, and ultimately, D-Day. Winston Churchill wrote that the U-boat "peril" was the only thing
that ever gave him cause to doubt the Allies' eventual victory.
By the end of the war, almost 3,000 Allied ships (175 warships; 2,825 merchant ships) were sunk by U-boat
torpedoes.[24] Of the 40,000 men in the U-boat service, 28,000 (or 70%) lost their lives.
Submarine 28


During World War II, the IJN operated the most varied fleet of
submarines of any navy; including Kaiten crewed torpedoes, midget
submarines (Ko-hyoteki and Kairyu), medium-range submarines,
purpose-built supply submarines and long-range fleet submarines.
They also had submarines with the highest submerged speeds during The Imperial Japanese Navy's I-400-class
World War II (I-200-class submarines) and submarines that could carry submarine, the largest submarine type of WWII
multiple aircraft (I-400-class submarine). They were also equipped
with one of the most advanced torpedoes of the conflict, the oxygen-propelled Type 95.

Nevertheless, despite their technical prowess, Japan had chosen to utilize its submarines for fleet warfare, and
consequently were relatively unsuccessful, as warships were fast, maneuverable and well-defended compared to
merchant ships. In 1942, a Japanese submarine sank one aircraft carrier, damaged one battleship, and damaged one
destroyer (which sank later) from one torpedo salvo; and during the Battle of Midway were able to deliver the coup
de grace to another fleet aircraft carrier, again, sinking another destroyer, for another multiple score from one salvo.
But with the lack of fuel oil and air supremacy, Imperial submarines were not able to sustain those kind of results
afterwards. By the end of the war, submarines were instead often relegated to transport supplies to island garrisons.

United States

The United States Navy considers its submarines as boats[25] and uses
its submarine force to attack both war- and merchant ships; and
destroyed more Japanese shipping, than all other weapons combined.
This feat was considerably aided by the Imperial Japanese Navy's
failure to provide adequate escort forces for the nation's merchant fleet.
Whereas Japan had the finest submarine torpedoes of the war, the U.S.
Navy had the worst: the Mark 14 torpedo ran ten feet too deep on
average and was tipped with a Mk VI exploder with both magnetic Tang off Mare Island in 1943.

influence and contact features, neither reliable. The faulty depth

control mechanism of the Mark 14 was corrected in August 1942, but field trials for the exploders were not ordered
until mid-1943, when tests in Hawaii and Australia confirmed the flaws. In addition, the Mark 14 suffered circular
runs, which sank at least one U.S. submarine, Tullibee.[26] Fully operational Mark 14 torpedoes were not put into
service until September 1943. The Mark 15 torpedo used by U.S. surface combatants had the same Mk VI exploder
and was not fixed until late 1943. One attempt to correct the problems resulted in a wakeless, electric torpedo (the
Mark 18) being placed in submarine service; Tang was lost to a circular by one of these torpedoes.[27] Given the
prevalence of circulars, there were probably other losses among boats which simply disappeared.[28]

During World War II, 314 submarines served in the United States Navy, of which nearly 260 were deployed to the
Pacific.[29] On December 7, 1941, 111 boats were in commission; 203 submarines from the Gato, Balao, and Tench
classes were commissioned during the war. During the war, 52 US submarines were lost to all causes, with 48
directly due to hostilities;[30] 3,505[29] [31] sailors were lost, the highest percentage killed in action of any US service
arm in World War II. U.S. submarines sank 1,560 enemy vessels,[29] a total tonnage of 5.3 million tons (55% of the
total sunk),[32] including 8 aircraft carriers, a battleship, three heavy cruisers, and over 200 other warships.[33] In
addition, the Japanese merchant marine lost 16,200 sailors killed and 53,400 wounded, of some 122,000 at the start
of the war, due to submarines.[34]
Submarine 29

United Kingdom

The Royal Navy Submarine Service was primarily used to enforce the
classic British blockade role. It therefore chiefly operated in inshore
waters and tended to only surface by night.
Its major operating areas were around Norway, the Mediterranean
(against the Axis supply routes to North Africa), and in the Far East.
Royal Navy submarines operating out of Trincomalee and Australia
were a constant threat to Japanese shipping passing through the
Malacca Straits.
The British submarine HMS Venturer.
In the war British submarines sank 2 million tons of enemy shipping
and 57 major warships, the latter including 35 submarines. Among
these is the only documented instance of a submarine sinking another submarine while both were submerged. This
occurred when HMS Venturer engaged the U864; the Venturer crew manually computed a successful firing solution
against a three-dimensionally manoeveuring target using techniques which became the basis of modern torpedo
computer targeting systems. Seventy-four British submarines were lost,[35] the majority, 42, in the Mediterranean.

The snorkel

Diesel-electric submarines need air to run their diesel engines, and so

carried very large batteries for submerged operation. The need to
recharge the batteries from the diesel engines limited the endurance of
the submarine while submerged and required it to surface regularly for
extended periods, during which it was especially vulnerable to
detection and attack. The snorkel, a pre-war Dutch invention, was used
to allow German submarines to run their diesel engines whilst running
just under the surface, drawing air through a tube from the surface.

The German Navy also experimented with engines that would use The diesel engines on HMS Ocelot charged the
hydrogen peroxide to allow diesel fuel to be used while submerged, but batteries located beneath the decking.
technical difficulties were great. The Allies experimented with a
variety of detection systems, including chemical sensors to "smell" the exhaust of submarines.
Cold-war diesel-electric submarines, such as the Oberon class, used batteries to power their electric motors in order
to run silently. They recharged the batteries using the diesel engines without ever surfacing.

Modern military submarines

The first launch of a cruise missile (SSM-N-8 Regulus) from a submarine occurred in July 1953 from the deck of
USS Tunny, a World War II fleet boat modified to carry this missile with a nuclear warhead. Tunny and her sister
boat Barbero were the United States's first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines. They were joined in 1958 by two
purpose built Regulus submarines, Grayback, Growler, and, later, by the nuclear powered Halibut.
In the 1950s, nuclear power partially replaced diesel-electric propulsion. Equipment was also developed to extract
oxygen from sea water. These two innovations gave submarines the ability to remain submerged for weeks or
months, and enabled previously impossible voyages such as USS Nautilus' crossing of the North pole beneath the
Arctic ice cap in 1958[36] and the USS Triton's submerged circumnavigation of the world in 1960.[37] Most of the
naval submarines built since that time in the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia have been powered by
nuclear reactors. The limiting factors in submerged endurance for these vessels are food supply and crew morale in
the space-limited submarine.
Submarine 30

In 1959–1960, the first ballistic missile submarines were put into service by both the United States (George
Washington class) and the Soviet Union (Hotel class) as part of the Cold War nuclear deterrent strategy.
While the greater endurance and performance from nuclear reactors makes nuclear submarines better for
long-distance missions or the protection of a carrier battle group, their reactor cooling pumps have traditionally made
them noisier, and thus easier to detect, than conventional diesel-electric submarines. Diesel-electrics have continued
to be produced by both nuclear and non-nuclear powers as they lack this limitation, except when required to run the
diesel engine to recharge the ship’s battery. Recent technological advances in sound damping, noise isolation, and
cancellation have made nuclear subs quieter and substantially eroded this disadvantage. Though far less capable
regarding speed and weapons payload, conventional submarines are also cheaper to build. The introduction of
air-independent propulsion boats, conventional diesel-electric submarines with some kind of auxiliary
air-independent electricity generator, have led to increased sales of such types of submarines.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union
maintained large submarine fleets that engaged in cat-and-mouse
games. The Soviet Union suffered the loss of at least four submarines
during this period: K-129 was lost in 1968 (which the CIA attempted to
retrieve from the ocean floor with the Howard Hughes-designed ship
Glomar Explorer), K-8 in 1970, K-219 in 1986, and Komsomolets in
1989 (which held a depth record among military
submarines—1000 m). Many other Soviet subs, such as K-19 (the first
Soviet nuclear submarine, and the first Soviet sub to reach the North Nuclear powered Los Angeles-class submarines
form the backbone of the United States
Pole) were badly damaged by fire or radiation leaks. The US lost two
submarine fleet.
nuclear submarines during this time: USS Thresher due to equipment
failure during a test dive while at its operational limit, and USS
Scorpion due to unknown causes.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Pakistan Navy's Hangor sank the Indian frigate INS Khukri. This was
the first kill by a submarine since World War II, and the only one until the United Kingdom employed
nuclear-powered submarines against Argentina in 1982 during the Falklands War. The Argentine cruiser General
Belgrano was sunk by HMS Conqueror (the first sinking by a nuclear-powered submarine in war). The PNS Ghazi,
a Tench-class submarine on loan to Pakistan from the US, was sunk in the Indo-Pakistani War. It was the first
submarine casualty since World War II during war time.

More recently, Russia has had three high profile submarine accidents. The Kursk went down with all hands in 2000;
the K-159 sank while being towed to a scrapyard in 2003, with nine lives lost; and the Nerpa had an accident with
the fire-extinguishing system resulting in twenty deaths in late 2008.
India launched its first locally built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant, on July 26, 2009.[38]
A North Korean submarine's torpedo allegedly sank the South Korean navy ship ROKS Cheonan on 26 March
Submarine 31

Polar Operations
• 1903 - Simon Lake submarine Protector surfaced through ice off
Newport, Rhode Island.[40]
• 1930 - USS O-12 operated under ice near Spitsbergen.[40]
• 1937 - Soviet submarine Krasnogvardeyets operated under ice in the
Denmark Strait.[40]
• 1941-45 - German U-boats operated under ice from the Barents Sea
to the Laptev Sea.[40]
• 1946 - USS Atule used upward-beamed fathometer in Operation
US Navy attack submarine USS Annapolis rests
Nanook in the Davis Strait.[40]
in the Arctic Ocean after surfacing through three
• 1946-47 - USS Sennet used under-ice SONAR in Operation High feet of ice during Ice Exercise 2009 on March 21,
Jump in the Antarctic.[40] 2009.

• 1947 - USS Boarfish used upward-beamed echo sounder under pack

ice in the Chukchi Sea.[40]
• 1948 - USS Carp developed techniques for making vertical ascents and descents through polynyas in the Chukchi
• 1952 - USS Redfish used an expanded upward-beamed sounder array in the Beaufort Sea.[40]
• 1957 - USS Nautilus reached 87 degrees north near Spitsbergen.[40]
• 3 August 1958 - Nautilus used an inertial navigation system to reach the North Pole.[40]
• 17 March 1959 - USS Skate surfaced through the ice at the north pole.[40]
• 1960 - USS Sargo transited 900 miles (1400 km) under ice over the shallow (125 to 180 feet/38 to 55 metres
deep) Bering-Chukchi shelf.[40]
• 1960 - USS Seadragon transited the Northwest Passage under ice.[40]
• 1962 - Soviet November-class submarine Leninskiy Komsomol reached the north pole.[40]
• 1970 - USS Queenfish carried out an extensive undersea mapping survey of the Siberian continental shelf.[41]
• 1971 - HMS Dreadnought reached the North Pole.[40]
• 6 May 1986 - USS Ray, USS Archerfish and USS Hawkbill meet and surface together at the Geographic North
Pole. First multi-submarine surfacing at the Pole.
• 19 May 1987 - HMS Superb joined USS Billfish and USS Sea Devil at the North Pole. The first time British and
Americans met at the North Pole.
• March 2007 - USS Alexandria participated in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in
the Arctic Ocean with the Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Tireless.
• March 2009 - USS Annapolis took part in Ice Exercise 2009 to test submarine operability and war-fighting
capability in Arctic conditions.

Military uses
Before and during World War II, the primary role of the submarine
was anti-surface ship warfare. Submarines would attack either on the
surface or submerged, using torpedoes or (on the surface) deck guns.
They were particularly effective in sinking Allied transatlantic
shipping in both World Wars, and in disrupting Japanese supply routes
and naval operations in the Pacific in World War II.

German UC-1-class World War I submarine

Submarine 32

Mine-laying submarines were developed in the early part of the 20th century. The facility was used in both World
Wars. Submarines were also used for inserting and removing covert agents and military forces, for intelligence
gathering, and to rescue aircrew during air attacks on islands, where the airmen would be told of safe places to
crash-land so the submarines could rescue them. Submarines could carry cargo through hostile waters or act as
supply vessels for other submarines.
Submarines could usually locate and attack other submarines only on
the surface, although HMS Venturer managed to sink U-864 with a
four torpedo spread while both were submerged. The British developed
a specialized anti-submarine submarine in WWI, the R class. After
WWII, with the development of the homing torpedo, better sonar
systems, and nuclear propulsion, submarines also became able to hunt
each other effectively.

The development of submarine-launched ballistic missile and Retractable 7.5 cm submarine gun produced by
submarine-launched cruise missiles gave submarines a substantial and the Krupp company circa 1900
long-ranged ability to attack both land and sea targets with a variety of
weapons ranging from cluster bombs to nuclear weapons.
The primary defense of a submarine lies in its ability to remain concealed in the depths of the ocean. Early
submarines could be detected by the sound they made. Water is an excellent conductor of sound (much better than
air), and submarines can detect and track comparatively noisy surface ships from long distances. Modern submarines
are built with an emphasis on stealth. Advanced propeller designs, extensive sound-reducing insulation, and special
machinery allow a submarine to be as quiet as ambient ocean noise, making them difficult to detect. It takes
specialized technology to find and attack modern submarines.
Active sonar uses the reflection of sound emitted from the search
equipment to detect submarines. It has been used since WWII by
surface ships, submarines and aircraft (via dropped buoys and
helicopter "dipping" arrays), but it gives away the position of the
A model of Günther Prien's U-47, German WWII
emitter and is susceptible to counter-measures. Type VII diesel-electric hunter
A concealed military submarine is a real threat, and because of its
stealth, can force an enemy navy to waste resources searching large areas of ocean and protecting ships against
attack. This advantage was vividly demonstrated in the 1982 Falklands War when the British nuclear-powered
submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano. After the sinking the Argentine Navy
recognised that they had no effective defense against submarine attack, and the Argentine surface fleet withdrew to
port for the remainder of the war, though an Argentine submarine remained at sea.

Civil uses
Although the majority of the world's submarines are military ones,
there are some civil submarines. They have a variety of uses, including
tourism, exploration, oil and gas platform inspections and pipeline
surveys. The first tourist submarine was launched in 1985, and by 1997
there were 45 of them operating around the world.[42]
A semi-civilian use was the adaptation of U-boats for cargo transport
Tourist submarine
during World War I and World War II.
Submarine 33

Submarines with a crush depth in the range of 400–500 feet (120–150

m) are operated in several areas worldwide, typically with bottom
depths around 100 to 120 feet (30 to 37 m), with a carrying capacity of
50 to 100 passengers. In a typical operation (for example, Atlantis
submarines), a surface vessel carries passengers to an offshore
operating area, where passengers are exchanged with those of the
submarine. The submarine then visits underwater points of interests,
typically either natural or artificial reef structures. To surface safely
Interior of a tourist sub while submerged without danger of collision the location of the submarine is marked
with an air release and movement to the surface is coordinated by an
observer in a support craft.

A recent development is the deployment of so called narco submarines by South American drug smugglers, in order
to evade detection.[43] Although they occasionally deploy true submarines, most are self-propelled
semi-submersibles, where a portion of the craft remains above water at all times.


Submersion and trimming

All surface ships, as well as surfaced
submarines, are in a positively buoyant
condition, weighing less than the
volume of water they would displace if
fully submerged. To submerge
hydrostatically, a ship must have
negative buoyancy, either by
increasing its own weight or
decreasing its displacement of water. To control their weight, submarines have ballast tanks, which can be filled with
outside water or pressurized air.

For general submersion or surfacing, submarines use the forward and aft tanks, called Main Ballast Tanks or MBTs,
which are filled with water to submerge, or filled with air to surface. Under submerged conditions, MBTs generally
remain flooded, which simplifies their design, and on many submarines these tanks are a section of interhull space.
For more precise and quick control of depth, submarines use smaller Depth Control Tanks or DCTs, also called hard
tanks due to their ability to withstand higher pressure. The amount of water in depth control tanks can be controlled
either to reflect changes in outside conditions or change depth. Depth control tanks can be located either near the
submarine's center of gravity, or separated along the submarine body to prevent affecting trim.
When submerged, the water pressure on submarine's hull can reach 4 MPa (580 psi) for steel submarines and up to
10 MPa (1500 psi) for titanium submarines like Komsomolets, while interior pressure remains relatively unchanged.
This difference results in hull compression, which decreases displacement. Water density also increases with depth,
as the salinity and pressure are higher, but this incompletely compensates for hull compression, so buoyancy
decreases as depth increases. A submerged submarine is in an unstable equilibrium, having a tendency to either fall
or float to the surface. Keeping a constant depth requires continual operation of either the depth control tanks or
control surfaces.[44] [45]
Submarines in a neutral buoyancy condition are not intrinsically trim-stable. To maintain desired trim, submarines
use forward and aft trim tanks. Pumps can move water between these, changing weight distribution, creating a
moment pointing the sub up or down. A similar system is sometimes used to maintain stability.
Submarine 34

The hydrostatic effect of variable ballast tanks is not the only way to
control the submarine underwater. Hydrodynamic maneuvering is done
by several surfaces, which can be moved to create hydrodynamic
forces when a submarine moves at sufficient speed. The stern planes,
located near the propeller and normally horizontal, serve the same
purpose as the trim tanks, controlling the trim, and are commonly used,
while other control surfaces may not be present on many submarines.
The fairwater planes on the sail and/or bow planes on the main body,
Sail of the French nuclear submarine Casabianca;
both also horizontal, are closer to the centre of gravity, and are used to note the diving planes, camouflaged masts,
control depth with less effect on the trim.[46] periscope, electronic warfare masts, door and
When a submarine performs an emergency surfacing, all depth and
trim methods are used simultaneously, together with propelling the
boat upwards. Such surfacing is very quick, so the sub may even partially jump out of the water, potentially
damaging submarine systems.

Submarine hull


Modern submarines are cigar-shaped. This design, visible in early

submarines (see below) is sometimes called a "teardrop hull". It
reduces the hydrodynamic drag when submerged, but decreases the
sea-keeping capabilities and increases drag while surfaced. Since the
limitations of the propulsion systems of early submarines forced them
to operate surfaced most of the time, their hull designs were a
compromise. Because of the slow submerged speeds of those subs,
usually well below 10 kt (18 km/h), the increased drag for underwater
travel was acceptable. Late in World War II, when technology allowed
The US Navy Los Angeles-class attack submarine
faster and longer submerged operation and increased aircraft
USS Greeneville in dry dock, showing typical
cigar-shaped hull. surveillance forced submarines to stay submerged, hull designs became
teardrop shaped again to reduce drag and noise. On modern military
submarines the outer hull is covered with a layer of sound-absorbing rubber, or anechoic plating, to reduce detection.

The occupied pressure hulls of deep diving submarines such as DSV Alvin are spherical instead of cylindrical. This
allows a more even distribution of stress at the great depth. A titanium frame is usually affixed to the pressure hull,
providing attachment for ballast and trim systems, scientific instrumentation, battery packs, syntactic flotation foam,
and lighting.
A raised tower on top of a submarine accommodates the periscope and electronics masts, which can include radio,
radar, electronic warfare, and other systems including the snorkel mast. In many early classes of submarines (see
history), the control room, or "conn", was located inside this tower, which was known as the "conning tower". Since
then, the conn has been located within the hull of the submarine, and the tower is now called the "sail". The conn is
distinct from the "bridge", a small open platform in the top of the sail, used for observation during surface operation.
"Bathtubs" are related to conning towers but are used on smaller submarines. The bathtub is a metal cylinder
surrounding the hatch that prevents waves from breaking directly into the cabin. It is needed because surfaced
submarines have limited freeboard, that is, they lie low in the water. Bathtubs help prevent swamping the vessel.
Submarine 35

Single/double hull

Modern submarines and submersibles, as well as the oldest ones,

usually have a single hull. Large submarines generally have an
additional hull or hull sections outside. This external hull, which
actually forms the shape of submarine, is called the outer hull (casing
in the Royal Navy) or light hull, as it does not have to withstand a
pressure difference. Inside the outer hull there is a strong hull, or
pressure hull, which withstands sea pressure and has normal
atmospheric pressure inside. U-995, Type VIIC/41 U-Boat of WWII, showing
the typical combination of ship-like
As early as World War I, it was realized that the optimal shape for non-watertight outer hull with bulky strong hull
withstanding pressure conflicted with the optimal shape for seakeeping below

and minimal drag, and construction difficulties further complicated the

problem. This was solved either by a compromise shape, or by using two hulls; internal for holding pressure, and
external for optimal shape. Until the end of World War II, most submarines had an additional partial cover on the
top, bow and stern, built of thinner metal, which was flooded when submerged. Germany went further with the Type
XXI, a general predecessor of modern submarines, in which the pressure hull was fully enclosed inside the light hull,
but optimized for submerged navigation, unlike earlier designs that were optimized for surface operation.

After World War II, approaches split. The Soviet Union changed its
designs, basing them on German developments. All post-World War II
heavy Soviet and Russian submarines are built with a double hull
structure. American and most other Western submarines switched to a
primarily single-hull approach. They still have light hull sections in the
bow and stern, which house main ballast tanks and provide a
hydrodynamically optimized shape, but the main cylindrical hull
Type XXI U-Boat, late WWII, with pressure hull
section has only a single plating layer. The double hulls are being
almost fully enclosed inside the light hull
considered for future submarines in the United States to improve
payload capacity, stealth and range.[47]

Pressure hull
The pressure hull is generally constructed of thick high strength steel with a complex structure and high strength
reserve, and is separated with watertight bulkheads into several compartments. There are also examples of more than
two hulls in a submarine, like the Typhoon class, which has two main pressure hulls and three smaller ones for
control room, torpedoes and steering gear, with the missile launch system between the main hulls.
The dive depth cannot be increased easily. Simply making the hull thicker increases the weight and requires
reduction of onboard equipment weight, ultimately resulting in a bathyscaphe. This is acceptable for civilian
research submersibles, but not military submarines.
WWI submarines had hulls of carbon steel, with a 100-metre (330 ft) maximum depth. During WWII, high-strength
alloyed steel was introduced, allowing 200-metre (660 ft) depths. High-strength alloy steel remains the primary
material for submarines today, with 250–400-metre (820–1300 ft) depths, which cannot be exceeded on a military
submarine without design compromises. To exceed that limit, a few submarines were built with titanium hulls.
Titanium can be stronger than steel, lighter, and is not ferromagnetic, important for stealth. Titanium submarines
were built by the Soviet Union, which developed specialized high-strength alloys. It has produced several types of
titanium submarines. Titanium alloys allow a major increase in depth, but other systems need to be redesigned to
cope, so test depth was limited to 1000 metres (3300 ft) for the Soviet submarine Komsomolets, the deepest-diving
combat submarine. An Alfa-class submarine may have successfully operated at 1300 metres (4300 ft),[48] though
Submarine 36

continuous operation at such depths would produce excessive stress on many submarine systems. Titanium does not
flex as readily as steel, and may become brittle during many dive cycles. Despite its benefits, the high cost of
titanium construction led to the abandonment of titanium submarine construction as the Cold War ended. Deep
diving civilian submarines have used thick acrylic pressure hulls.
The deepest Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) to date is Trieste. On October 5, 1959 Trieste departed San Diego
for Guam aboard the freighter Santa Maria to participate in Project Nekton, a series of very deep dives in the
Mariana Trench. On January 23, 1960, Trieste reached the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep (the deepest southern
part of the Mariana Trench), carrying Jacques Piccard (son of Auguste) and Lieutenant Don Walsh, USN.[49] This
was the first time a vessel, manned or unmanned, had reached the deepest point in the Earth's oceans. The onboard
systems indicated a depth of 11521 metres (37799 ft), although this was later revised to 10916 metres (35814 ft) and
more accurate measurements made in 1995 have found the Challenger Deep to be slightly shallower, at
10911 metres (35797 ft).
Building a pressure hull is difficult, as it must withstand pressures at its required diving depth. When the hull is
perfectly round in cross-section, the pressure is evenly distributed, and causes only hull compression. If the shape is
not perfect, the hull is bent, with several points heavily strained. Inevitable minor deviations are resisted by stiffener
rings, but even a one inch (25 mm) deviation from roundness results in over 30 percent decrease of maximal
hydrostatic load and consequently dive depth.[50] The hull must therefore be constructed with high precision. All hull
parts must be welded without defects, and all joints are checked multiple times with different methods, contributing
to the high cost of modern submarines. (For example, each Virginia-class attack submarine costs US$2.6 billion,
over US$200,000 per ton of displacement.)

Originally, submarines were human propelled. The first mechanically
driven submarine was the 1863 French Plongeur, which used
compressed air for propulsion. Anaerobic propulsion was first
employed by the Spanish Ictineo II in 1864, which used a solution of
zinc, manganese dioxide, and potassium chlorate to generate sufficient
heat to power a steam engine, while also providing oxygen for the
crew. A similar system was not employed again until 1940 when the
German Navy tested a hydrogen peroxide-based system, the Walter
turbine, on the experimental V-80 submarine and later on the naval HMCS Windsor, a Victoria-class diesel-electric
hunter-killer submarine
U-791 and type XVII submarines.[51]

Until the advent of nuclear marine propulsion, most 20th century submarines used batteries for running underwater
and gasoline (petrol) or diesel engines on the surface, and for battery recharging. Early submarines used gasoline, but
this quickly gave way to kerosene (paraffin), then diesel, because of reduced flammability. Diesel-electric became
the standard means of propulsion. The diesel or gasoline engine and the electric motor, separated by clutches, were
initially on the same shaft driving the propeller. This allowed the engine to drive the electric motor as a generator to
recharge the batteries and also propel the submarine. The clutch between the motor and the engine would be
disengaged when the submarine dived, so that the motor could drive the propeller. The motor could have multiple
armatures on the shaft, which could be electrically coupled in series for slow speed and in parallel for high speed.
(These connections were called "group down" and "group up", respectively.)
Submarine 37

Electric transmission

Early submarines used a direct mechanical connection between the engine and propeller, switching between diesel
engines for surface running, and electric motors for submerged propulsion.
In 1928 the United States Navy's Bureau of Engineering proposed a diesel-electric transmission; instead of driving
the propeller directly while running on the surface, the submarine's diesel would drive a generator which could either
charge the submarine's batteries or drive the electric motor. This meant that motor speed was independent of the
diesel engine's speed, and the diesel could run at an optimum and non-critical speed, while one or more of the diesel
engines could be shut down for maintenance while the submarine continued to run using battery power. The concept
was pioneered in 1929 in the S-class submarines S-3, S-6, and S-7 to test the concept. No other navy adopted the
system before 1945, apart from the Royal Navy's U-class submarines, though some submarines of the Imperial
Japanese Navy used separate diesel generators for low speed running.[52]
Other advantages of such an arrangement were that a submarine could travel slowly with the engines at full power to
recharge the batteries quickly, reducing time on the surface or on snorkel. It was then possible to insulate the noisy
diesel engines from the pressure hull, making the submarine quieter. Additionally, diesel-electric transmissions were
more compact.

Air-independent propulsion

During the Second World War, German Type XXI submarines were
designed to carry hydrogen peroxide for long-term, fast
air-independent propulsion, but were ultimately built with very large
batteries instead. At the end of the War, the British and Russians
experimented with hydrogen peroxide/kerosene (paraffin) engines
which could be used surfaced and submerged. The results were not
encouraging; although the Russians deployed a class of submarines
German Type XXI submarines, also known as
with this engine type (codenamed Quebec by NATO), they were
"Elektroboote", were the first submarines
considered unsuccessful. designed to operate submerged for extended

Today several navies use air-independent propulsion. Notably Sweden

uses Stirling technology on the Gotland-class and Södermanland-class
submarines. The Stirling engine is heated by burning diesel fuel with
liquid oxygen from cryogenic tanks. A newer development in
air-independent propulsion is hydrogen fuel cells, first used on the
German Type 212 submarine with AIP German Type 212 submarine, with nine 34 kW or two 120 kW cells
propulsion in dock at HDW/Kiel and soon to be used in the new Spanish S-80 class submarines.[53]
Submarine 38

Nuclear power

Steam power was resurrected in the 1950s with a nuclear-powered steam turbine
driving a generator. By eliminating the need for atmospheric oxygen, the length
of time that a modern submarine could remain submerged was limited only by its
food stores, as breathing air was recycled and fresh water distilled from seawater.
Nuclear-powered submarines have a relatively small battery and diesel
engine/generator powerplant for emergency use if the reactors must be shut

Nuclear power is now used in all large submarines, but due to the high cost and
large size of nuclear reactors, smaller submarines still use diesel-electric
HMS Astute is amongst the most
propulsion. The ratio of larger to smaller submarines depends on strategic needs.
advanced nuclear submarines in the
[54] The US Navy, French Navy, and the British Royal Navy operate only nuclear
submarines,[55] [56] which is explained by the need for distant operations. Other
major operators rely on a mix of nuclear submarines for strategic purposes and diesel-electric submarines for
defence. Most fleets have no nuclear submarines, due to the limited availability of nuclear power and submarine

Diesel-electric submarines have a stealth advantage over their nuclear counterparts. Nuclear submarines generate
noise from coolant pumps and turbo-machinery needed to operate the reactor, even at low power levels.[57] Some
nuclear submarines such as the American Ohio class can operate with their reactor coolant pumps secured, making
them quieter than electric subs. A conventional submarine operating on batteries is almost completely silent, the only
noise coming from the shaft bearings, propeller, and flow noise around the hull, all of which stops when the sub
hovers in mid water to listen, leaving only the noise from crew activity. Commercial submarines usually rely only on
batteries, since they never operate independently of a mother ship.
Several serious nuclear and radiation accidents have involved nuclear submarine mishaps.[58] [59] The Soviet
submarine K-19 reactor accident in 1961 resulted in 8 deaths and more than 30 other people were over-exposed to
radiation.[60] The Soviet submarine K-27 reactor accident in 1968 resulted in 9 fatalities and 83 other injuries.[58]
The Soviet submarine K-431 accident in 1985 resulted in 10 fatalities and 49 other people suffered radiation

Alternative propulsion
Oil-fired steam turbines powered the British K-class submarines, built during the first World War and later, to give
them the surface speed to keep up with the battle fleet. The K-class subs were not very successful, however.
Toward the end of the 20th century, some submarines, such as the British Vanguard class, began to be fitted with
pump-jet propulsors instead of propellers. Although these are heavier, more expensive, and less efficient than a
propeller, they are significantly quieter, giving an important tactical advantage.
Magnetohydrodynamic drive (MHD) was portrayed as the operating principle behind the titular submarine's nearly
silent propulsion system in the film adaptation of The Hunt for Red October. However, in the novel, the Red October
did not use MHD. Although experimental surface ships have used this system, speeds have been below expectations.
In addition, the drive system can induce bubble formation, compromising stealth, and the low efficiency requires
high powered reactors. These factors make it unlikely for military usage.
Submarine 39

The success of the submarine is inextricably linked to the development
of the torpedo, invented by Robert Whitehead in 1866. His invention is
essentially the same now as it was 140 years ago. Only with self
propelled torpedoes could the submarine make the leap from novelty to
a weapon of war. Until the perfection of the guided torpedo, multiple
"straight running" torpedoes were required to attack a target. With at
most 20 to 25 torpedoes stored onboard, the number of attacks was
limited. To increase combat endurance most World War I submarines
A sequence of photos showing the
functioned as submersible gunboats, using their deck guns against decommissioned Australian warship HMAS
unarmed targets, and diving to escape and engage enemy warships. Torrens sinking after being used as a target for a
The importance of guns encouraged the development of the submarine-launched torpedo.

unsuccessful Submarine Cruiser such as the French Surcouf and the

Royal Navy's X1 and M-class submarines. With the arrival of ASW aircraft, guns became more for defense than
attack. A more practical method of increasing combat endurance was the external torpedo tube, loaded only in port.

The ability of submarines to approach enemy harbours covertly led to

their use as minelayers. Minelaying submarines of World War I and
World War II were specially built for that purpose. Modern
submarine-laid mines, such as the British Mark 6 Sea Urchin, are
designed to be deployed by a submarine's torpedo tubes.
After World War II, both the US and the USSR experimented with
submarine launched cruise missiles such as the SSM-N-8 Regulus and
P-5 Pyatyorka. Such missiles required the submarine to surface to fire
The forward torpedo tubes in HMS Ocelot
its missiles. They were the forerunners of modern submarine launched
cruise missiles, which can be fired from the torpedo tubes of
submerged submarines, for example the US BGM-109 Tomahawk and Russian RPK-2 Viyuga and versions of
surface to surface anti-ship missiles such as the Exocet and Harpoon, encapsulated for submarine launch. Ballistic
missiles can also be fired from a submarine's torpedo tubes, for example missiles such as the anti-submarine
SUBROC. With internal volume as limited as ever and the desire to carry heavier warloads, the idea of the external
launch tube was revived, usually for encapsulated missiles, with such tubes being placed between the internal
pressure and outer streamlined hulls.

The strategic mission of the SSM-N-8 and the P-5 were taken up by submarine-launched ballistic missile beginning
with the US Navy's Polaris missile, and subsequently the Poseidon and Trident missiles.
Germany is working on the short-range IDAS (missile) which is launched from a torpedo tube and can be used
against ASW helicopters as well as surface ships and coastal targets.

A submarine will have a variety of sensors determined by its missions. Modern military submarines rely almost
entirely on a suite of passive and active sonars to find their prey. Active sonar relies on an audible "ping" to generate
echoes to reveal objects around the submarine. Active systems are rarely used, as doing so reveals the sub's presence.
Passive sonar is a set of sensitive hydrophones set into the hull or trailed in a towed array, generally several hundred
feet long. The towed array is the mainstay of NATO submarine detection systems, as it reduces the flow noise heard
by operators. Hull mounted sonar is employed to back up the towed array, and in confined waters where a towed
array could be fouled by obstacles.
Submarine 40

Submarines also carry radar equipment for detection of surface ships and aircraft. Sub captains are more likely to use
radar detection gear rather than active radar to detect targets, as radar can be detected far beyond its own return
range, revealing the submarine. Periscopes are rarely used, except for position fixes and to verify a contact's identity.
Civilian submarines, such as the DSV Alvin or the Russian Mir submersibles, rely on small active sonar sets and
viewing ports to navigate. Sunlight does not penetrate below about 300 feet (91 m) underwater, so high intensity
lights are used to illuminate the viewing area.

Early submarines had few navigation aids, but modern subs have a
variety of navigation systems. Modern military submarines use an
inertial guidance system for navigation while submerged, but drift
error unavoidably builds up over time. To counter this, the Global
Positioning System will occasionally be used to obtain an accurate
position. The periscope - a retractable tube with prisms allowing a
view to the surface - is only used occasionally in modern submarines,
since the range of visibility is short. The Virginia-class submarines and
Astute-class submarines have photonics masts rather than
The larger search periscope, and the smaller, less
hull-penetrating optical periscopes. These masts must still be hoisted
detectable attack periscope on HMS Ocelot
above the surface, and employ electronic sensors for visible light,
infrared, laser range-finding, and electromagnetic surveillance. One
benefit to hoisting the mast above the surface is that while the mast is above the water the entire sub is still below the
water and is much harder to detect visibly or by radar.

Military submarines have several systems for communicating with distant command centers or other ships. One is
VLF(Very Low Frequency) radio, which can reach a submarine either on the surface or submerged to a fairly
shallow depth, usually less than 250 feet (76 m). ELF(Extremely Low Frequency) can reach a submarine at much
greater depths, but has a very low bandwidth and are generally used to call a submerged sub to a shallower depth
where VLF signals can reach. A submarine also has the option of floating a long, buoyant wire antenna to a
shallower depth, allowing VLF transmissions to be made by a deeply submerged boat.
By extending a radio mast, a submarine can also use a "burst transmission" technique. A burst transmission takes
only a fraction of a second, minimizing a submarine's risk of detection.
To communicate with other submarines, a system known as Gertrude is used. Gertrude is basically a sonar
telephone. Voice communication from one submarine is transmitted by low power speakers into the water, where it
is detected by passive sonars on the receiving submarine. The range of this system is probably very short, and using
it radiates sound into the water, which can be heard by the enemy.
Civilian submarines can use similar, albeit less powerful systems to communicate with support ships or other
submersibles in the area.
Submarine 41

Command and control

All submarines need facilities to control their motion. Military submarines also need facilities to operate their sensors
and weapons.

A typical nuclear submarine has a crew of over 80. Non-nuclear boats typically have fewer than half as many. The
conditions on a submarine can be difficult because crew members must work in isolation for long periods of time,
without family contact. Submarines normally maintain radio silence to avoid detection. Operating a submarine is
dangerous, even in peacetime, and many submarines have been lost in accidents.

Women as part of crew

Most navies prohibited women from serving on submarines, even after they had been permitted to serve on surface
warships. The Royal Norwegian Navy became the first navy to allow female crew on its submarines in 1985. The
Royal Danish Navy allowed female submariners in 1988.[61] Others followed suit including the Swedish Navy
(1989),[62] the Royal Australian Navy (1998), the German Navy (2001) and the Canadian Navy (2002). In 1995,
Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a military
submarine, HNoMS Kobben.[63]
The British Royal Navy does not permit women to serve on its submarines because of "medical concerns for the
safety of the foetus and hence its mother" due to the potentially compromised air quality onboard submarines.[64]
Similar dangers to the pregnant woman and her fetus barred females from submarine service in Sweden 1983, when
all other positions were made available for them in the Swedish Navy. Pregnant women are still not allowed to serve
on submarines in Sweden. However, the policy makers thought that it was discriminatory with a general ban and
demanded that females should be tried on their individual merits and have their suitability evaluated and compared to
other candidates. Further, they noted that a female complying with such high demands is unlikely to become
pregnant unawares.[62]
Women have served on U.S. Navy surface ships since 1993 but do not serve on submarines. The Navy only allows
three exceptions for women being on board military submarines: female civilian technicians for a few days at most;
women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for both Navy ROTC and Naval Academy; family
members for one-day dependent cruises.[65] Starting in 2012, a small number of female officers will be allowed to
serve on submarines.[66] [67]
Both the U.S. and British navies operate nuclear-powered submarines which deploy for periods of six months or
longer, whereas the other navies that do permit women to serve on submarines operate conventionally powered
submarines, which deploy for much shorter periods, usually only for one or two months.[68] Prior the recent change
by the U.S., no nation using nuclear submarines permitted women to serve onboard them.[69]

Life support systems

With nuclear power, submarines can remain submerged for months at a time. Diesel submarines must periodically
resurface or snorkel to recharge their batteries. Most modern military submarines generate breathing oxygen by
electrolysis of water. Atmosphere control equipment includes a CO2 scrubber, which uses an amine absorbent to
remove the gas from air and diffuse it into waste pumped overboard. A machine that uses a catalyst to convert
carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide (removed by the CO2 scrubber) and bonds hydrogen produced from the ship's
storage battery with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce water, is also used. An atmosphere monitoring system
samples the air from different areas of the ship for nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, R-12 and R-114 refrigerants, carbon
dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other gases. Poisonous gases are removed, and oxygen is replenished by use of an
oxygen bank located in a main ballast tank. Some heavier submarines have two oxygen bleed stations (forward and
Submarine 42

aft). The oxygen in the air is sometimes kept a few percent less than atmospheric concentration to reduce fire danger.
Fresh water is produced by either an evaporator or a reverse osmosis unit. The primary use for fresh water is to
provide feed water for the reactor and steam propulsion plants. It is also available for showers, sinks, cooking and
cleaning once propulsion plant needs have been met. Seawater is used to flush toilets, and the resulting "black water"
is stored in a sanitary tank until it is blown overboard using pressurized air or pumped overboard by using a special
sanitary pump. The method for blowing sanitaries overboard is difficult to operate, and the German Type VIIC boat
U-1206 was lost with casualties because of a mistake with the toilet.[70] Water from showers and sinks is stored
separately in "grey water" tanks, which are pumped overboard using the drain pump.
Trash on modern large submarines is usually disposed of using a tube called a Trash Disposal Unit (TDU), where it
is compacted into a galvanized steel can. At the bottom of the TDU is a large ball valve. An ice plug is set on top of
the ball valve to protect it, the cans atop the ice plug. The top breech door is shut, and the TDU is flooded and
equalized with sea pressure, the ball valve is opened and the cans fall out assisted by scrap iron weights in the cans.
The TDU is also flushed with seawater to ensure it is completely empty and the ball valve is clear before shutting the

[1] Inventor of the Week: Archive (http:/ / web. mit. edu/ invent/ iow/ bushnelld. html).
[2] Submarino Hipopótamo: http:/ / www. armada. mil. ec/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=44
[3] Hipopotamo submarine: Scale model at the Museum of Maritime History of the Ecuadorian Navy; http:/ / www. digeim. armada. mil. ec/
index. php?option=com_phocagallery& view=category& id=9:submarino-qhipopotamoq& Itemid=12
[4] Showell p. 23
[5] Chuck Veit "The Innovative Mysterious Alligator" page 26 US Naval Institute NAVAL HISTORY published August 2010 ISSN 1042-1920
[6] http:/ / www. hunley. org/ main_index. asp?CONTENT=FINDINGHUNLEY
[7] http:/ / www. history. navy. mil/ branches/ org12-3. htm
[8] John Pike. "Globalsecurity" (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ systems/ ship/ sub-history4. htm). Globalsecurity. . Retrieved
[9] "Submarine Heritage Centre - submarine history of Barrow-in-Furness" (http:/ / www. submarineheritage. com/ history. html). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[10] "French Sub Gymnote" (http:/ / www. battleships-cruisers. co. uk/ submarines2. htm). . Retrieved 2010-08-22.
[11] Simmons p. 107
[12] Jentschura p. 160
[13] Jentschura p. 160
[14] Jentschura p. 160
[15] Showell p. 201
[16] Showell p. 29
[17] Watts p. 18, 21
[18] U.S. Patent 708553 (http:/ / www. google. com/ patents?vid=708553)
[19] Olender p. 175
[20] Showell p. 36
[21] Thomas Adam. Germany and the Americas. p. 1155.
[22] Gibson and Prendergast, p. 2
[23] Roger Chickering, Stig Förster, Bernd Greiner, German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.) (2005). " A world at total war: global
conflict and the politics of destruction, 1937-1945 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=evVPoSwqrG4C& pg=PA73& dq&
hl=en#v=onepage& q=& f=false)". Cambridge University Press. p.73. ISBN 0521834325
[24] Crocker III, H. W. (2006). Don't Tread on Me. New York: Crown Forum. pp. 310. ISBN 9781400053636.
[25] U.S. Navy Style Guide (http:/ / www. navy. mil/ submit/ view_styleguide. asp?sort=B)
[26] Blair, p.576.
[27] Blair, pp.767-768; O'Kane, Clear the Bridge.
[28] Blair, passim.
[29] O'Kane, p. 333.
[30] Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory, pp. 991-2. The others were lost to accidents or, in the case of Seawolf, friendly fire.
[31] Less the crews of S-26, R-12, and possibly Dorado lost to accident, and Seawolf, to friendly fire. S-36 and Darter, lost to grounding, took no
casualties. Blair, passim.
[32] Blair, p.878.
Submarine 43

[33] Blair, p.878.

[34] Blair, p.878.
[35] "Submarine History" (http:/ / www. royalnavy. mod. uk/ server/ show/ nav. 2558). The Royal Navy. . Retrieved 18 April 2007.
[36] History of USS Nautilus SSN571 (http:/ / www. ussnautilus. org/ history. html)
[37] Tony Long. "May 10, 1960: USS ''Triton'' Completes First Submerged Circumnavigation" (http:/ / www. wired. com/ science/ discoveries/
news/ 2007/ 05/ dayintech_0510). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[38] LYDIA POLGREEN (July 26, 2009). "India Launches Nuclear Submarine" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2009/ 07/ 27/ world/ asia/ 27india.
html?_r=1& scp=1& sq=submarine& st=cse). New York Times. .
[39] Joe Lynam (2010-05-20). "'North Korean torpedo' sank South's navy ship - report" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ world/ asia_pacific/
10129703. stm). BBC News. . Retrieved 2010-08-06.
[40] McLaren, Alfred S., CAPT USN "Under the Ice in Submarines" United States Naval Institute Proceedings July 1981 pp.105-109
[41] William J. Broad (March 18, 2008). "Queenfish: A Cold War Tale" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2008/ 03/ 18/ science/ 18arctic.
html?_r=1). New York Times. . Retrieved 2010-02-17.
[42] David Bruce Weaver (2001). The Encyclopedia of Ecotourism. CABI. p. 276. ISBN 0851993680.
[43] (http:/ / www. washingtonpost. com/ wp-dyn/ content/ article/ 2009/ 06/ 05/ AR2009060503718_3. html)
[44] "Physics Of Liquids & Gases" (http:/ / www. vectorsite. net/ tpecp_08. html). Elementary Classical Physics. . Retrieved 2006-10-07.
[45] Richard O'Kane (1987). Wahoo. Presidio Press. p. 12.
[46] Roy Burcher, Louis Rydill (1995). Concepts In Submarine Design. Cambridge University Press. p. 170.
[47] (http:/ / www. nationaldefensemagazine. org/ issues/ 2000/ May/ Virginia-Class. htm). National Defense magazine.
[48] "Federation of American Scientists" (http:/ / www. fas. org/ man/ dod-101/ sys/ ship/ deep. htm). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[49] "Trieste" (http:/ / www. history. navy. mil/ danfs/ t8/ trieste. htm). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[50] US Naval Academy (http:/ / www. usna. edu/ naoe/ courses/ en200/ ch10. pdf)
[51] "Details on German U-Boat Types" (http:/ / www. sharkhunters. com/ typeadditional. htm). Sharkhunters International. . Retrieved
[52] Friedman, Norman (1995). [1557502633 U.S. submarines through 1945: an illustrated design history]. Naval Institute Press. pp. 259–260.
[53] "S-80: A Sub, for Spain, to Sail Out on the Main" (http:/ / www. defenseindustrydaily. com/
s80-a-sub-for-spain-to-sail-out-on-the-main-02517/ ). Defense Industry Daily. 15-Dec-2008. .
[54] Milligan, Brian (2007-05-07). "Alien submarine breaks technical barriers" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ business/ 6625477. stm). BBC
News. . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[55] "Submarine Warfare" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20061011113151/ http:/ / www. odu. edu/ ao/ hrnrotc/ students/ ns_courses/ 101odu/
sumbmarine+ presentation+ 2005. ppt). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. odu. edu/ ao/ hrnrotc/ students/ ns_courses/ 101odu/
sumbmarine presentation 2005. ppt) on 2006-10-11. . Retrieved 2006-10-07.
[56] "France Current Capabilities" (http:/ / www. nti. org/ db/ submarines/ france/ index. html). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[57] Thompson, Roger (2007). Lessons Not Learned. US Naval Institute Press. p. 34. ISBN 9781591148654.
[58] Johnston, Robert (September 23, 2007). "Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties" (http:/ / www.
johnstonsarchive. net/ nuclear/ radevents/ radevents1. html). Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events. .
[59] The Worst Nuclear Disasters (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ photogallery/ 0,29307,1887705,00. html)
[60] Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources (http:/ / www. iaea. org/ Publications/ Magazines/ Bulletin/ Bull413/ article1. pdf) p. 14.
[61] "NATO Review - Vol.49 - No 2 - Summer 2001: Women in uniform" (http:/ / www. nato. int/ docu/ review/ 2001/ 0102-09. htm).
2001-08-31. . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[62] "Historik" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 19960101-re_/ http:/ / www. rekryc. mil. se/ article. php?id=11756) (in Swedish). Archived from
the original (http:/ / www. rekryc. mil. se/ article. php?id=11756) on 1996-01-01. .
[63] "Forsvarsnett: Historikk" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 19960101-re_/ http:/ / www. mil. no/ felles/ fms/ utdanning/ start/ jenter/ historikk/
) (in Norwegian). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. mil. no/ felles/ fms/ utdanning/ start/ jenter/ historikk/ ) on 1996-01-01. .
[64] Royal Navy. "More Submarine FAQs" (http:/ / www. royalnavy. mod. uk/ operations-and-support/ submarine-service/ submarine-faqs/
more-submarine-faqs/ ). .
[65] question #10 (http:/ / www. chinfo. navy. mil/ navpalib/ ships/ submarines/ centennial/ faqs. html)
[66] William H. McMichael and Andrew Scutro (September 27, 2009). "SecNav, CNO: Women should serve on subs" (http:/ / www. navytimes.
com/ news/ 2009/ 09/ navy_roughead_subs_092409w/ ). Navy Times. .
[67] (http:/ / hosted. ap. org/ dynamic/ stories/ U/ US_WOMEN_ON_SUBMARINES?SITE=NCKIN& SECTION=HOME&
[68] "Commander of the Submarine Fleet" (http:/ / www. csp. navy. mil/ ). .
[69] "Navy Seeks to Allow Women to Serve on Submarines" (http:/ / www. washingtonpost. com/ wp-dyn/ content/ article/ 2009/ 09/ 25/
AR2009092503385. html?hpid=moreheadlines). September 26, 2009. . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
[70] "U-1206" (http:/ / www. uboat. net/ boats/ u1206. htm). . Retrieved 2010-04-18.
Submarine 44

General history
• Histoire des sous-marins: des origines à nos jours by Jean-Marie Mathey and Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix.
(Boulogne-Billancourt: ETAI, 2002).
• Redford, Duncan. The Submarine: A Cultural History From the Great War to Nuclear Combat (I.B. Tauris, 2010)
322 pages; focus on British naval and civilian understandings of submarine warfare, including novels and film.
Submarines before 1914
• Gardiner, Robert (1992). Steam, Steel and Shellfire, The steam warship 1815-1905. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval
Institute Press. ISBN 9781557507747. OCLC 30038068.
1900/Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905
• Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Dieter Jung, Peter Mickel (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1869-1945.
Annapolis, Maryland: United State Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
• Olender, Piotr (2010). Russo-Japanese Naval War 1904-1905 Vol. 2 Battle of Tsushima. Sandomierz 1, Poland:
Stratus s.c.. ISBN 978-83-61421-02-3.
• Showell, Jak (2006). The U-Boat Century-German Submarine Warfare 1906-2006. Great Britain: Chatham
Publishing. ISBN 1-86176241-0.
• Simmons, Jacques (1971). A Grosset All-Color Guide WARSHIPS. United States: Grosset & Dunlap, Inc..
ISBN 0-448-04165-0.
• Watts, Anthony J. (1990). The Imperial Russian Navy. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-912-1.
World War II
• Blair, Clay (1975). Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan. Philadelphia: Lippincott.
ISBN 9780397007530. OCLC 821363.
• Lockwood, Charles A. (1951). Sink 'Em All: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific. New York: Dutton.
OCLC 1371626.
• O'Kane, Richard H. (1977). Clear the Bridge!: The War Patrols of the USS Tang. Chicago: Rand McNally.
ISBN 9780528810589. OCLC 2965421.
• O'Kane, Richard H. (1987). Wahoo: The Patrols of America's Most Famous World War II Submarine. Novato,
California: Presidio Press. ISBN 9780891413011. OCLC 15366413.
• Werner, Herbert A. (1999). Iron coffins: a personal account of the German U-Boat battles of World War II.
London: Cassell Military. ISBN 9780304353309. OCLC 41466905.
Cold War
• Hide and seek: the untold story of Cold War espionage at sea, by Peter Huchthausen and Alexandre
Sheldon-Duplaix. (Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons, 2008).
Submarine 45

External links
• U.S. Patent 708553 ( - Submarine boat
• Submariners Association ( - UK Submariners site and Boat
• German Submarines of WWII ( and U-boat losses in 1943 (
• Role of the Modern Submarine (
• U.S. World War II Submarine Veterans History Project (
• Record breaking Japanese Submarines (
• German U-Boats 1935–1945 ( (German)
• U.S. submarine photo archive (
• The Invention of the Submarine (
• DutchSubmarines : Including first ever submarine (
• List of active Naval Submarines (
• The Fleet Type Submarine Online ( US Navy submarine training
manuals, 1944-1946.
• The Home Front: Manitowoc County in World War II (
HomeFront): Video footage of submarine launches into Lake Michigan during World War II.
• Irish Patents Office (

Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor.
The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over
"conventional" (typically diesel-electric) submarines are considerable:
nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the
submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for
conventional submarines; the large amount of power generated by a
nuclear reactor allows nuclear submarines to operate at high speed for
long durations; and the long interval between refuellings grants a range
USS Michigan: An Ohio-class ballistic missile
limited only by consumables such as food. Current generations of
nuclear submarines never need to be refueled throughout their 25-year
lifespans.[1] Conversely, the limited power stored in electric batteries
means that even the most advanced conventional submarine can only remain submerged for a few days at slow
speed, and only a few hours at top speed; recent advances in air-independent propulsion have eroded this
disadvantage somewhat. The high cost of nuclear technology means that relatively few states have fielded nuclear
submarines. Some of the most serious nuclear and radiation accidents in the world have involved nuclear submarine
mishaps.[2] [3]
Nuclear submarine 46

The idea for a nuclear-powered submarine was first
proposed by the Naval Research Laboratory's Ross
Gunn[4] in 1939.
The United States launched the USS Nautilus, the first
nuclear submarine, in 1954.[5] Nautilus could remain
underwater for up to four months without resurfacing.
Construction of the Nautilus was made possible by the
USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the first nuclear powered submarine. successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant
by a group of scientists and engineers at the Naval
Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission. In July 1951, the U.S. Congress authorized construction of the
world's first nuclear-powered submarine, under the leadership of Captain Hyman G. Rickover, USN.[6]
The Westinghouse Corporation was assigned to build its reactor. After the submarine was completed, President
Harry S. Truman broke the traditional bottle of champagne on Nautilus' bow. On January 17, 1955, it began its sea
trials after leaving its dock in Groton, Connecticut. The submarine was 320 feet long, and cost about $55 million.
The Soviet Union soon followed the United States in developing nuclear-powered submarines in the 1950s.
Stimulated by the U.S. development of the Nautilus, Soviet work on nuclear propulsion reactors began in the early
1950s at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, in Obninsk, under Anatoliy P. Alexandrov, later to become
head of the Kurchatov Institute. In 1956, the first Soviet propulsion reactor designed by his team began operational
testing. Meanwhile, a design team under Vladimir N. Peregudov worked on the vessel that would house the reactor.
After overcoming many obstacles, including steam generation problems, radiation leaks, and other difficulties, the
first nuclear submarine based on these combined efforts entered service in the Soviet Navy in 1958.[7]
At the height of the Cold War, approximately five to
ten nuclear submarines were being commissioned from
each of the four Soviet submarine yards (Sevmash in
Severodvinsk, Admiralteyskiye Verfi in St. Petersburg,
Krasnoye Sormovo in Nizhny Novgorod, and
Amurskiy Zavod in Komsomolsk-on-Amur). From the
late 1950s through the end of 1997, the Soviet Union,
and later Russia, built a total of 245 nuclear
submarines, more than all other nations combined.[9]

Today, six countries deploy some form of

nuclear-powered strategic submarines: the United
The VMF Typhoon class submarine, is nuclear powered and the
States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, People's [8]
world's heaviest submarine.
Republic of China, and India.[10] Several other
countries, including Argentina and Brazil,[11] [12] have
ongoing projects in different phases to build nuclear-powered submarines.

In the United Kingdom, all former and current nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy have been constructed in
Barrow-in-Furness (at BAE Systems Submarine Solutions or its predecessor VSEL).
Nuclear submarine 47

The main difference between conventional submarines and nuclear submarines is
the power generation system. Nuclear submarines employ nuclear reactors for
this task. They either generate electricity that powers electric motors connected
to the propeller shaft or rely on the reactor heat to produce steam that drives
steam turbines (cf. nuclear marine propulsion). Reactors used in submarines
typically use highly enriched fuel (often greater than 20%) to enable them to
deliver a large amount of power from a smaller reactor.

The nuclear reactor also supplies power to the submarine's other subsystems,
such as for maintenance of air quality, fresh water production by distilling salt
HMS Astute, an advanced nuclear
water from the ocean, temperature regulation, etc. All naval nuclear reactors [13]
powered attack submarine.
currently in use are operated with diesel generators as a backup power system.
These engines are able to provide emergency electrical power for reactor decay
heat removal as well as enough electric power to supply an emergency propulsion mechanism. Submarines may
carry nuclear fuel for up to 30 years of operation. The only resource that limits the time underwater is the food
supply for the crew and maintenance of the vessel.

The stealth weakness of nuclear submarines is the need to cool the reactor even when the submarine is not moving;
about 70% of the reactor output heat is coupled into the sea water. This leaves a "thermal wake", a plume of warm
water of lower density which ascends to the sea surface and creates a "thermal scar" observable by thermal imaging
systems, e.g. FLIR.[14]


United States Navy

• SCB-64: USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
• SCB-64A: USS Seawolf (SSN-575)
• SCB-121: Skate class attack submarines
• SCB-132: USS Triton (SSRN-586)
• SCB-137A: USS Halibut (SSGN-587)
• SCB-154: Skipjack class attack submarines
• SCB-178: USS Tullibee (SSN-597)
• SCB-180A: George Washington class ballistic missile submarines
• SCB-180: Ethan Allen class ballistic missile submarines
• SCB-188: Permit class attack submarines
• SCB-188A: Sturgeon class attack submarines
• SCB-216: Lafayette class ballistic missile submarines
• SCB-216: James Madison class ballistic missile submarines
• SCB-216: Benjamin Franklin class ballistic missile submarines
• NR-1
• SCB-245: USS Narwhal (SSN-671)
• SCB-302: USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)
Nuclear submarine 48

• SCB-303: Los Angeles class attack submarines
• SCB-304: Ohio class ballistic missile submarines
• Seawolf class attack submarines
• Virginia class attack submarines

Soviet/ Russian Navy

• Project 627 (November) attack submarines
• Project 645 test attack submarine K-27
• Project 658 (Hotel) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 659/675 (Echo) cruise missile submarines
• Project 661 (Papa) attack submarines
• Project 667 (Yankee) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 667B, Murena (Delta I) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 667BD, Murena-M (Delta II) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 670 (Charlie) cruise missile submarines
• Project 671 (Victor) attack submarines
• Project 678 (X-Ray) research submersible
• Project 685 (Mike) attack submarine K-278 Komsomolets
• Project 705 (Alfa) attack submarines

Operational submarines
• Project 941 (Typhoon) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 945 (Sierra) attack submarines
• Project 949 (Oscar) cruise missile submarines
• Project 667BDR, Kalmar (Delta III) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 667BDRM, Delfin (Delta IV) ballistic missile submarines
• Project 1910 (Uniform) special purpose submarines
• Project 971 (Akula) attack submarines
• Project 671RTM Shchuka (Victor III) attack submarines

Under development
• Project 885 (Graney) attack submarines (In development)
• Project 935 (Borei) ballistic missile submarines (Sea trials)

Royal Navy of the United Kingdom

• HMS Dreadnought (S101)
• Valiant class attack submarines
• Resolution class ballistic missile submarines
• Churchill class attack submarines
• Swiftsure class attack submarines
Nuclear submarine 49

• Trafalgar class attack submarines
• Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines
• Astute class attack submarines

French Navy

• Redoutable class ballistic missile submarines

• Rubis class attack submarines
• Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines

Under development
• Barracuda class attack submarines (In development)

People's Liberation Army Navy of the People's Republic of China

• Type 091 (Han) attack submarines
• Type 092 (Xia) ballistic missile submarines
• Type 093 (Shang) attack submarines
• Type 094 (Jin) ballistic missile submarines

Under development
• Type 095 attack submarines (In development)
• Type 096 (Tang) ballistic missile submarines (In development)

Indian Navy

• INS Chakra (Leased from Russia)

Under development
• Arihant class ballistic missile submarines (Sea trials)

Some of the most serious nuclear and radiation accidents in the world have involved nuclear submarine mishaps.[2]
Notable nuclear submarine accidents include:
• K-19, 4 July 1961, the reactor almost had a meltdown and exploded, resulting in 8 deaths and more than 30 other
people being over-exposed to radiation.[15] The events on board the submarine are dramatized by the film K-19:
The Widowmaker.
• USS Thresher (SSN-593), 1963, was lost during deep diving tests and later investigation concluded that failure of
a brazed pipe joint and ice formation in the ballast blow valves prevented surfacing. The accident motivated a
number of safety changes to the US fleet.
• USS Scorpion (SSN-589), 1968, lost.
Nuclear submarine 50

• K-27, 24 May 1968, experienced a near meltdown of one of its liquid metal (lead-bismuth) cooled VT-1 reactors,
resulting in 9 fatalities and 83 other injuries.[2] The ship was deactivated by 20 July 1968.
• K-431 reactor accident on 10 August 1985 resulted in 10 fatalities and 49 other people suffered radiation
• K-219, 1986, the reactor almost had a meltdown. Sergei Preminin died after he manually lowered the control rods,
and stopped the explosion. The submarine sank three days later.
• K-141 Kursk, 2000, the generally accepted theory is that a leak of hydrogen peroxide in the forward torpedo room
led to the detonation of a torpedo warhead, which in turn triggered the explosion of half a dozen other warheads
about two minutes later.
• Ehime Maru & USS Greeneville, February 2001, the American submarine surfaced underneath the Japanese
fishing vessel. Nine Japanese were killed when their ship sank as a result of the collision.
• USS San Francisco (SSN-711), 2005, collided with a seamount in the Pacific Ocean. A crew member was killed
and 23 others were injured.
• HMS Vanguard & Le Triomphant, February 2009, the French and British submarines collided in the Atlantic
while on routine patrols. There were no injuries among the crews, but both ships were damaged during the

[1] Naval Technology - SSN Astute Class - Attack Submarine (http:/ / www. naval-technology. com/ projects/ astute/ )
[2] Johnston, Robert (September 23, 2007). "Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties" (http:/ / www.
johnstonsarchive. net/ nuclear/ radevents/ radevents1. html). Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events. .
[3] The Worst Nuclear Disasters (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ photogallery/ 0,29307,1887705,00. html)
[4] NRL Little Book of Achievements (http:/ / www. nrl. navy. mil/ content_images/ little_book. pdf)
[5] USS Nautilus (SSN-571) (http:/ / americanhistory. si. edu/ subs/ history/ subsbeforenuc/ revolution/ nautilus. html)
[6] Nuclear Propulsion (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ systems/ ship/ systems/ nuclear-history. htm)
[7] Submarine History 1945-2000: A Timeline of Development (http:/ / www. submarine-history. com/ NOVAfour. htm)
[8] http:/ / www. nationalgeographic. com/ k19/ sub_detail_sov5. html
[9] CNS - Resources on Russian Nuclear Submarines (http:/ / cns. miis. edu/ research/ rus_sub/ sub. htm)
[10] NTI: Submarine Proliferation (http:/ / www. nti. org/ db/ submarines/ )
[11] "Argentina, Brazil eye joint project for nuclear submarine" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080301075139/ http:/ / timesofindia.
indiatimes. com/ World/ Rest_of_World/ Argentina_Brazil_eye_joint_project_for_nuclear_submarine/ articleshow/ 2811118. cms). The
Times of India. 25 February 2008. Archived from the original (http:/ / timesofindia. indiatimes. com/ World/ Rest_of_World/
Argentina_Brazil_eye_joint_project_for_nuclear_submarine/ articleshow/ 2811118. cms) on 2008-03-01. . Retrieved 2008-03-27.
[12] Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fujii (March 2008). Brazil’s Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns (http:/ / www.
wmdinsights. com/ I23/ I23_LA1_BrazilPursuit. htm). WMD Insights. . Retrieved 2008-03-27.
[13] "Exclusive: Royal Navy's most advanced submarine HMS Astute set for home on the River Clyde" (http:/ / www. dailyrecord. co. uk/ news/
editors-choice/ 2009/ 11/ 13/ exclusive-royal-navy-s-most-advanced-submarine-hms-astute-set-for-home-on-the-river-clyde-86908-21818475/
). Daily Record. 13 November 2009. . Retrieved 20 November 2009.
[14] http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=L6aDwi2kWwUC& pg=PA291& lr=& num=50& as_brr=3& ei=C65gS9CtDYLmzAS4i_CLCQ&
cd=38#v=onepage& q=& f=false
[15] Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources (http:/ / www. iaea. org/ Publications/ Magazines/ Bulletin/ Bull413/ article1. pdf) p. 14.
Nuclear submarine 51

Suggested Reading
• Erickson, Andrew Erickson; Lyle Goldstein (Winter 2007). "China's Future Nuclear Submarine Force: Insights
from Chinese Writings" ('s Future
Nuclear Submarine Force_NWCR_2007-01.pdf). Naval War College Review 60 (1): 54–79. Retrieved
• Polmar, Norman and Moore, J.K. (2004). Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet
Submarines (Paperback ed.). Washington, DC: Potomac Books, Inc. ISBN 1574885308.

External links
• Nuclear Propulsion ( - Federation of American
• V.M. Bukhalov - Atomic-powered submarine design (

Radar is an object-detection system which uses electromagnetic waves
— specifically radio waves — to determine the range, altitude,
direction, or speed of both moving and fixed objects such as aircraft,
ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations,
and terrain. The radar dish, or antenna, transmits pulses of radio waves
or microwaves which bounce off any object in their path. The object
returns a tiny part of the wave's energy to a dish or antenna which is
usually located at the same site as the transmitter.

Practical radar was developed in secrecy during World War II by

Britain and other nations. The term RADAR was coined in 1940 by the
U.S. Navy as an acronym for radio detection and ranging.[1] [2] The
term radar has since entered the English and other languages as the
common noun radar, losing all capitalization. In the United Kingdom,
this technology was initially called RDF (range and direction finding),
using the same acronym as the one for radio direction finding to A long-range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR,
used to detect and track space objects in
conceal its ranging capability.
conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald
The modern uses of radar are highly diverse, including air traffic Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

control, radar astronomy, air-defense systems, antimissile systems;

nautical radars to locate landmarks and other ships; aircraft anticollision systems; ocean-surveillance systems,
outer-space surveillance and rendezvous systems; meteorological precipitation monitoring; altimetry and
flight-control systems; guided-missile target-locating systems; and ground-penetrating radar geological observations.
Other systems similar to radar have been used in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. One example is "lidar",
which uses visible light from lasers rather than radio waves.
Radar 52

Several inventors, scientists, and engineers contributed to the
development of radar.
As early as 1886, Heinrich Hertz showed that radio waves could be
reflected from solid objects. In 1895 Alexander Popov, a physics
instructor at the Imperial Russian Navy school in Kronstadt, developed
an apparatus using a coherer tube for detecting distant lightning strikes.
The next year, he added a spark-gap transmitter. During 1897, while
testing this in communicating between two ships in the Baltic Sea, he
took note of an interference beat caused by the passage of a third
Israeli military radar is typical of the type of radar
vessel. In his report, Popov wrote that this phenomenon might be used
used for air traffic control. The antenna rotates at
for detecting objects, but he did nothing more with this observation.[3] a steady rate, sweeping the local airspace with a
narrow vertical fan-shaped beam, to detect
The German Christian Hülsmeyer was the first to use radio waves to
aircraft at all altitudes.
detect "the presence of distant metallic objects". In 1904 he
demonstrated the feasibility of detecting a ship in dense fog, but not its
distance.[4] He received Reichspatent Nr. 165546[5] for his detection device in April 1904, and later patent 169154[6]
for a related amendment for also determining the distance to the ship. He also received a British patent on September
23, 1904[7] for the first full Radar application, which he called telemobiloscope.

In August 1917 Nikola Tesla outlined a concept for primitive radar units.[8] He
stated, "[...] by their [standing electromagnetic waves] use we may produce at
will, from a sending station, an electrical effect in any particular region of the
globe; [with which] we may determine the relative position or course of a
moving object, such as a vessel at sea, the distance traversed by the same, or its

In 1922 A. Hoyt Taylor and Leo C. Young, researchers working with the U.S.
Navy, discovered that when radio waves were broadcast at 60 MHz it was
possible to determine the range and bearing of nearby ships in the Potomac
River. Despite Taylor's suggestion that this method could be used in darkness
and low visibility, the Navy did not immediately continue the work.[9] Serious
investigation began eight years later after the discovery that radar could be used
to track airplanes.[10]

Before the Second World War, researchers in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the
Netherlands, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United Staes,
A Chain Home tower in Great
independently and in great secrecy, developed technologies that led to the
Baddow, United Kingdom.
modern version of radar. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa
followed prewar Great Britain, and Hungary had similar developments during the

In 1934 the Frenchman Émile Girardeau stated he was building an obstacle-locating radio apparatus "conceived
according to the principles stated by Tesla" and obtained a patent (French Patent n° 788795 in 1934) for a working
system, a part of which was installed on the Normandie liner in 1935.[12] [13] [14] During the same year, the Soviet
military engineer P.K.Oschepkov, in collaboration with Leningrad Electrophysical Institute, produced an
experimental apparatus, RAPID, capable of detecting an aircraft within 3 km of a receiver.[15] The French and Soviet
systems, however, had continuous-wave operation and could not give the full performance that was ultimately at the
Radar 53

center of modern radar.

Full radar evolved as a pulsed system, and the first such elementary apparatus was demonstrated in December 1934
by the American Robert M. Page, working at the Naval Research Laboratory.[16] The year after the US Army
successfully tested a primitive surface to surface radar to aim coastal battery search lights at night. [17] This was
followed by a pulsed system demonstrated in May 1935 by Rudolf Kühnhold and the firm GEMA in Germany and
then one in June 1935 by an Air Ministry team led by Robert A. Watson Watt in Great Britain. Later, in 1943, Page
greatly improved radar with the monopulse technique that was then used for many years in most radar
The British were the first to fully exploit radar as a defence against aircraft attack. This was spurred on by fears that
the Germans were developing death rays. The Air Ministry asked British scientists in 1934 to investigate the
possibility of propagating electromagnetic energy and the likely effect. Following a study, they concluded that a
death ray was impractical but that detection of aircraft appeared feasible.[19] Robert Watson Watt's team
demonstrated to his superiors the capabilities of a working prototype and then patented the device (British Patent
GB593017).[14] [20] [21] It served as the basis for the Chain Home network of radars to defend Great Britain. In April
1940, Popular Science showed an example of a radar unit using the Watson-Watt patent in an article on air defence,
but not knowing that the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy were working on radars with the same principle, stated under the
illustration, "This is not U.S. Army equipment."[22]
The war precipitated research to find better resolution, more portability, and more features for radar, including
complementary navigation systems like Oboe used by the RAF's Pathfinder. The postwar years have seen the use of
radar in fields as diverse as air traffic control, weather monitoring, astrometry, and road speed control.

Applications of radar
The information provided by radar includes the bearing and range (and
therefore position) of the object from the radar scanner. It is thus used
in many different fields where the need for such positioning is crucial.
The first use of radar was for military purposes: to locate air, ground
and sea targets. This evolved in the civilian field into applications for
aircraft, ships, and roads.
In aviation, aircraft are equipped with radar devices that warn of
obstacles in or approaching their path and give accurate altitude
readings. They can land in fog at airports equipped with radar-assisted
ground-controlled approach (GCA) systems, in which the plane's flight
is observed on radar screens while operators radio landing directions to
the pilot.
Commercial marine radar antenna. The rotating
Marine radars are used to measure the bearing and distance of ships to
antenna radiates a vertical fan-shaped beam.
prevent collision with other ships, to navigate and to fix their position
at sea when within range of shore or other fixed references such as islands, buoys, and lightships. In port or in
harbour, vessel traffic service radar systems are used to monitor and regulate ship movements in busy waters. Police
forces use radar guns to monitor vehicle speeds on the roads.
Radar has invaded many other fields. Meteorologists use radar to monitor precipitation. It has become the primary
tool for short-term weather forecasting and to watch for severe weather such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter
storms, precipitation types, etc. Geologists use specialised ground-penetrating radars to map the composition of the
Earth's crust.
Radar 54

A radar system has a transmitter that emits radio waves called radar signals in predetermined directions. When these
come into contact with an object they are usually reflected and/or scattered in many directions. Radar signals are
reflected especially well by materials of considerable electrical conductivity—especially by most metals, by
seawater, by wet land, and by wetlands. Some of these make the use of radar altimeters possible. The radar signals
that are reflected back towards the transmitter are the desirable ones that make radar work. If the object is moving
either closer or farther away, there is a slight change in the frequency of the radio waves, due to the Doppler effect.
Radar receivers are usually, but not always, in the same location as the transmitter. Although the reflected radar
signals captured by the receiving antenna are usually very weak, these signals can be strengthened by the electronic
amplifiers that all radar sets contain. More sophisticated methods of signal processing are also nearly always used in
order to recover useful radar signals.
The weak absorption of radio waves by the medium through which it passes is what enables radar sets to detect
objects at relatively-long ranges—ranges at which other electromagnetic wavelengths, such as visible light, infrared
light, and ultraviolet light, are too strongly attenuated. In particular, there are weather conditions under which radar
works well regardless of the weather. Such things as fog, clouds, rain, falling snow, and sleet that block visible light
are usually transparent to radio waves. Certain, specific radio frequencies that are absorbed or scattered by water
vapor, raindrops, or atmospheric gases (especially oxygen) are avoided in designing radars except when detection of
these is intended.
Finally, radar relies on its own transmissions, rather than light from the Sun or the Moon, or from electromagnetic
waves emitted by the objects themselves, such as infrared wavelengths (heat). This process of directing artificial
radio waves towards objects is called illumination, regardless of the fact that radio waves are completely invisible to
the human eye or cameras.

Electromagnetic waves reflect (scatter) from any large change in the
dielectric constant or diamagnetic constants. This means that a solid
object in air or a vacuum, or other significant change in atomic density
between the object and what is surrounding it, will usually scatter radar
(radio) waves. This is particularly true for electrically conductive
materials, such as metal and carbon fiber, making radar particularly
well suited to the detection of aircraft and ships. Radar absorbing
material, containing resistive and sometimes magnetic substances, is
used on military vehicles to reduce radar reflection. This is the radio
equivalent of painting something a dark color so that it cannot be seen
through normal means (see stealth technology).

Radar waves scatter in a variety of ways depending on the size

Brightness can indicate reflectivity as in this 1960
(wavelength) of the radio wave and the shape of the target. If the
weather radar image (of Hurricane Abby). The
wavelength is much shorter than the target's size, the wave will bounce radar's frequency, pulse form, polarization, signal
off in a way similar to the way light is reflected by a mirror. If the processing, and antenna determine what it can
wavelength is much longer than the size of the target, the target may observe.

not be visible due to poor reflection. Low Frequency radar technology

is dependent on resonances for detection, but not identification, of targets. This is described by Rayleigh scattering,
an effect that creates the Earth's blue sky and red sunsets. When the two length scales are comparable, there may be

resonances. Early radars used very long wavelengths that were larger than the targets and received a vague signal,
whereas some modern systems use shorter wavelengths (a few centimeters or shorter) that can image objects as small
Radar 55

as a loaf of bread.
Short radio waves reflect from curves and corners, in a way similar to glint from a rounded piece of glass. The most
reflective targets for short wavelengths have 90° angles between the reflective surfaces. A structure consisting of
three flat surfaces meeting at a single corner, like the corner on a box, will always reflect waves entering its opening
directly back at the source. These so-called corner reflectors are commonly used as radar reflectors to make
otherwise difficult-to-detect objects easier to detect, and are often found on boats in order to improve their detection
in a rescue situation and to reduce collisions.
For similar reasons, objects attempting to avoid detection will angle their surfaces in a way to eliminate inside
corners and avoid surfaces and edges perpendicular to likely detection directions, which leads to "odd" looking
stealth aircraft. These precautions do not completely eliminate reflection because of diffraction, especially at longer
wavelengths. Half wavelength long wires or strips of conducting material, such as chaff, are very reflective but do
not direct the scattered energy back toward the source. The extent to which an object reflects or scatters radio waves
is called its radar cross section.

Radar equation
The power Pr returning to the receiving antenna is given by the radar equation:

• Pt = transmitter power
• Gt = gain of the transmitting antenna
• Ar = effective aperture (area) of the receiving antenna
• σ = radar cross section, or scattering coefficient, of the target
• F = pattern propagation factor
• Rt = distance from the transmitter to the target
• Rr = distance from the target to the receiver.
In the common case where the transmitter and the receiver are at the same location, Rt = Rr and the term Rt² Rr² can
be replaced by R4, where R is the range. This yields:

This shows that the received power declines as the fourth power of the range, which means that the reflected power
from distant targets is very, very small.
The equation above with F = 1 is a simplification for vacuum without interference. The propagation factor accounts
for the effects of multipath and shadowing and depends on the details of the environment. In a real-world situation,
pathloss effects should also be considered.
Radar 56

Doppler effect
Ground-based radar systems used for detecting speeds rely on the Doppler effect. The apparent frequency (f) of the
wave changes with the relative position of the target. The doppler equation is stated as follows for (the radial
speed of the observer) and (the radial speed of the target) and frequency of wave :

However, the change in phase of the return signal is often used instead of the change in frequency. It is to be noted
that only the radial component of the speed is available. Hence when a target is moving at right angle to the radar
beam, it has no velocity while one parallel to it has maximum recorded speed even if both might have the same real
absolute motion.

In the transmitted radar signal, the electric field is perpendicular to the direction of propagation, and this direction of
the electric field is the polarization of the wave. Radars use horizontal, vertical, linear and circular polarization to
detect different types of reflections. For example, circular polarization is used to minimize the interference caused by
rain. Linear polarization returns usually indicate metal surfaces. Random polarization returns usually indicate a
fractal surface, such as rocks or soil, and are used by navigation radars.

Limiting factors

Beam path and range

The radar beam would follow a linear path

in vacuum but it really follows a somewhat
curved path in the atmosphere due to the
variation of the refractive index of air. Even
when the beam is emitted parallel to the
ground, it will raise above it as the Earth
curvature sink below the horizon.
Furthermore, the signal is attenuated by the
medium it crosses and the beam disperse as
its not a perfect pencil shape.

The maximum range of a conventional radar

can either be limited by a number of factors:
1. Line of sight, which depends on height
above ground.
Echo heights above ground
2. The maximum non-ambiguous range
(MUR) which is determined by the Pulse repetition frequency (PRF). Simply put, MUR is the distance the pulse
could travel and return before the next pulse is emitted.
3. Radar sensitivity and power of the return signal as computed in the radar equation. This includes factors such as
environmentals and the size (or radar cross section) of the target.
Radar 57

Signal noise is an internal source of random variations in the signal, which is generated by all electronic components.
Noise typically appears as random variations superimposed on the desired echo signal received in the radar receiver.
The lower the power of the desired signal, the more difficult it is to discern it from the noise (similar to trying to hear
a whisper while standing near a busy road). Noise figure is a measure of the noise produced by a receiver compared
to an ideal receiver, and this needs to be minimized.
Noise is also generated by external sources, most importantly the natural thermal radiation of the background scene
surrounding the target of interest. In modern radar systems, due to the high performance of their receivers, the
internal noise is typically about equal to or lower than the external scene noise. An exception is if the radar is aimed
upwards at clear sky, where the scene is so "cold" that it generates very little thermal noise.
There will be also flicker noise due to electrons transit, but depending on 1/f, will be much lower than thermal noise
when the frequency is high. Hence, in pulse radar, the system will be always heterodyne. See intermediate

Radar systems must overcome unwanted signals in order to focus only on the actual targets of interest. These
unwanted signals may originate from internal and external sources, both passive and active. The ability of the radar
system to overcome these unwanted signals defines its signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). SNR is defined as the ratio of a
signal power to the noise power within the desired signal.
In less technical terms, SNR compares the level of a desired signal (such as targets) to the level of background noise.
The higher a system's SNR, the better it is in isolating actual targets from the surrounding noise signals.

Clutter refers to radio frequency (RF) echoes returned from targets which are uninteresting to the radar operators.
Such targets include natural objects such as ground, sea, precipitation (such as rain, snow or hail), sand storms,
animals (especially birds), atmospheric turbulence, and other atmospheric effects, such as ionosphere reflections,
meteor trails, and three body scatter spike. Clutter may also be returned from man-made objects such as buildings
and, intentionally, by radar countermeasures such as chaff.
Some clutter may also be caused by a long radar waveguide between the radar transceiver and the antenna. In a
typical plan position indicator (PPI) radar with a rotating antenna, this will usually be seen as a "sun" or "sunburst"
in the centre of the display as the receiver responds to echoes from dust particles and misguided RF in the
waveguide. Adjusting the timing between when the transmitter sends a pulse and when the receiver stage is enabled
will generally reduce the sunburst without affecting the accuracy of the range, since most sunburst is caused by a
diffused transmit pulse reflected before it leaves the antenna.
While some clutter sources may be undesirable for some radar applications (such as storm clouds for air-defence
radars), they may be desirable for others (meteorological radars in this example). Clutter is considered a passive
interference source, since it only appears in response to radar signals sent by the radar.
There are several methods of detecting and neutralizing clutter. Many of these methods rely on the fact that clutter
tends to appear static between radar scans. Therefore, when comparing subsequent scans echoes, desirable targets
will appear to move and all stationary echoes can be eliminated. Sea clutter can be reduced by using horizontal
polarization, while rain is reduced with circular polarization (note that meteorological radars wish for the opposite
effect, therefore using linear polarization the better to detect precipitation). Other methods attempt to increase the
signal-to-clutter ratio.
Constant False Alarm Rate (CFAR, a form of Automatic Gain Control, or AGC) is a method relying on the fact that
clutter returns far outnumber echoes from targets of interest. The receiver's gain is automatically adjusted to maintain
a constant level of overall visible clutter. While this does not help detect targets masked by stronger surrounding
Radar 58

clutter, it does help to distinguish strong target sources. In the past, radar AGC was electronically controlled and
affected the gain of the entire radar receiver. As radars evolved, AGC became computer-software controlled, and
affected the gain with greater granularity, in specific detection cells.
Clutter may also originate from multipath echoes from valid targets
due to ground reflection, atmospheric ducting or ionospheric
reflection/refraction (e.g. Anomalous propagation). This clutter type is
especially bothersome, since it appears to move and behave like other
normal (point) targets of interest, thereby creating a ghost. In a typical
scenario, an aircraft echo is multipath-reflected from the ground below,
appearing to the receiver as an identical target below the correct one.
The radar may try to unify the targets, reporting the target at an
incorrect height, or—worse—eliminating it on the basis of jitter or a Radar multipath echoes from a target cause
physical impossibility. These problems can be overcome by ghosts to appear.
incorporating a ground map of the radar's surroundings and eliminating
all echoes which appear to originate below ground or above a certain height. In newer Air Traffic Control (ATC)
radar equipment, algorithms are used to identify the false targets by comparing the current pulse returns, to those
adjacent, as well as calculating return improbabilities due to calculated height, distance, and radar timing.

Radar jamming refers to radio frequency signals originating from sources outside the radar, transmitting in the
radar's frequency and thereby masking targets of interest. Jamming may be intentional, as with an electronic warfare
(EW) tactic, or unintentional, as with friendly forces operating equipment that transmits using the same frequency
range. Jamming is considered an active interference source, since it is initiated by elements outside the radar and in
general unrelated to the radar signals.
Jamming is problematic to radar since the jamming signal only needs to travel one-way (from the jammer to the
radar receiver) whereas the radar echoes travel two-ways (radar-target-radar) and are therefore significantly reduced
in power by the time they return to the radar receiver. Jammers therefore can be much less powerful than their
jammed radars and still effectively mask targets along the line of sight from the jammer to the radar (Mainlobe
Jamming). Jammers have an added effect of affecting radars along other lines of sight, due to the radar receiver's
sidelobes (Sidelobe Jamming).
Mainlobe jamming can generally only be reduced by narrowing the mainlobe solid angle, and can never fully be
eliminated when directly facing a jammer which uses the same frequency and polarization as the radar. Sidelobe
jamming can be overcome by reducing receiving sidelobes in the radar antenna design and by using an
omnidirectional antenna to detect and disregard non-mainlobe signals. Other anti-jamming techniques are frequency
hopping and polarization. See Electronic counter-counter-measures for details.
Interference has recently become a problem for C-band (5.66 GHz) meteorological radars with the proliferation of
5.4 GHz band WiFi equipment.
Radar 59

Radar signal processing

Distance measurement

Transit time

One way to measure the distance to an object is to transmit a short

pulse of radio signal (electromagnetic radiation), and measure the time
it takes for the reflection to return. The distance is one-half the product
of the round trip time (because the signal has to travel to the target and
then back to the receiver) and the speed of the signal. Since radio
waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second or Pulse radar: The round-trip time for the radar
300,000,000 meters per second), accurate distance measurement pulse to get to the target and return is measured.
The distance is proportional to this time.
requires high-performance electronics.

In most cases, the receiver does not detect the return while the signal is
being transmitted. Through the use of a device called a duplexer, the
radar switches between transmitting and receiving at a predetermined
rate. The minimum range is calculated by measuring the length of the
pulse multiplied by the speed of light, divided by two. In order to
detect closer targets one must use a shorter pulse length.

A similar effect imposes a maximum range as well. If the return from

Continuous wave (CW) radar
the target comes in when the next pulse is being sent out, once again
the receiver cannot tell the difference. In order to maximize range,
longer times between pulses should be used, referred to as a pulse repetition time (PRT), or its reciprocal, pulse
repetition frequency (PRF).
These two effects tend to be at odds with each other, and it is not easy to combine both good short range and good
long range in a single radar. This is because the short pulses needed for a good minimum range broadcast have less
total energy, making the returns much smaller and the target harder to detect. This could be offset by using more
pulses, but this would shorten the maximum range again. So each radar uses a particular type of signal. Long-range
radars tend to use long pulses with long delays between them, and short range radars use smaller pulses with less
time between them. This pattern of pulses and pauses is known as the pulse repetition frequency (or PRF), and is one
of the main ways to characterize a radar. As electronics have improved many radars now can change their PRF
thereby changing their range. The newest radars fire 2 pulses during one cell, one for short range 10 km / 6 miles and
a separate signal for longer ranges 100 km /60 miles.
The distance resolution and the characteristics of the received signal as compared to noise depends heavily on the
shape of the pulse. The pulse is often modulated to achieve better performance using a technique known as pulse
Distance may also be measured as a function of time. The radar mile is the amount of time it takes for a radar pulse
to travel one nautical mile, reflect off a target, and return to the radar antenna. Since a nautical mile is defined as
exactly 1,852 meters, then dividing this distance by the speed of light (exactly 299,792,458 meters per second), and
then multiplying the result by 2 (round trip = twice the distance), yields a result of approximately 12.36
microseconds in duration.
Radar 60

Frequency modulation
Another form of distance measuring radar is based on frequency modulation. Frequency comparison between two
signals is considerably more accurate, even with older electronics, than timing the signal. By measuring the
frequency of the returned signal and comparing that with the original, the difference can be easily measured.
This technique can be used in continuous wave radar, and is often found in aircraft radar altimeters. In these systems
a "carrier" radar signal is frequency modulated in a predictable way, typically varying up and down with a sine wave
or sawtooth pattern at audio frequencies. The signal is then sent out from one antenna and received on another,
typically located on the bottom of the aircraft, and the signal can be continuously compared using a simple beat
frequency modulator that produces an audio frequency tone from the returned signal and a portion of the transmitted
Since the signal frequency is changing, by the time the signal returns to the aircraft the broadcast has shifted to some
other frequency. The amount of that shift is greater over longer times, so greater frequency differences mean a longer
distance, the exact amount being the "ramp speed" selected by the electronics. The amount of shift is therefore
directly related to the distance traveled, and can be displayed on an instrument. This signal processing is similar to
that used in speed detecting Doppler radar. Example systems using this approach are AZUSA, MISTRAM, and
A further advantage is that the radar can operate effectively at relatively low frequencies, comparable to that used by
UHF television. This was important in the early development of this type when high frequency signal generation was
difficult or expensive.
A new terrestrial radar uses low-power FM signals that cover a larger frequency range. The multiple reflections are
analyzed mathematically for pattern changes with multiple passes creating a computerized synthetic image. Doppler
effects are not used which allows slow moving objects to be detected as well as largely eliminating "noise" from the
surfaces of bodies of water. Used primarily for detection of intruders approaching in small boats or intruders
crawling on the ground toward an objective.

Speed measurement
Speed is the change in distance to an object with respect to time. Thus the existing system for measuring distance,
combined with a memory capacity to see where the target last was, is enough to measure speed. At one time the
memory consisted of a user making grease-pencil marks on the radar screen, and then calculating the speed using a
slide rule. Modern radar systems perform the equivalent operation faster and more accurately using computers.
However, if the transmitter's output is coherent (phase synchronized), there is another effect that can be used to make
almost instant speed measurements (no memory is required), known as the Doppler effect. Most modern radar
systems use this principle in the pulse-doppler radar system. Return signals from targets are shifted away from this
base frequency via the Doppler effect enabling the calculation of the speed of the object relative to the radar. The
Doppler effect is only able to determine the relative speed of the target along the line of sight from the radar to the
target. Any component of target velocity perpendicular to the line of sight cannot be determined by using the
Doppler effect alone, but it can be determined by tracking the target's azimuth over time. Additional information of
the nature of the Doppler returns may be found in the radar signal characteristics article.
It is also possible to make a radar without any pulsing, known as a continuous-wave radar (CW radar), by sending
out a very pure signal of a known frequency. CW radar is ideal for determining the radial component of a target's
velocity, but it cannot determine the target's range. CW radar is typically used by traffic enforcement to measure
vehicle speed quickly and accurately where range is not important.
Other mathematical developments in radar signal processing include time-frequency analysis (Weyl Heisenberg or
wavelet), as well as the chirplet transform which makes use of the fact that radar returns from moving targets
typically "chirp" (change their frequency as a function of time, as does the sound of a bird or bat).
Radar 61

Reduction of interference effects

Signal processing is employed in radar systems to reduce the radar interference effects. Signal processing techniques
include moving target indication (MTI), pulse doppler, moving target detection (MTD) processors, correlation with
secondary surveillance radar (SSR) targets, space-time adaptive processing (STAP), and track-before-detect (TBD).
Constant false alarm rate (CFAR) and digital terrain model (DTM) processing are also used in clutter environments.

Plot and track extraction

Radar video returns on aircraft can be subjected to a plot extraction process whereby spurious and interfering signals
are discarded. A sequence of target returns can be monitored through a device known as a plot extractor. The non
relevant real time returns can be removed from the displayed information and a single plot displayed. In some radar
systems, or alternatively in the command and control system to which the radar is connected, a radar tracker is used
to associate the sequence of plots belonging to individual targets and estimate the targets' headings and speeds.

Radar engineering
A radars components are:
• A transmitter that generates the radio signal with an oscillator such
as a klystron or a magnetron and controls its duration by a
• A waveguide that links the transmitter and the antenna.
• A duplexer that serves as a switch between the antenna and the
transmitter or the receiver for the signal when the antenna is used in
both situations.
• A receiver. Knowing the shape of the desired received signal (a
pulse), an optimal receiver can be designed using a matched filter. Radar components

• An electronic section that controls all those devices and the antenna
to perform the radar scan ordered by a software.
• A link to end users.

Antenna design
Radio signals broadcast from a single antenna will spread out in all directions, and likewise a single antenna will
receive signals equally from all directions. This leaves the radar with the problem of deciding where the target object
is located.
Early systems tended to use omni-directional broadcast antennas, with directional receiver antennas which were
pointed in various directions. For instance the first system to be deployed, Chain Home, used two straight antennas at
right angles for reception, each on a different display. The maximum return would be detected with an antenna at
right angles to the target, and a minimum with the antenna pointed directly at it (end on). The operator could
determine the direction to a target by rotating the antenna so one display showed a maximum while the other shows a
One serious limitation with this type of solution is that the broadcast is sent out in all directions, so the amount of
energy in the direction being examined is a small part of that transmitted. To get a reasonable amount of power on
the "target", the transmitting aerial should also be directional.
Radar 62

Parabolic reflector
More modern systems use a steerable parabolic "dish" to create a tight broadcast beam, typically using the same dish
as the receiver. Such systems often combine two radar frequencies in the same antenna in order to allow automatic
steering, or radar lock.
Parabolic reflectors can be either symmetric parabolas or spoiled parabolas:
• Symmetric parabolic antennas produce a narrow "pencil" beam in both the X and Y dimensions and consequently
have a higher gain. The NEXRAD Pulse-Doppler weather radar uses a symmetric antenna to perform detailed
volumetric scans of the atmosphere.
• Spoiled parabolic antennas produce a narrow beam in one
dimension and a relatively wide beam in the other. This feature is
useful if target detection over a wide range of angles is more
important than target location in three dimensions. Most 2D
surveillance radars use a spoiled parabolic antenna with a narrow
azimuthal beamwidth and wide vertical beamwidth. This beam
configuration allows the radar operator to detect an aircraft at a
specific azimuth but at an indeterminate height. Conversely,
so-called "nodder" height finding radars use a dish with a narrow
vertical beamwidth and wide azimuthal beamwidth to detect an Surveillance radar antenna
aircraft at a specific height but with low azimuthal precision.

Types of scan
• Primary Scan: A scanning technique where the main antenna aerial is moved to produce a scanning beam,
examples include circular scan, sector scan etc.
• Secondary Scan: A scanning technique where the antenna feed is moved to produce a scanning beam, examples
include conical scan, unidirectional sector scan, lobe switching etc.
• Palmer Scan: A scanning technique that produces a scanning beam by moving the main antenna and its feed. A
Palmer Scan is a combination of a Primary Scan and a Secondary Scan.

Slotted waveguide

Applied similarly to the parabolic reflector, the slotted waveguide is

moved mechanically to scan and is particularly suitable for
non-tracking surface scan systems, where the vertical pattern may
remain constant. Owing to its lower cost and less wind exposure,
shipboard, airport surface, and harbour surveillance radars now use this
in preference to the parabolic antenna.

Slotted waveguide antenna

Radar 63

Phased array

Another method of steering is used in a phased array radar. This uses

an array of similar aerials suitably spaced, the phase of the signal to
each individual aerial being controlled so that the signal is reinforced
in the desired direction and cancels in other directions. If the individual
aerials are in one plane and the signal is fed to each aerial in phase with
all others then the signal will reinforce in a direction perpendicular to
that plane. By altering the relative phase of the signal fed to each aerial
the direction of the beam can be moved because the direction of
constructive interference will move. Because phased array radars
require no physical movement the beam can scan at thousands of
Phased array: Not all radar antennas must rotate degrees per second, fast enough to irradiate and track many individual
to scan the sky. targets, and still run a wide-ranging search periodically. By simply
turning some of the antennas on or off, the beam can be spread for
searching, narrowed for tracking, or even split into two or more virtual radars. However, the beam cannot be
effectively steered at small angles to the plane of the array, so for full coverage multiple arrays are required, typically
disposed on the faces of a triangular pyramid (see picture).

Phased array radars have been in use since the earliest years of radar use in World War II, but limitations of the
electronics led to fairly poor accuracy. Phased array radars were originally used for missile defense. They are the
heart of the ship-borne Aegis combat system, and the Patriot Missile System, and are increasingly used in other areas
because the lack of moving parts makes them more reliable, and sometimes permits a much larger effective antenna,
useful in fighter aircraft applications that offer only confined space for mechanical scanning.
As the price of electronics has fallen, phased array radars have become more and more common. Almost all modern
military radar systems are based on phased arrays, where the small additional cost is far offset by the improved
reliability of a system with no moving parts. Traditional moving-antenna designs are still widely used in roles where
cost is a significant factor such as air traffic surveillance, weather radars and similar systems.
Phased array radars are also valued for use in aircraft, since they can track multiple targets. The first aircraft to use a
phased array radar is the B-1B Lancer. The first aircraft fighter to use phased array radar was the Mikoyan MiG-31.
The MiG-31M's SBI-16 Zaslon phased array radar is considered to be the world's most powerful fighter radar [23].
Phased-array interferometry or, aperture synthesis techniques, using an array of separate dishes that are phased into a
single effective aperture, are not typically used for radar applications, although they are widely used in radio
astronomy. Because of the Thinned array curse, such arrays of multiple apertures, when used in transmitters, result in
narrow beams at the expense of reducing the total power transmitted to the target. In principle, such techniques used
could increase the spatial resolution, but the lower power means that this is generally not effective. Aperture
synthesis by post-processing of motion data from a single moving source, on the other hand, is widely used in space
and airborne radar systems (see Synthetic aperture radar).
Radar 64

Frequency bands
The traditional band names originated as code-names during World War II and are still in military and aviation use
throughout the world in the 21st century. They have been adopted in the United States by the IEEE, and
internationally by the ITU. Most countries have additional regulations to control which parts of each band are
available for civilian or military use.
Other users of the radio spectrum, such as the broadcasting and electronic countermeasures (ECM) industries, have
replaced the traditional military designations with their own systems.

Radar frequency bands

Band Frequency Wavelength Notes
name range range

HF 3–30 MHz 10–100 m coastal radar systems, over-the-horizon radar (OTH) radars; 'high frequency'

P < 300 MHz 1 m+ 'P' for 'previous', applied retrospectively to early radar systems

VHF 30–300 MHz 1–10 m Very long range, ground penetrating; 'very high frequency'

UHF 300–1000 MHz 0.3–1 m Very long range (e.g. ballistic missile early warning), ground penetrating, foliage penetrating; 'ultra
high frequency'

L 1–2 GHz 15–30 cm Long range air traffic control and surveillance; 'L' for 'long'

S 2–4 GHz 7.5–15 cm Moderate range surveillance, Terminal air traffic control, long-range weather, marine radar; 'S' for

C 4–8 GHz 3.75–7.5 cm Satellite transponders; a compromise (hence 'C') between X and S bands; weather; long range tracking

X 8–12 GHz 2.5–3.75 cm Missile guidance, marine radar, weather, medium-resolution mapping and ground surveillance; in the
USA the narrow range 10.525 GHz ±25 MHz is used for airport radar; short range tracking. Named X
band because the frequency was a secret during WW2.

Ku 12–18 GHz 1.67–2.5 cm high-resolution

K 18–24 GHz 1.11–1.67 cm from German kurz, meaning 'short'; limited use due to absorption by water vapour, so Ku and Ka were
used instead for surveillance. K-band is used for detecting clouds by meteorologists, and by police for
detecting speeding motorists. K-band radar guns operate at 24.150 ± 0.100 GHz.

Ka 24–40 GHz 0.75–1.11 cm mapping, short range, airport surveillance; frequency just above K band (hence 'a') Photo radar, used
to trigger cameras which take pictures of license plates of cars running red lights, operates at 34.300 ±
0.100 GHz.

mm 40–300 GHz 7.5 mm – millimetre band, subdivided as below. The frequency ranges depend on waveguide size. Multiple
1 mm letters are assigned to these bands by different groups. These are from Baytron, a now defunct
company that made test equipment.

V 40–75 GHz 4.0 - 7.5 mm Very strongly absorbed by atmospheric oxygen, which resonates at 60 GHz.

W 75–110 GHz 2.7 – 4.0 mm used as a visual sensor for experimental autonomous vehicles, high-resolution meteorological
observation, and imaging.

UWB 1.6–10.5 GHz 18.75 cm – used for through-the-wall radar and imaging systems.
2.8 cm
Radar 65

Radar modulators
Modulators act to provide the waveform of the RF-pulse. There are two different radar modulator designs:
• high voltage switch for non-coherent keyed power-oscillators[24] These modulators consist of a high voltage pulse
generator formed from a high voltage supply, a pulse forming network, and a high voltage switch such as a
thyratron. They generate short pulses of power to feed the e.g. magnetron, a special type of vacuum tube that
converts DC (usually pulsed) into microwaves. This technology is known as Pulsed power. In this way, the
transmitted pulse of RF radiation is kept to a defined, and usually, very short duration.
• hybrid mixers,[25] fed by a waveform generator and an exciter for a complex but coherent waveform. This
waveform can be generated by low power/low-voltage input signals. In this case the radar transmitter must be a
power-amplifier, e.g. a klystron tube or a solid state transmitter. In this way, the transmitted pulse is
intrapulsemodulated and the radar receiver must use pulse compression technique mostly.

Radar coolant
Coolanol and PAO (poly-alpha olefin) are the two main coolants used to cool airborne radar equipment today.
Coolanol (silicate ester) was used in several military radars in the 1970s, for example the AN/APG-63 in the F-15.
However, it is hygroscopic, leading to formation of highly flammable alcohol. The loss of a U.S. Navy aircraft in
1978 was attributed to a silicate ester fire.[26] Coolanol is also expensive and toxic. The U.S. Navy has instituted a
program named Pollution Prevention (P2) to reduce or eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste, air emissions, and
effluent discharges. Because of this Coolanol is used less often today.
PAO is a synthetic lubricant blend of a polyol ester admixed with effective amounts of an antioxidant, yellow metal
pacifier and rust inhibitors. The polyol ester blend includes a major proportion of poly (neopentyl polyol) ester blend
formed by reacting poly(pentaerythritol) partial esters with at least one C7 to C12 carboxylic acid mixed with an
ester formed by reacting a polyol having at least two hydroxyl groups and at least one C8-C10 carboxylic acid.
Preferably, the acids are linear and avoid those which can cause odours during use. Effective additives include
secondary arylamine antioxidants, triazole derivative yellow metal pacifier and an amino acid derivative and
substituted primary and secondary amine and/or diamine rust inhibitor.
A synthetic coolant/lubricant composition, comprising an ester mixture of 50 to 80 weight percent of poly (neopentyl
polyol) ester formed by reacting a poly (neopentyl polyol) partial ester and at least one linear monocarboxylic acid
having from 6 to 12 carbon atoms, and 20 to 50 weight percent of a polyol ester formed by reacting a polyol having
5 to 8 carbon atoms and at least two hydroxyl groups with at least one linear monocarboxylic acid having from 7 to
12 carbon atoms, the weight percents based on the total weight of the composition.

Radar configurations and types

Radars configurations include Monopulse radar, Bistatic radar, Doppler radar, Continuous-wave radar, etc..
depending on the types of hardware and software used. It is used in aviation (Primary and secondary radar), sea
vessels, law enforcement, weather surveillance, ground mapping, geophysical surveys, and biological research.

[1] NASA. "RADAR means: Radio Detection and Ranging" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20071014061010/ http:/ / nasaexplores. com/
show_k4_teacher_st. php?id=030703122033). Nasa Explores. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. nasaexplores. com/
show_k4_teacher_st. php?id=030703122033) on 2007-10-14. .
[2] "Radar definition in multiple dictionaries" (http:/ / www. answers. com/ topic/ radar). . Retrieved 2008-10-09.
[3] Kostenko, A. A., A. I. Nosich, and I. A. Tishchenko, "Radar Prehistory, Soviet Side," Proc. of IEEE APS International Symposium 2001,
vol.4. p. 44, 2003
[4] Christian Hülsmeyer by Radar World (http:/ / www. radarworld. org/ huelsmeyer. html)
Radar 66

[5] Patent DE165546; Verfahren, um metallische Gegenstände mittels elektrischer Wellen einem Beobachter zu melden. (http:/ / upload.
wikimedia. org/ wikipedia/ commons/ 1/ 11/ DE165546. pdf)
[6] Verfahren zur Bestimmung der Entfernung von metallischen Gegenständen (Schiffen o. dgl.), deren Gegenwart durch das Verfahren nach
Patent 16556 festgestellt wird. (http:/ / upload. wikimedia. org/ wikipedia/ commons/ e/ e9/ DE169154. pdf)
[7] GB 13170 (http:/ / v3. espacenet. com/ textdoc?DB=EPODOC& IDX=GB13170) Telemobiloscope
[8] The Electrical Experimenter, 1917
[9] Post-War Research and Development of Radio Communication Equipment (http:/ / earlyradiohistory. us/ 1963hw28. htm)
[10] Radar (http:/ / earlyradiohistory. us/ 1963hw38. htm)
[11] Watson, Raymond C., Jr., Radar Origins Worldwide: History of Its Evolution in 13 Nations Through World War II, Trafford Publishing,
2009, ISBN 978-1-4269-2111-7
[12] (http:/ / www. teslasociety. com/ time. jpg)
[13] FR 788795 (http:/ / v3. espacenet. com/ textdoc?DB=EPODOC& IDX=FR788795) Nouveau système de repérage d'obstacles et ses
[14] (French) Copy of Patents for the invention of radar (http:/ / www. radar-france. fr/ brevet radar1934. htm) on
[15] John Erickson. Radio-Location and the Air Defence Problem: The Design and Development of Soviet Radar. Science Studies, Vol. 2, No. 3
(Jul., 1972), pp. 241-263
[16] Page, Robert Morris, The Origin of Radar, Doubleday Anchor, New York, 1962, p. 66
[17] "Mystery Ray Locates Enemy" (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=bygDAAAAMBAJ& pg=PA29& dq=Popular+ Science+ 1932+
plane& hl=en& ei=Ku9QTcb4A425tgf6nbmeCQ& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=5& ved=0CDoQ6AEwBDgy#v=onepage&
q& f=true) Popular Mechanics, October 1935
[18] Goebel, Greg (2007-01-01). "The Wizard War: WW2 & The Origins Of Radar" (http:/ / www. vectorsite. net/ ttwiz_01. html). . Retrieved
[19] http:/ / www. doramusic. com/ Radar. htm
[20] British man first to patent radar (http:/ / www. patent. gov. uk/ media/ pressrelease/ 2001/ 1009. htm) official site of the Patent Office
[21] GB 593017 (http:/ / v3. espacenet. com/ textdoc?DB=EPODOC& IDX=GB593017) Improvements in or relating to wireless systems
[22] illustration bottom page 56 Popular Mechanics April 1940 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=hCcDAAAAMBAJ& pg=PA56&
dq=popular+ science+ April+ 1940& hl=en& ei=SHqMTJ6CK8fanAeroIC0Cw& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=5&
ved=0CEUQ6AEwBA#v=onepage& q& f=true)
[23] http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ world/ russia/ mig-31. htm
[24] Radartutorial (http:/ / www. radartutorial. eu/ / 08. transmitters/ tx06. en. html)
[25] Radartutorial (http:/ / www. radartutorial. eu/ / 08. transmitters/ tx10. en. html)
(http:/ / www. dtic. mil/ cgi-bin/ GetTRDoc?AD=ADA250517& Location=U2& doc=GetTRDoc. pdf). Melbourne, Australia: Aeronautical
Research Laboratory, Defense Science and Technology Organisation, Department of Defense. . Retrieved 2010-03-18.

• Barrett, Dick, " All you ever wanted to know about British air defence radar (
index.htm)". The Radar Pages. (History and details of various British radar systems)
• Buderi, " Telephone History: Radar History (
radarhistorybuderi.html)". (Anecdotal account of the carriage of the world's first high power
cavity magnetron from Britain to the US during WW2.)
• Ekco Radar WW2 Shadow Factory ( The secret development of British radar.
• ES310 " Introduction to Naval Weapons Engineering.". (Radar fundamentals section) (
• Hollmann, Martin, " Radar Family Tree (". Radar World (http://
• Penley, Bill, and Jonathan Penley, " Early Radar History (
introduction.htm) - an Introduction". 2002.
• Pub 1310 Radar Navigation and Maneuvering Board Manual, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Bethesda,
MD 2001 (US govt publication '...intended to be used primarily as a manual of instruction in navigation schools
and by naval and merchant marine personnel.')
Radar 67

Further reading
• Batt, Reg, "The Radar Army: Winning the War of the Airwaves", Robert Hale Ltd. 1991 ISBN 0-7090-4508-5
• Bowen, E.G., Radar Days, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1987., ISBN 0-7503-0586-X
• Bragg, Michael., RDF1 The Location of Aircraft by Radio Methods 1935–1945, Hawkhead Publishing, Paisley
1988 ISBN 0-9531544-0-8 The history of ground radar in the UK during World War II
• Brown, Louis., A Radar History of World War II, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1999., ISBN
• Buderi, Robert, The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second
World War and Launched a Technological Revolution, Simon & Schuster, 1996. ISBN 0-684-81021-2
• Burch, David F., Radar For Mariners, McGraw Hill, 2005, ISBN 0-07-139867-8.
• Hall, P.S., T.K. Garland-Collins, R.S. Picton and R.G. Lee, Radar, Brassey's (UK) Ltd., 1991, Land Warfare
Series: Vol 9, ISBN 0-08-037711-4.
• Howse, Derek, Radar At Sea The Royal Navy in World War 2, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, USA,
1993, ISBN 1-55750-704-X
• Jones, R.V., Most Secret War, ISBN 1-85326-699-X. R.V. Jones' account of his part in British Scientific
Intelligence between 1939 and 1945, working to anticipate the German's radar, radio navigation and V1/V2
• Kaiser, Gerald, Chapter 10 in "A Friendly Guide to Wavelets", Birkhauser, Boston, 1994.
• Kouemou, Guy (Ed.): Radar Technology. InTech, 2010, ISBN 978-953-307-029-2, ( (http://www.intechopen.
• Latham, Colin & Stobbs, Anne., Radar A Wartime Miracle, Sutton Publishing Ltd, Stroud 1996 ISBN
0-7509-1643-5 A history of radar in the UK during World War II told by the men and women who worked on it.
• Le Chevalier, François, Principles of Radar and Sonar Signal Processing, Artech House, Boston, London, 2002.
ISBN 1-58053-338-8.
• Pritchard, David., The Radar War Germany's Pioneering Achievement 1904–1945 Patrick Stephens Ltd,
Wellingborough 1989., ISBN 1-85260-246-5
• Skolnik, Merrill I., Introduction to Radar Systems, McGraw-Hill (1st ed., 1962; 2nd ed., 1980; 3rd ed., 2001),
ISBN 0-07-066572-9. The de-facto radar introduction bible.
• Skolnik, Merrill I., Radar Handbook. ISBN 0-07-057913-X widely used in the US since the 1970s. New 3rd
Edition, February 2008, ISBN 0-07-148547-3; 978-0-07-148547-0
• Stimson, George W., Introduction to Airborne Radar, SciTech Publishing (2nd edition, 1998), ISBN
1-891121-01-4. Written for the non-specialist. The first half of the book on radar fundamentals is also applicable
to ground- and sea-based radar.
• Younghusband, Eileen., Not an Ordinary Life. How Changing Times Brought Historical Events into my Life,
Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, Cardiff, 2009., ISBN 987-0-9561156-9-0 (Pages 36–67 contain the
experiences of a WAAF radar plotter in WWII.)
• Zimmerman, David., Britain's Shield Radar and the Defeat of the Luftwaffe, Sutton Publishing Ltd, Stroud, 2001,
ISBN 0-7509-1799-7

External links
• Popular Science, August 1943, What Are the Facts About RADAR (
ved=0CDwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=true) one of the first detailed factual articles on radar history,
principles and operation published in the US
Radar 68

• "The Great Detective", 1946. Story of the development of radar by the Chrysler Corporation (http://imperialclub.
• Christian Hülsmeyer and the early days of radar (
• Radar: The Canadian History of Radar - Canadian War Museum (
• Radar technology principles (
• History of radar (
• Radar invisibility with metamaterials (
• Radar Research Center-Italy (
• Early radar development in the UK (
• Principles of radar target acquisition and weapon guidance systems (
• Cloaking and radar invisibility (
• The Secrets of Radar Museum (
• 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron (
• Radar (
• EKCO WW II ASV radar units (
• RAF Air Defence Radar Museum (
• Radar - A case study highlighting the vital contribution physics research has made to major technological
development (

Communications satellite
A communications satellite (sometimes abbreviated to
COMSAT) is an artificial satellite stationed in space
for the purpose of telecommunications. Modern
communications satellites use a variety of orbits
including geostationary orbits, Molniya orbits, other
elliptical orbits and low (polar and non-polar) Earth

For fixed (point-to-point) services, communications

satellites provide a microwave radio relay technology
complementary to that of submarine communication
cables. They are also used for mobile applications such
as communications to ships, vehicles, planes and
hand-held terminals, and for TV and radio
broadcasting, for which application of other
technologies, such as cable, is impractical or

U.S. military WGSS communications satellite

Communications satellite 69

See: Geostationary Orbit and Geosynchronous orbit Satellites.
The first artificial satellite was the Soviet Sputnik 1, launched on October 4, 1957, and equipped with an on-board
radio-transmitter that worked on two frequencies, 20.005 and 40.002 MHz. The first American satellite to relay
communications was Project SCORE in 1958, which used a tape recorder to store and forward voice messages. It
was used to send a Christmas greeting to the world from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. NASA launched an
Echo satellite in 1960; the 100-foot (30 m) aluminized PET film balloon served as a passive reflector for radio
communications. Courier 1B, built by Philco, also launched in 1960, was the world’s first active repeater satellite.
Telstar was the first active, direct relay communications satellite. Belonging to AT&T as part of a multi-national
agreement between AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office, and the French
National PTT (Post Office) to develop satellite communications, it was launched by NASA from Cape Canaveral on
July 10, 1962, the first privately sponsored space launch. Telstar was placed in an elliptical orbit (completed once
every 2 hours and 37 minutes), rotating at a 45° angle above the equator.
An immediate antecedent of the geostationary satellites was Hughes’ Syncom 2, launched on July 26, 1963. Syncom
2 revolved around the earth once per day at constant speed, but because it still had north-south motion, special
equipment was needed to track it.

Geostationary orbits
A satellite in a geostationary orbit appears to be in a fixed position to
an earth-based observer. A geostationary satellite revolves around the
earth at a constant speed once per day over the equator.
The geostationary orbit is useful for communications applications
because ground based antennas, which must be directed toward the
satellite, can operate effectively without the need for expensive
equipment to track the satellite’s motion. Especially for applications
that require a large number of ground antennas (such as direct TV
distribution), the savings in ground equipment can more than justify
the extra cost and onboard complexity of lifting a satellite into the
relatively high geostationary orbit.
Geostationary orbit
The concept of the geostationary communications satellite was first
proposed by Arthur C. Clarke, building on work by Konstantin
Tsiolkovsky and on the 1929 work by Herman Potočnik (writing as Herman Noordung) Das Problem der Befahrung
des Weltraums - der Raketen-motor. In October 1945 Clarke published an article titled “Extra-terrestrial Relays [1]”
in the British magazine Wireless World. The article described the fundamentals behind the deployment of artificial
satellites in geostationary orbits for the purpose of relaying radio signals. Thus Arthur C. Clarke is often quoted as
being the inventor of the communications satellite.

The first truly geostationary satellite launched in orbit was the Syncom 3, launched on August 19, 1964. It was
placed in orbit at 180° east longitude, over the International Date Line. It was used that same year to relay
experimental television coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan to the United States, making these
Olympic games the first to be broadcast internationally. Although Syncom 3 is some times credited with the first
television transmission to cross the Pacific Ocean, the Relay 1 satellite first broadcast from the United States to
Japan on November 22, 1963.[2]
Shortly after Syncom 3, Intelsat I, aka Early Bird, was launched on April 6, 1965 and placed in orbit at 28° west
longitude. It was the first geostationary satellite for telecommunications over the Atlantic Ocean.
Communications satellite 70

On November 9, 1972, Canada's first geostationary satellite serving the continent, Anik A1, was launched by Telesat
Canada, with the United States following suit with the launch of Westar 1 by Western Union on April 13, 1974.
On May 30, 1974, the first geostationary communications satellite in the world to be three-axis stabilized was
launched: the experimental satellite ATS-6 built for NASA
After the launches of Telstar, Syncom 3, Early Bird, Anik A1, and Westar 1, RCA Americom (later GE Americom,
now SES Americom) launched Satcom 1 in 1975. It was Satcom 1 that was instrumental in helping early cable TV
channels such as WTBS (now TBS Superstation), HBO, CBN (now ABC Family), and The Weather Channel
become successful, because these channels distributed their programming to all of the local cable TV headends using
the satellite. Additionally, it was the first satellite used by broadcast television networks in the United States, like
ABC, NBC, and CBS, to distribute programming to their local affiliate stations. Satcom 1 was widely used because
it had twice the communications capacity of the competing Westar 1 in America (24 transponders as opposed to the
12 of Westar 1), resulting in lower transponder-usage costs. Satellites in later decades tended to have even higher
transponder numbers.
By 2000, Hughes Space and Communications (now Boeing Satellite Development Center) had built nearly 40
percent of the more than one hundred satellites in service worldwide. Other major satellite manufacturers include
Space Systems/Loral, Orbital Sciences Corporation with the STAR Bus series, Indian Space Research Organization,
Lockheed Martin (owns the former RCA Astro Electronics/GE Astro Space business), Northrop Grumman, Alcatel
Space, now Thales Alenia Space, with the Spacebus series, and Astrium.

Low-Earth-orbiting satellites
A Low Earth Orbit (LEO) typically is a circular orbit about 400
kilometres above the earth’s surface and, correspondingly, a period
(time to revolve around the earth) of about 90 minutes. Because of
their low altitude, these satellites are only visible from within a radius
of roughly 1000 kilometres from the sub-satellite point. In addition,
satellites in low earth orbit change their position relative to the ground
position quickly. So even for local applications, a large number of
satellites are needed if the mission requires uninterrupted connectivity.

Low earth orbiting satellites are less expensive to launch into orbit than
geostationary satellites and, due to proximity to the ground, do not
require as high signal strength (Recall that signal strength falls off as
the square of the distance from the source, so the effect is dramatic). Low Earth orbit in Cyan

Thus there is a trade off between the number of satellites and their cost.
In addition, there are important differences in the onboard and ground equipment needed to support the two types of

A group of satellites working in concert is known as a satellite constellation. Two such constellations, intended to
provide satellite phone services, primarily to remote areas, are the Iridium and Globalstar systems. The Iridium
system has 66 satellites. Another LEO satellite constellation known as Teledesic, with backing from Microsoft
entrepreneur Paul Allen, was to have over 840 satellites. This was later scaled back to 288 and ultimately ended up
only launching one test satellite.
It is also possible to offer discontinuous coverage using a low Earth orbit satellite capable of storing data received
while passing over one part of Earth and transmitting it later while passing over another part. This will be the case
with the CASCADE system of Canada’s CASSIOPE communications satellite. Another system using this store and
forward method is Orbcomm.
Communications satellite 71

Molniya satellites
As mentioned, geostationary satellites are constrained to operate above the equator. As a consequence, they are not
always suitable for providing services at high latitudes: at high latitudes, a geostationary satellite will appear low on
the horizon, affecting connectivity and causing multipath (interference caused by signals reflecting off the ground
and into the ground antenna). The first satellite of the Molniya series was launched on April 23, 1965 and was used
for experimental transmission of TV signal from a Moscow uplink station to downlink stations located in Siberia and
the Russian Far East, in Norilsk, Khabarovsk, Magadan and Vladivostok. In November 1967 Soviet engineers
created a unique system of national TV network of satellite television, called Orbita, that was based on Molniya
Molniya orbits can be an appealing alternative in such cases. The Molniya orbit is highly inclined, guaranteeing good
elevation over selected positions during the northern portion of the orbit. (Elevation is the extent of the satellite’s
position above the horizon. Thus, a satellite at the horizon has zero elevation and a satellite directly overhead has
elevation of 90 degrees).
Furthermore, the Molniya orbit is designed so that the satellite spends the great majority of its time over the far
northern latitudes, during which its ground footprint moves only slightly. Its period is one half day, so that the
satellite is available for operation over the targeted region for eight hours every second revolution. In this way a
constellation of three Molniya satellites (plus in-orbit spares) can provide uninterrupted coverage.
Molniya satellites are typically used for telephony and TV services over Russia. Another application is to use them
for mobile radio systems (even at lower latitudes) since cars travelling through urban areas need access to satellites
at high elevation in order to secure good connectivity, e.g. in the presence of tall buildings.

Bandwidth of a satellite
Bandwidth of a satellite depends upon the number of transponders a satellite has. Each service (TV, Voice, Internet,
radio) requires different amount of bandwidth for transmission. The bandwidth of transponder is used to carry these


The first and historically most important application for communication satellites
was in intercontinental long distance telephony. The fixed Public Switched
Telephone Network relays telephone calls from land line telephones to an earth
station, where they are then transmitted to a geostationary satellite. The downlink
follows an analogous path. Improvements in submarine communications cables,
through the use of fiber-optics, caused some decline in the use of satellites for fixed
An Iridium satellite
telephony in the late 20th century, but they still serve remote islands such as
Ascension Island, Saint Helena, Diego Garcia, and Easter Island, where no
submarine cables are in service. There are also regions of some continents and countries where landline
telecommunications are rare to nonexistent, for example large regions of South America, Africa, Canada, China,
Russia, and Australia. Satellite communications also provide connection to the edges of Antarctica and Greenland.

Satellite phones connect directly to a constellation of either geostationary or low-earth-orbit satellites. Calls are then
forwarded to a satellite teleport connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network
Communications satellite 72

Satellite television
As television became the main market, its demand for simultaneous delivery of relatively few signals of large
bandwidth to many receivers being a more precise match for the capabilities of geosynchronous comsats. Two
satellite types are used for North American television and radio: Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), and Fixed Service
Satellite (FSS)
The definitions of FSS and DBS satellites outside of North America, especially in Europe, are a bit more ambiguous.
Most satellites used for direct-to-home television in Europe have the same high power output as DBS-class satellites
in North America, but use the same linear polarization as FSS-class satellites. Examples of these are the Astra,
Eutelsat, and Hotbird spacecraft in orbit over the European continent. Because of this, the terms FSS and DBS are
more so used throughout the North American continent, and are uncommon in Europe.

Fixed Service Satellite

Fixed Service Satellites use the C band, and the lower portions of the Ku bands. They are normally used for
broadcast feeds to and from television networks and local affiliate stations (such as program feeds for network and
syndicated programming, live shots, and backhauls), as well as being used for distance learning by schools and
universities, business television (BTV), Videoconferencing, and general commercial telecommunications. FSS
satellites are also used to distribute national cable channels to cable television headends.
Free-to-air satellite TV channels are also usually distributed on FSS satellites in the Ku band. The Intelsat Americas
5, Galaxy 10R and AMC 3 satellites over North America provide a quite large amount of FTA channels on their Ku
band transponders.
The American DISH Network DBS service has also recently utilized FSS technology as well for their programming
packages requiring their SuperDish antenna, due to Dish Network needing more capacity to carry local television
stations per the FCC's "must-carry" regulations, and for more bandwidth to carry HDTV channels.

Direct broadcast satellite

A direct broadcast satellite is a communications satellite that transmits to small DBS satellite dishes (usually 18 to
24 inches or 45 to 60 cm in diameter). Direct broadcast satellites generally operate in the upper portion of the
microwave Ku band. DBS technology is used for DTH-oriented (Direct-To-Home) satellite TV services, such as
DirecTV and DISH Network in the United States, Bell TV and Shaw Direct in Canada, Freesat and Sky Digital in
the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and New Zealand.
Operating at lower frequency and lower power than DBS, FSS satellites require a much larger dish for reception (3
to 8 feet (1 to 2.5m) in diameter for Ku band, and 12 feet (3.6m) or larger for C band). They use linear polarization
for each of the transponders' RF input and output (as opposed to circular polarization used by DBS satellites), but
this is a minor technical difference that users do not notice. FSS satellite technology was also originally used for
DTH satellite TV from the late 1970s to the early 1990s in the United States in the form of TVRO (TeleVision
Receive Only) receivers and dishes. It was also used in its Ku band form for the now-defunct Primestar satellite TV
Satellites for communication have now been launched that have transponders in the Ka band, such as DirecTV's
SPACEWAY-1 satellite, and Anik F2. NASA as well has launched experimental satellites using the Ka band
Communications satellite 73

Mobile satellite technologies

Initially available for broadcast to stationary TV receivers, by 2004 popular mobile direct broadcast applications
made their appearance with that arrival of two satellite radio systems in the United States: Sirius and XM Satellite
Radio Holdings. Some manufacturers have also introduced special antennas for mobile reception of DBS television.
Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology as a reference, these antennas automatically re-aim to the
satellite no matter where or how the vehicle (on which the antenna is mounted) is situated. These mobile satellite
antennas are popular with some recreational vehicle owners. Such mobile DBS antennas are also used by JetBlue
Airways for DirecTV (supplied by LiveTV, a subsidiary of JetBlue), which passengers can view on-board on LCD
screens mounted in the seats.

Satellite radio
Satellite radio offers audio services in some countries, notably the United States. Mobile services allow listeners to
roam a continent, listening to the same audio programming anywhere.
A satellite radio or subscription radio (SR) is a digital radio signal that is broadcast by a communications satellite,
which covers a much wider geographical range than terrestrial radio signals.
Satellite radio offers a meaningful alternative to ground-based radio services in some countries, notably the United
States. Mobile services, such as Sirius, XM, and Worldspace, allow listeners to roam across an entire continent,
listening to the same audio programming anywhere they go. Other services, such as Music Choice or Muzak's
satellite-delivered content, require a fixed-location receiver and a dish antenna. In all cases, the antenna must have a
clear view to the satellites. In areas where tall buildings, bridges, or even parking garages obscure the signal,
repeaters can be placed to make the signal available to listeners.
Radio services are usually provided by commercial ventures and are subscription-based. The various services are
proprietary signals, requiring specialized hardware for decoding and playback. Providers usually carry a variety of
news, weather, sports, and music channels, with the music channels generally being commercial-free.
In areas with a relatively high population density, it is easier and less expensive to reach the bulk of the population
with terrestrial broadcasts. Thus in the UK and some other countries, the contemporary evolution of radio services is
focused on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) services or HD Radio, rather than satellite radio.

Amateur radio
Amateur radio operators have access to the OSCAR satellites that have been designed specifically to carry amateur
radio traffic. Most such satellites operate as spaceborne repeaters, and are generally accessed by amateurs equipped
with UHF or VHF radio equipment and highly directional antennas such as Yagis or dish antennas. Due to launch
costs, most current amateur satellites are launched into fairly low Earth orbits, and are designed to deal with only a
limited number of brief contacts at any given time. Some satellites also provide data-forwarding services using the
AX.25 or similar protocols.
Communications satellite 74

Satellite Internet
After the 1990s, satellite communication technology has been used as a means to connect to the Internet via
broadband data connections. This can be very useful for users who are located in very remote areas, and cannot
access a broadband connection.

Military uses
Communications satellites are used for military communications applications, such as Global Command and Control
Systems. Examples of military systems that use communication satellites are the MILSTAR, the DSCS, and the
FLTSATCOM of the United States, NATO satellites, United Kingdom satellites, and satellites of the former Soviet
Union. Many military satellites operate in the X-band, and some also use UHF radio links, while MILSTAR also
utilizes Ka band.

[1] http:/ / www. lsi. usp. br/ ~rbianchi/ clarke/ ACC. ETRelaysFull. html
[2] "Significant Achievements in Space Communications and Navigation, 1958-1964" (http:/ / ntrs. nasa. gov/ archive/ nasa/ casi. ntrs. nasa. gov/
19660009169_1966009169. pdf). NASA-SP-93. NASA. 1966. pp. 30–32. . Retrieved 2009-10-31.

External links
• GLOBCOS NetWorks GmbH (
• Satellite Industry Association. (
• European Satellite Operators Association. (
• Online Satellite Glossary & Resource for Satcoms. (
• SatMagazine an on-line magazine on communications satellites. (
• SatNews an on-line directory of communications satellites. (
• LyngSat, an on-line directory of FSS & DBS communications satellites, and their transponder information (http:/
• The future of communication satellite business (
• Communications satellites short history ( by
David J. Whalen
• Beyond The Ionosphere: Fifty Years of Satellite Communication (NASA SP-4217, 1997) (http://history.nasa.
gov/SP-4217/sp4217.htm) – an entire book online—scroll down for “contents” link.
• NASA experimental communications satellites (
• Syncom 2 satellite description (
• Lloyd’s Satellite Constellations (
• Satcom Online – A Resource for Satcom Engineers (
• An Overview of Satellite Operating Frequencies and their Applications. (
• Unofficial USAF Satellite, Wideband and Telemetry Communications Career Field Page (http://www.2e1x1.
• Tool to point parabolic antennas (
• Computation of radiowave attenuation in the atmosphere
Unmanned aerial vehicle 75

Unmanned aerial vehicle

Unmanned aerial vehicle

A group photo of aerial demonstrators at the 2005 Naval Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Air Demo.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV; also known as a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or sometimes incorrectly
referred to as a remotely piloted vehicle or RPV) is an aircraft that is flown by a pilot or a navigator (now called
Combat Systems Officer) depending on the different Air Forces; however, without a human crew on board the
aircraft. Their largest uses are in military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a
powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly
autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal
payload.[1] Therefore, cruise missiles are not considered UAVs, because, like many other guided missiles, the
vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided.
There are a wide variety of UAV shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple
drones[2] (remotely piloted aircraft), but autonomous control is increasingly being employed in UAVs. UAVs come
in two varieties: some are controlled from a remote location, and others fly autonomously based on pre-programmed
flight plans using more complex dynamic automation systems.
Currently, military UAVs perform reconnaissance as well as attack missions.[3] While many successful drone attacks
on militants have been reported, they are also prone to collateral damage and/or erroneous targeting, as with many
other weapon types.[2] UAVs are also used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as firefighting
or nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too
"dull, dirty, or dangerous" for manned aircraft.
The abbreviation UAV has been expanded in some cases to UAVS (unmanned-aircraft vehicle system). In the
United States, the Federal Aviation Administration has adopted the generic class unmanned aircraft system (UAS)
originally introduced by the U.S. Navy to reflect the fact that these are not just aircraft, but systems, including ground
stations and other elements.
Unmanned aerial vehicle 76

The earliest unmanned aerial vehicle was A. M. Low's "Aerial Target"
of 1916.[4] Nikola Tesla described a fleet of unmanned aerial combat
vehicles in 1915.[5] A number of remote-controlled airplane advances
followed, including the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, during and
after World War I, including the first scale RPV (Remote Piloted
Vehicle), developed by the film star and model airplane enthusiast
Reginald Denny in 1935.[4] More were made in the technology rush
during the Second World War; these were used both to train
Ryan Firebee was a series of target
drones/unmanned aerial vehicles. antiaircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Jet engines were applied
after WW2, in such types as the Teledyne Ryan Firebee I of 1951,
while companies like Beechcraft also got in the game with their Model 1001 for the United States Navy in 1955.[4]
Nevertheless, they were little more than remote-controlled airplanes until the Vietnam Era.

The birth of US UAVs (called RPVs at the time) began in 1959 when USAF officers, concerned about losing US
pilots over hostile territory, began planning for the use of unmanned flights.[6] This plan became intensified when
Francis Gary Powers and his "secret" U-2 were shot down over the USSR in 1960. Within days, the highly classified
UAV program was launched under the code name of "Red Wagon." [7] The August 2 and August 4, 1964, clash in
the Tonkin Gulf between naval units of the US and North Vietnamese Navy initiated America's highly classified
UAVs into their first combat missions of the Vietnam War.[8] Indeed, the USAF's UAVs were so secret, that even
when the "Red Chinese"[9] showed photographs of downed US UAVs via Wide World Photos,[10] the official US
response was, "no comment." Only on February 26, 1973, during testimony before the US House Appropriations
Committee, did the US military officially confirm that they had been utilizing UAVs in Southeast Asia (Vietnam).[11]
While over 5,000 US airmen had been killed and over 1,000 more were either missing in action (MIA), or captured
(prisoners of war/POW); the USAF 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing had flown approximately 3,435 UAV
missions during the war,[12] at a cost of about 554 UAVs lost to all causes. In the words of USAF General George S.
Brown, Commander, Air Force Systems Command in 1972, "The only reason we need (UAVs) is that we don't want
to needlessly expend the man in the cockpit."[13] Later that same year, General John C. Meyer, Commander in Chief,
Strategic Air Command, stated, "we let the drone do the high-risk flying...the loss rate is high, but we are willing to
risk more of them...they save lives!"[13]
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Syrian missile batteries in Lebanon caused heavy damage to Israeli fighter jets.
As a result, Israel developed their first modern UAV. The images and radar decoying provided by these UAVs
helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian air defenses at the start of the 1982 Lebanon War, resulting in no
pilots downed.[14]
With the maturing and miniaturization of applicable technologies as seen in the 1980s and 1990s, interest in UAVs
grew within the higher echelons of the US military. UAVs were seen to offer the possibility of cheaper, more
capable fighting machines that could be used without risk to aircrews. Initial generations were primarily surveillance
aircraft, but some were armed (such as the MQ-1 Predator, which utilized AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles).
An armed UAV is known as an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).
As a tool for search and rescue, UAVs can help find humans lost in the wilderness, trapped in collapsed buildings, or
adrift at sea.
Unmanned aerial vehicle 77

UAV classification
UAVs typically fall into one of six functional categories (although
multi-role airframe platforms are becoming more prevalent):
• Target and decoy – providing ground and aerial gunnery a target
that simulates an enemy aircraft or missile
• Reconnaissance – providing battlefield intelligence
• Combat – providing attack capability for high-risk missions (see
Unmanned combat air vehicle)
• Logistics – UAVs specifically designed for cargo and logistics
operation Although most UAVs are fixed-wing aircraft,
• Research and development – used to further develop UAV rotorcraft designs (i.e., RUAVs) such as this
technologies to be integrated into field deployed UAV aircraft MQ-8B Fire Scout are also used.

• Civil and Commercial UAVs – UAVs specifically designed for civil

and commercial applications
They can also be categorised in terms of range/altitude and the
following has been advanced as relevant at such industry events as
ParcAberporth Unmanned Systems forum:
• Handheld 2000 ft (600 m) altitude, about 2 km range
• Close 5000 ft (1500 m) altitude, up to 10 km range
• NATO type 10000 ft (3000 m) altitude, up to 50 km range
• Tactical 18000 ft (5500 m) altitude, about 160 km range
Schiebel S-100 fitted with a Lightweight • MALE (medium altitude, long endurance) up to 30000 ft (9000 m)
Multirole Missile and range over 200 km

• HALE (high altitude, long endurance) over 30000 ft (9100 m) and indefinite range
• HYPERSONIC high-speed, supersonic (Mach 1–5) or hypersonic (Mach 5+) 50000 ft (15200 m) or suborbital
altitude, range over 200 km
• ORBITAL low earth orbit (Mach 25+)
• CIS Lunar Earth-Moon transfer
• CACGS Computer Assisted Carrier Guidance System for UAVs
Additional category can be applied in pattern of function: fixed routes vs. dynamically variable routes:
• A Train Cable UAV (TCUAV) is a combination of three concepts: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned
ground vehicles (UGVs), and trains.
The United States military employs a tier system for categorizing its UAVs.

United States military UAV classifications

The modern concept of U.S. military UAVs is to have the various aircraft systems work together in support of
personnel on the ground. The integration scheme is described in terms of a "Tier" system, and is used by military
planners to designate the various individual aircraft elements in an overall usage plan for integrated operations. The
Tiers do not refer to specific models of aircraft, but rather roles for which various models and their manufacturers
competed. The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps each has its own tier system, and the two systems are
themselves not integrated.
Unmanned aerial vehicle 78

US Air Force tiers

• Tier N/A: Small/Micro UAV. Role filled by BATMAV (Wasp

Block III).[15]
• Tier I: Low altitude, long endurance. Role filled by the Gnat 750.[16]
• Tier II: Medium altitude, long endurance (MALE). Role currently
filled by the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper.
• Tier II+: High altitude, long endurance conventional UAV (or
HALE UAV). Altitude: 60,000 to 65000 feet (19800 m), less than
300 knots (560 km/h) airspeed, 3000-nautical-mile (6000 km)
radius, 24 hour time-on-station capability. Complementary to the An MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer surveillance
Tier III- aircraft. Role currently filled by the RQ-4 Global Hawk. UAV.

• Tier III-: High altitude, long endurance low-observable UAV. Same

parameters as, and complementary to, the Tier II+ aircraft. The RQ-3 DarkStar was originally intended to fulfill
this role before it was "terminated."[17] [18] On December 4, 2009 the USAF confirmed the existence of the
RQ-170 Sentinel.

US Marine Corps tiers

• Tier N/A: Micro UAV. Wasp III fills this role, driven largely by the desire for commonality with the USAF
BATMAV. [19]
• Tier I: Role currently filled by the Dragon Eye but all ongoing and future procurement for the Dragon Eye
program is going now to the RQ-11B Raven B.
• Tier II: Role currently filled by the ScanEagle and, to some extent, the RQ-2 Pioneer.
• Tier III: For two decades, the role of medium range tactical UAV was filled by the Pioneer UAV. In July 2007,
the Marine Corps announced its intention to retire the aging Pioneer fleet and transition to the Shadow Tactical
Unmanned Aircraft System by AAI Corporation. The first Marine Shadow systems have already been delivered,
and training for their respective Marine Corps units is underway.[20] [21]

U.S. Army tiers

• Tier I: Small UAV. Role filled by the RQ-11A/B Raven.
• Tier II: Short Range Tactical UAV. Role filled by the RQ-7A/B Shadow 200.
• Tier III: Medium Range Tactical UAV. Role currently filled by the RQ-5A / MQ-5A/B Hunter and
IGNAT/IGNAT-ER, but transitioning to the Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

Future Combat Systems (FCS) (U.S. Army) classes

• Class I: For small units. Role to be filled by all new UAV with some similarity to Micro Air Vehicle.
• Class II: For companies (cancelled).[22]
• Class III: For battalions (cancelled).[22]
• Class IV: For brigades. Role to be filled by the RQ-8A/B / MQ-8B Fire Scout.

Unmanned aircraft system

UAS, or unmanned aircraft system, is the official United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) term for an
unmanned aerial vehicle. Initially coined by the FAA in 2004 to reflect the fact that these complex systems include
ground stations and other elements besides the actual aircraft, the term was first officially used by the FAA in early
2005 and subsequently adopted by DoD that same year in their Unmanned Aircraft System Roadmap 2005–2030.[23]
Many people have mistakenly used the term Unmanned Aerial System, or Unmanned Air Vehicle System, as these
designations were in provisional use at one time or another. The inclusion of the term aircraft emphasizes that
regardless of the location of the pilot and flightcrew, the operations must comply with the same regulations and
Unmanned aerial vehicle 79

procedures as do those aircraft with the pilot and flightcrew onboard. The official acronym 'UAS' is also used by the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other government aviation regulatory organizations.
The military role of unmanned aircraft systems is growing at
unprecedented rates. In 2005, tactical- and theater-level unmanned
aircraft alone had flown over 100,000 flight hours in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which
they are organized under Task Force Liberty in Afghanistan and Task
Force ODIN in Iraq. Rapid advances in technology are enabling more
Predator launching a Hellfire missile and more capability to be placed on smaller airframes which is
spurring a large increase in the number of Small Unmanned Aircraft
Systems (SUAS) being deployed on the battlefield. The use of SUAS in combat is so new that no formal DoD wide
reporting procedures have been established to track SUAS flight hours. As the capabilities grow for all types of
UAS, nations continue to subsidize their research and development leading to further advances enabling them to
perform a multitude of missions. UAS no longer only perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
missions, although this still remains their predominant type. Their roles have expanded to areas including electronic
attack, strike missions, suppression and/or destruction of enemy air defense, network node or communications relay,
combat search and rescue, and derivations of these themes. These UAS range in cost from a few thousand dollars to
tens of millions of dollars, with aircraft ranging from less than one pound to over 40,000 pounds.

When the Obama administration announced in December 2009 the deployment of 30,000 new troops in Afghanistan,
there was already an increase of attacks by pilotless Predator drones against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in
Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas, of which one probably killed a key member of Al Qaeda. However, neither
Osama bin Laden nor Ayman al-Zawahiri was the likely target, according to reports. According to a report of the
New America Foundation, armed drone strikes had dramatically increased under President Obama – even before his
deployment decision. There were 43 such attacks between January and October 2009. The report draws on what it
deems to be "credible" local and national media stories about the attacks. That compared with a total of 34 in all of
2008, President Bush’s last full year in office. Since 2006, drone-launched missiles allegedly had killed between 750
and 1,000 people in Pakistan, according to the report. Of these, about 20 people were said to be leaders of Al Qaeda,
Taliban, and associated groups. Overall, about 66 to 68 percent of the people killed were militants, and between 31
and 33 percent were civilians. US officials disputed the assertion that up to 30 percent of the victims of the
unmanned aerial vehicle attacks were civilians.[24]
Unmanned aerial vehicle 80

UAV functions
UAVs perform a wide variety of functions. The majority of these
functions are some form of remote sensing; this is central to the
reconnaissance role most UAVs fulfill. Less common UAV functions
include interaction and transport.

Remote sensing
UAV remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum
sensors, biological sensors, and chemical sensors. A UAV's
electromagnetic sensors typically include visual spectrum, infrared, or
near infrared cameras as well as radar systems. Other electromagnetic
wave detectors such as microwave and ultraviolet spectrum sensors
may also be used, but are uncommon. Biological sensors are sensors
capable of detecting the airborne presence of various microorganisms
and other biological factors. Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy
to analyze the concentrations of each element in the air.

Oil, gas and mineral exploration and production A Forward looking infrared(FLIR) camera
mounted on the side of an UAV similar to that
UAVs can be used to perform geophysical surveys, in particular from UAVs Australia.
geomagnetic surveys [25] where the processed measurements of the
differential Earth's magnetic field strength are used to calculate the
nature of the underlying magnetic rock structure. A knowledge of the
underlying rock structure helps trained geophysicists to predict the
location of mineral deposits. The production side of oil and gas
exploration and production entails the monitoring of the integrity of oil
and gas pipelines and related installations. For above-ground pipelines,
this monitoring activity could be performed using digital cameras
mounted on one, or more, UAVs.[26] The InView Unmanned Aircraft
System is an example of a UAV developed for use in oil, gas and InView UAV for use in scientific, commercial
mineral exploration and production activities. and state applications.

UAVs can transport goods using various means based on the
configuration of the UAV itself. Most payloads are stored in an
internal payload bay somewhere in the airframe. For many helicopter
configurations, external payloads can be tethered to the bottom of the
airframe. With fixed wing UAVs, payloads can also be attached to the
airframe, but aerodynamics of the aircraft with the payload must be
assessed. For such situations, payloads are often enclosed in
aerodynamic pods for transport.
The RQ-7 Shadow is capable of delivering a
20 lb (9.1 kg) "Quick-MEDS" canister to
front-line troops.
Unmanned aerial vehicle 81

Scientific research
Unmanned aircraft are uniquely capable of penetrating areas which
may be too dangerous for piloted craft. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began utilizing the Aerosonde
unmanned aircraft system in 2006 as a hurricane hunter. AAI
Corporation subsidiary Aerosonde Pty Ltd. of Victoria (Australia),
designs and manufactures the 35-pound system, which can fly into a
hurricane and communicate near-real-time data directly to the National Fulmar UAV, developed by Aerovision for
Hurricane Center in Florida. Beyond the standard barometric pressure civilian applications.
and temperature data typically culled from manned hurricane hunters,
the Aerosonde system provides measurements far closer to the water’s
surface than previously captured. Further applications for unmanned
aircraft can be explored once solutions have been developed for their
accommodation within national airspace, an issue currently under
discussion by the Federal Aviation Administration. UAVSI, the UK
manufacturer also produce a variant of their Vigilant light UAS (20 kg)
designed specifically for scientific research in severe climates such as
the Antarctic. UAV Stardust II, developed under sUAS ARC

Armed attacks
MQ-1 Predator UAVs armed with Hellfire missiles are now used as
platforms for hitting ground targets in sensitive areas. Armed Predators
were first used in late 2001 from bases in Pakistan and Uzbekistan,
mostly for hitting high profile individuals (terrorist leaders etc.) inside
Afghanistan. Since then, there have been several reported cases of such
attacks taking place in Pakistan, this time from Afghan-based IAI Heron, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Predators. The advantage of using an unmanned vehicle, rather than a developed by the Malat (UAV) division of Israel
manned aircraft, in such cases is to avoid a diplomatic embarrassment Aerospace Industries.

should the aircraft be shot down and the pilots captured, since the
bombings took place in countries deemed friendly and without the official permission of those countries.[27] [28] [29]

A Predator based in a neighboring Arab country was used to kill suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen on
November 3, 2002. This marked the first use of an armed Predator as an attack aircraft outside of a theater of war
such as Afghanistan.[31]
Questions have been raised about the accuracy of the targeting of UAVs. In March 2009, The Guardian reported that
Israeli UAVs armed with missiles killed 48 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, including two small children in a
field and a group of women and girls in an otherwise empty street.[32] In June, Human Rights Watch investigated six
UAV attacks which resulted in civilian casualties, and found that Israeli forces either failed to take all feasible
precautions to verify that the targets were combatants, or failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians.[33]
[34] [35]
In July 2009, Brookings Institution released a report stating that in the United States-led drone attacks in
Pakistan, ten civilians died for every militant killed.[36] [37] S. Azmat Hassan, a former ambassador of Pakistan, said
in July 2009 that American UAV attacks were turning Pakistani opinion against the United States, and that 35 or 40
such attacks only killed 8 or 9 top al-Qaeda operatives.[38]
Unmanned aerial vehicle 82

CIA officials became concerned in 2008 that targets in Pakistan were being tipped off to pending U.S. drone strikes
by Pakistani intelligence, when the U.S. requested Pakistani permission prior to launching targeted killing attacks.[39]
The Bush administration therefore decided in August 2008 to abandon the practice of obtaining Pakistani
government permission before launching missiles from drones, and in the next six months the CIA carried out at
least 38 Predator targeted killing strikes in northwest Pakistan, compared with 10 in 2006 and 2007 combined.[39]
The Predator strikes killed at least nine senior al-Qaeda leaders, and dozens of lower-ranking operatives, depleting
its operational tier in what U.S. officials described as the most serious disruption of al-Qaeda since 2001.[39] It was
reported that the Predator strikes took such a toll on al-Qaeda that militants began turning violently on one another
out of confusion and distrust.[39] A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official said: "They have started hunting down
people who they think are responsible" for security breaches. "People are showing up dead, or disappearing."[39]
By October 2009, the CIA said they had killed more than half of the 20 most wanted al-Qaeda terrorist suspects in
targeted killings.[40] By May 2010, counter-terrorism officials said that drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas had
killed more than 500 militants since 2008, and no more than 30 (5%) nearby civilians—mainly family members who
lived and traveled with the targets.[41] [42] Drones linger overhead after a strike, in some cases for hours, to enable
the CIA to count the bodies and determine who is a civilian.[42] A Pakistani intelligence officer gave a higher
estimate of civilian casualties, saying 20% of total deaths were civilians or non-combatants.[42]
One issue with civilian casualties is the relative lack of discretion of the 100 lb (45 kg) Hellfire, which was designed
to eliminate tanks and attack bunkers.[43] Smaller weapons such as the Raytheon Griffin and Small Tactical Munition
are being developed as a less indiscriminate alternative,[44] and development is underway on the still smaller, US
Navy-developed Spike missile.[45] The payload-limited Predator A can also be armed with six Griffin missiles, as
opposed to only two of the much-heavier Hellfires.

Search and rescue

UAVs will likely play an increased role in search and rescue in the
United States. This was demonstrated by the successful use of UAVs
during the 2008 hurricanes that struck Louisiana and Texas.
For example, Predators, operating between 18,000–29,000 feet above
sea level, performed search and rescue and damage assessment.
Payloads carried were an optical sensor (which is a daytime and infra
red camera) and a synthetic aperture radar. The Predator's SAR is a
sophisticated all-weather sensor capable of providing A Bell Eagle Eye, offered to the US Coast Guard.
photographic-like images through clouds, rain or fog, and in daytime
or nighttime conditions; all in real-time. A concept of coherent change detection in SAR images allows for
exceptional search and rescue ability: photos taken before and after the storm hits are compared and a computer
highlights areas of damage.[46] [47]

Design and development considerations

UAV design and production is a global activity, with manufacturers all across the world. The United States and
Israel were initial pioneers in this technology, and U.S. manufacturers have a market share of over 60% in 2006, with
U.S. market share due to increase by 5–10% through 2016.[48] Northrop Grumman and General Atomics are the
dominant manufacturers in this industry, on the strength of the Global Hawk and Predator/Mariner systems.[48]
Israeli and European manufacturers form a second tier due to lower indigenous investments, and the governments of
those nations have initiatives to acquire U.S. systems due to higher levels of capability.[48] European market share
represented just 4% of global revenue in 2006.[48]
Unmanned aerial vehicle 83

Development costs for American military UAVs, as with most military programs, have tended to overrun their initial
estimates. This is mostly due to changes in requirements during development and a failure to leverage UAV
development programs over multiple armed services. This has caused United States Navy UAV programs to increase
from zero to five percent in cost while United States Air Force UAV programs have increased from 60 to 284

Degree of autonomy
Early UAVs used during the Vietnam War after launch captured video
that was recorded to film or tape on the aircraft. These aircraft often
were launched and flew either in a straight line or in preset circles
collecting video until they ran out of fuel and landed. After landing, the
film was recovered for analysis. Because of the simple nature of these
aircraft, they were often called drones. As new radio control systems
became available, UAVs were often remote controlled and the term
"remotely piloted vehicle" came into vogue. Today's UAVs often
UAV monitoring and control at CBP
combine remote control and computerized automation. More
sophisticated versions may have built-in control and/or guidance
systems to perform low-level human pilot duties such as speed and
flight-path stabilization, and simple scripted navigation functions such
as waypoint following. In news and other discussions, often the term
"drone" is still mistakenly used to refer to these more sophisticated
From this perspective, most early UAVs are not autonomous at all. In
fact, the field of air-vehicle autonomy is a recently emerging field,
whose economics is largely driven by the military to develop
battle-ready technology. Compared to the manufacturing of UAV flight
hardware, the market for autonomy technology is fairly immature and HiMAT Remote Cockpit Synthetic Vision
undeveloped. Because of this, autonomy has been and may continue to Display (Photo: NASA 1984)

be the bottleneck for future UAV developments, and the overall value
and rate of expansion of the future UAV market could be largely driven by advances to be made in the field of
Autonomy technology that is important to UAV development falls under the following categories:
• Sensor fusion: Combining information from different sensors for use on board the vehicle
• Communications: Handling communication and coordination between multiple agents in the presence of
incomplete and imperfect information
• Path planning: Determining an optimal path for vehicle to go while meeting certain objectives and mission
constraints, such as obstacles or fuel requirements
• Trajectory Generation (sometimes called Motion planning): Determining an optimal control maneuver to take to
follow a given path or to go from one location to another
• Trajectory Regulation: The specific control strategies required to constrain a vehicle within some tolerance to a
• Task Allocation and Scheduling: Determining the optimal distribution of tasks amongst a group of agents, with
time and equipment constraints
• Cooperative Tactics: Formulating an optimal sequence and spatial distribution of activities between agents in
order to maximize chance of success in any given mission scenario
Unmanned aerial vehicle 84

Autonomy is commonly defined as the ability to make decisions without human intervention. To that end, the goal of
autonomy is to teach machines to be "smart" and act more like humans. The keen observer may associate this with
the development in the field of artificial intelligence made popular in the 1980s and 1990s such as expert systems,
neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing, and vision. However, the mode of technological
development in the field of autonomy has mostly followed a bottom-up approach, such as hierarchical control
systems,[50] and recent advances have been largely driven by the practitioners in the field of control science, not
computer science . Similarly, autonomy has been and probably will continue to be considered an extension of the
controls field.
To some extent, the ultimate goal in the development of autonomy technology is to replace the human pilot. It
remains to be seen whether future developments of autonomy technology, the perception of the technology, and most
importantly, the political climate surrounding the use of such technology, will limit the development and utility of
autonomy for UAV applications. Also as a result of this, synthetic vision for piloting has not caught on in the UAV
arena as it did with manned aircraft. NASA utilized synthetic vision for test pilots on the HiMAT program in the
early 1980s (see photo), but the advent of more autonomous UAV autopilots, greatly reduced the need for this
Interoperable UAV technologies became essential as systems proved their mettle in military operations, taking on
tasks too challenging or dangerous for troops. NATO addressed the need for commonality through STANAG
(Standardization Agreement) 4586. According to a NATO press release, the agreement began the ratification process
in 1992. Its goal was to allow allied nations to easily share information obtained from unmanned aircraft through
common ground control station technology. STANAG 4586 — aircraft that adhere to this protocol are equipped to
translate information into standardized message formats; likewise, information received from other compliant
aircraft can be transferred into vehicle-specific messaging formats for seamless interoperability. Amendments have
since been made to the original agreement, based on expert feedback from the field and an industry panel known as
the Custodian Support Team. Edition Two of STANAG 4586 is currently under review. There are many systems
available today that are developed in accordance with STANAG 4586, including products by industry leaders such
as AAI Corporation, CDL Systems, and Raytheon, all three of which are members of the Custodian Support Team
for this protocol.

Because UAVs are not burdened with the physiological limitations of
human pilots, they can be designed for maximized on-station times.
The maximum flight duration of unmanned, aerial vehicles varies
widely. Internal-combustion-engine aircraft endurance depends
strongly on the percentage of fuel burned as a fraction of total weight
(the Breguet endurance equation), and so is largely independent of
aircraft size. Solar-electric UAVs hold potential for unlimited flight, a
concept originally championed by the AstroFlight Sunrise in 1974[51]
[52] [53] [54]
and the much later Aerovironment Helios Prototype, which
RQ-4 Global Hawk, a high-altitude
was destroyed in a 2003 crash.
reconnaissance UAV capable of 36 hours
continuous flight time Electric UAVs kept aloft indefinitely by laser power-beaming [55]
technology represent another proposed solution to the endurance
challenge. This approach is advocated by Jordin Kare and Thomas Nugent.
One of the major problems with UAVs is no capability for inflight refueling. Currently the US Air Force is
promoting research that should end in an inflight UAV refueling capability, which should be available by 2010.
Unmanned aerial vehicle 85

One of the uses for a high endurance UAV would be to "stare" at the battlefield for a long period of time to produce
a record of events that could then be played backwards to track where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) came
from. Air Force Chief of Staff John P. Jumper started a program to create these persistent UAVs, but this was
stopped once he was replaced.[56]
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is to sign a contract on building an UAV which should
have an enormous endurance capability of about 5 years. The project is entitled "Vulture" and a September 15, 2010
news release indicated DARPA’s Vulture Program Enters Phase II [57]. The developers are certain neither on the
design of the UAV nor on what fuel it should run to be able to stay in air without any maintenance for such a long
period of time.[58]

Notable high endurance flights

UAV Flight time Date Notes

QinetiQ Zephyr Solar 336 hours 22 9–23 July 2010 [59]
Electric minutes
QinetiQ Zephyr Solar 82 hours 37 28–31 July 2008 [60]
Electric minutes
Boeing Condor 58 hours, 11 1989 The aircraft is currently in the Hiller Aviation
minutes Museum, CA.

QinetiQ Zephyr Solar 54 hours September 2007 [62] [63]

IAI Heron 52 hours ? [64]

AC Propulsion Solar 48 hours, 11 June 3, 2005 [65]

Electric minutes
MQ-1 Predator 40 hours, 5 ? [66]
GNAT-750 40 hours 1992 [67] [68]

TAM-5 38 hours, 52 August 11, 2003 Smallest UAV to cross the Atlantic
[69] [70]
Aerosonde 38 hours, 48 May 3, 2006 [71]
TAI Anka 24 hours 30 December [72]

Existing UAV systems

UAVs have been developed and deployed by many countries around the world. For a list of models by country, see :
List of unmanned aerial vehicles. The use of unmanned aerial systems, however, is not limited to state powers:
non-state actors can also build, buy and operate these combat vehicles.[73] Most notably, Hezbollah has used drones
to get past Israeli defenses, and in 2001 Al-Qaeda reportedly explored using drones to attack a conference of
international leaders.[73]
The export of UAVs or technology capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km is restricted in many
countries by the Missile Technology Control Regime. Iran has an ambitious UAV program, which uses gas turbines
bought in the Netherlands and shipped as model aircraft parts.[74]
At the center of the American military's continued UAV research is the MQ-X, which builds upon the capabilities of
the Reaper and Predator drones. As currently conceived, the MQ-X would be a stealthier and faster fighter-plane
Unmanned aerial vehicle 86

sized UAV capable of any number of missions: high-performance surveillance; attack options, including retractable
cannons and bomb or missile payloads; and cargo capacity.[75]
China has exhibited some UAV designs, but its ability to operate them is limited by the lack of high endurance
domestic engines, satellite infrastructure and operational experience.[76]

Other information
• During the Gulf War, Iraqi Army forces surrendered to the UAVs of the USS Wisconsin.[77] [78]
• In October 2002, a few days before the U.S. Senate vote on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against
Iraq Resolution, about 75 senators were told in closed session that Saddam Hussein had the means of delivering
biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction by UAV drones that could be launched from ships off the
Atlantic coast to attack U.S. eastern seaboard cities. Colin Powell suggested in his presentation to the United
Nations that they had been transported out of Iraq and could be launched against the U.S.[79] It was later revealed
that Iraq's UAV fleet consisted of only a few outdated Czech training drones.[80] At the time, there was a vigorous
dispute within the intelligence community as to whether CIA's conclusions about Iraqi UAVs were accurate. The
U.S. Air Force agency most familiar with UAVs denied outright that Iraq possessed any offensive UAV
• In December 2002, the first ever dogfight involving a UAV occurred when an Iraqi MiG-25 and a U.S. RQ-1
Predator fired missiles at each other. The MiG's missile destroyed the Predator.[82]
• UAVs have been used in many episodes of the science-fiction television series Stargate SG-1, and a sentient
unmanned, combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) was a central figure in the action film Stealth. Also, UAVs are used in
computer games such as F.E.A.R., Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, and the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
and Battlefield: Bad Company franchises.
US Navy UAVs in Action, Neubeck, (Squadron/Signal Publications 2010)

• Wagner, William. Lightning Bugs and other Reconnaissance Drones; The can-do story of Ryan's unmanned spy
planes. 1982, Armed Forces Journal International, in cooperation with Aero Publishers, Inc.
[1] "The Free Dictionary" (http:/ / www. thefreedictionary. com/ Unmanned+ Aerial+ Vehicle) accessed 19 November 2010
[2] [[Pir Zubair Shah (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2009/ 06/ 19/ world/ asia/ 19pstan. html?ref=world)], "Pakistan Says U.S. Drone Kills 13",
New York Times, June 18, 2009.]
[3] David Axe, "Strategist: Killer Drones Level Extremists’ Advantage", Wired, June 17, 2009. (http:/ / www. wired. com/ dangerroom/ 2009/ 06/
strategist-killer-drones-level-extremists-advantage/ )
[4] Taylor, A. J. P. Jane's Book of Remotely Piloted Vehicles.
[5] Dempsey, Martin E. Eyes of the Army - U.S. Army Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems 2010-2035 (http:/ / www-rucker. army. mil/
usaace/ uas/ US Army UAS RoadMap 2010 2035. pdf) Size: 9MB U.S. Army, 9 April 2010. Accessed: 6 March 2011.
[6] Wagner p. xi
[7] Wagner p. xi, ,xii
[8] Wagner p. xii
[9] Wagner p. 79
[10] Wagner p. 78 & 79 photos
[11] Wagner p. 202
[12] Wagner p. 200 & 212
[13] Wagner p. 208
[14] Levinson, Charles (January 13, 2010). "Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield" (http:/ / online. wsj. com/ article/ SB126325146524725387.
html). The Wall Street Journal. p. A10. . Retrieved January 13, 2010.
[15] (http:/ / www. fbo. gov/ servlet/ Documents/ R/ 1610757)
[16] History of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (http:/ / www. vectorsite. net/ twuav. html)
[17] Comparison of USAF Tier II, II+ and III- systems (http:/ / www. airpower. maxwell. af. mil/ airchronicles/ cc/ uav. html)
[18] http:/ / www. edwards. af. mil/ articles98/ docs_html/ splash/ may98/ cover/ Tier. htm USAF Tier system
[19] http:/ / www. avinc. com/ pr_detail. asp?ID=68
Unmanned aerial vehicle 87

[20] USMC powerpoint presentation of tier system (https:/ / www. mccdc. usmc. mil/ OpsDiv/ CEAB/ Jun 05 CEAB/ JUN 05 Briefs/ 20 -
Coordinated UAV Endorsement Brief. ppt#5)
[21] Detailed description of USMC tier system (http:/ / www. navyleague. org/ sea_power/ jul06-18. php)
[22] (http:/ / www. defensetech. org/ archives/ cat_fcs_watch. html)
[23] http:/ / www. acq. osd. mil/ usd/ Roadmap%20Final2. pdf#search=%22Dod%20UAS%20Roadmap%202005%22
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Drone-aircraft-in-a-stepped-up-war-in-Afghanistan-and-Pakistan) Iran design uav engine WWW.UAV.IR
[25] (http:/ / www. universalwing. com/ technology/ our-uav)
[26] (http:/ / www. barnardmicrosystems. com/ L4E_inview_papers. htm#Paper_1)
[27] Fox News (http:/ / www. foxnews. com/ story/ 0,2933,177709,00. html)
[28] Defense Industry Daily (http:/ / www. defenseindustrydaily. com/ predator-kills-important-alqaeda-leader-in-pakistan-0547/ )
[29] MSNBC (http:/ / www. msnbc. msn. com/ id/ 7847008/ )
[30] Globe and Mail (http:/ / www. theglobeandmail. com/ servlet/ story/ RTGAM. 20080131. walq0131/ BNStory/ International/ homeThe)
[31] Federation of American Scientists (http:/ / www. fas. org/ irp/ program/ collect/ predator. htm)
[32] The Guardian, March 23, 2009. "Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard: Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles—the
dreaded drones—caused at least 48 deaths in Gaza during the 23-day offensive." (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ world/ 2009/ mar/ 23/
gaza-war-crimes-drones) Retrieved on August 3, 2009.
[33] "Precisely Wrong: Gaza Civilians Killed by Israeli Drone-Launched Missiles" (http:/ / www. hrw. org/ en/ reports/ 2009/ 06/ 30/
precisely-wrong-0), Human Rights Watch, June 30, 2009.
[34] "Report: IDF used RPV fire to target civilians" (http:/ / www. ynet. co. il/ english/ Ext/ Comp/ ArticleLayout/ CdaArticlePrintPreview/
1,2506,L-3739125,00. html), YNET, June 30, 2009
[35] "Israel/Gaza: Civilians must not be targets: Disregard for Civilians Underlies Current Escalation" (http:/ / www. hrw. org/ en/ news/ 2008/
12/ 30/ israelgaza-civilians-must-not-be-targets). Human Rights Watch. December 30, 2008. . Retrieved August 3, 2009.
[36] Drones kill 10 civilians for one militant: US report (http:/ / www. dawn. com/ wps/ wcm/ connect/ dawn-content-library/ dawn/ news/ world/
13+ drones+ kill+ 10+ civilians+ for+ one+ militant-za-09), Dawn (newspaper), 2009-07-21
[37] "Do Targeted Killings Work?" (http:/ / www. brookings. edu/ opinions/ 2009/ 0714_targeted_killings_byman. aspx), Brookings Institution,
[38] Newsweek, July 8, 2009. Anita Kirpalani, "Drone On. Q&A: A former Pakistani diplomat says America's most useful weapon is hurting the
cause in his country." (http:/ / www. newsweek. com/ id/ 205725) Retrieved on August 3, 2009.
[39] Greg Miller (March 22, 2009). "U.S. missile strikes said to take heavy toll on Al Qaeda" (http:/ / articles. latimes. com/ 2009/ mar/ 22/
world/ fg-pakistan-predator22). Los Angeles Times. . Retrieved May 19, 2010.
[40] Terry Gross, host (October 21, 2009). "Jane Mayer: The Risks Of A Remote-Controlled War" (http:/ / www. npr. org/ templates/ transcript/
transcript. php?storyId=113978637). NPR. . Retrieved May 20, 2010.
[41] "U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2010/ 05/ 14/ world/ 14awlaki. htm), Scott Shane, The
New York Times, May 13, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
[42] Entous, Adam (May 19, 2010). "How the White House learned to love the drone" (http:/ / uk. reuters. com/ article/
idUKTRE64H5U720100519?pageNumber=3). Reuters. . Retrieved October 17, 2010.
[43] Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper (http:/ / www. defensenews. com/ story. php?i=4649372& c=FEA& s=TEC) William Matthew; Defense News;
May 31, 2010
[44] "AUVSI: Raytheon designing UAV-specific weapons" (http:/ / www. flightglobal. com/ articles/ 2010/ 08/ 26/ 346610/
auvsi-raytheon-designing-uav-specific-weapons. html). . Retrieved December 19, 2010.
[45] Efforts Are Underway to Arm Small UAVs (http:/ / www. aviationweek. com/ aw/ generic/ story_generic. jsp?channel=dti& id=news/
DTI-UAVs. xml& headline=Efforts Are Underway to Arm Small UAVs) Aviation Week; Oct 17, 2008
[46] AP Texas News (http:/ / www. chron. com/ disp/ story. mpl/ ap/ tx/ 5986181. html)
[47] 2008 Search and Rescue Missions (http:/ / www. justaeroworks. com/ pages/ JAW. 08SRM. html)
[48] "UAVs on the Rise." Dickerson, L. Aviation Week & Space Technology. January 15, 2007.
[49] Defense Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Achieve Greater Commonality and Efficiencies among Unmanned Aircraft Systems (http:/ /
www. gao. gov/ products/ GAO-09-520)
[50] Shim, D. H, Kim, H. J., Sastry, S., Hierarchical Control System Synthesis for Rotorcraft-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (http:/ / robotics.
eecs. berkeley. edu/ ~sastry/ pubs/ PDFs of Pubs2000-2005/ Publications of Postdocs/ ShimDavid/ ShimHierarchicalControl2000. pdf).
[51] Boucher, Roland (undated). "Project Sunrise pg 1" (http:/ / www. projectsunrise. info/ First_Solar_Powered_Aircraft. html). . Retrieved
September 23, 2009.
[52] Boucher, Roland (undated). "Project Sunrise pg 13" (http:/ / www. projectsunrise. info/ Flight__Tests. html). . Retrieved September 23,
[53] Newcome, Laurence R. (2004). Unmanned aviation: a brief history of unmanned aerial vehicles (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?isbn=1563476444). . Retrieved September 23, 2009.
[54] Curry, Marty (March 2008). "Solar-Power Research and Dryden" (http:/ / www. nasa. gov/ centers/ dryden/ news/ FactSheets/
FS-054-DFRC. html). . Retrieved September 15, 2009.
[55] "Wireless Power for UAVs" (http:/ / lasermotive. com/ wp-content/ uploads/ 2010/ 04/ Wireless-Power-for-UAVs-March2010. pdf). 2010. .
Unmanned aerial vehicle 88

[56] counter_ied_backtracking.mpg (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=ojGcX2H81NQ)

[57] http:/ / www. darpa. mil/ news/ 2010/ NewsReleaseVultureII. pdf
[58] Vulture – The Unmanned Aircraft Able to Stay in the Air for 5 Years (http:/ / www. infoniac. com/ hi-tech/
vulture-unmanned-aircraft-able-stay-the-air-for-years. html)
[59] QinetiQ press release (http:/ / www. qinetiq. com/ home/ newsroom/ news_releases_homepage/ 2010/ 3rd_quarter/ qinetiq_files_for. html)
[60] QinetiQ press release (http:/ / www. qinetiq. com/ home/ newsroom/ news_releases_homepage/ 2008/ 3rd_quarter/ qinetiq_s_zephyr_uav.
[61] Hiller Aviation Museum reference to the flight (http:/ / www. hiller. org/ files/ docs/ 2003Q3. pdf)
[62] QinetiQ press release (http:/ / www. qinetiq. com/ home/ newsroom/ news_releases_homepage/ 2007/ 3rd_quarter/ qinetiq_s_zephyr_uav.
[63] New Scientist article (http:/ / www. newscientist. com/ blog/ technology/ 2007/ 09/ solar-flyer-en-route-to-everlasting. html)
[64] NOVA PBS TV program reference (http:/ / www. pbs. org/ wgbh/ nova/ spiesfly/ uavs. html) IAI reference (http:/ / www. iai. co. il/ Default.
aspx?docID=16382& FolderID=18900& lang=en)
[65] AC Propulsion release describing the flight (http:/ / www. acpropulsion. com/ ACP_PDFs/ ACP_SoLong_Solar_UAV_2005-06-05. pdf)
[66] UAV Forum reference (http:/ / www. uavforum. com/ library/ librarian. htm) Federation of American Scientists reference (http:/ / www. fas.
org/ irp/ agency/ daro/ uav95/ endurance. html)
[67] Directory of US Military Rockets and Missiles reference to the flight (http:/ / www. designation-systems. net/ dusrm/ app4/ gnat. html)
[68] UAV Endurance Prehistory reference (http:/ / www. vectorsite. net/ twuav_12. html)
[69] TAM Homepage (http:/ / tam. plannet21. com)
[70] TAM-5 FAQ page (http:/ / tam. plannet21. com/ FAQs. htm)
[71] Aerosonde release on the flight (http:/ / www. aerosonde. com/ drawarticle/ 133)
[72] (http:/ / www. zaman. com. tr/ haber. do?haberno=1074255& title=insansiz-hava-araci-gelistirme-projesi-imzalandi)
[73] Singer, Peter W. "A Revolution Once More: Unmanned Systems and the Middle East" (http:/ / www. brookings. edu/ articles/ 2009/
11_robotic_revolution_singer. aspx), The Brookings Institution (http:/ / www. brookings. edu/ ), November 2009.
[74] "Iran's ambitious UAV program" (http:/ / aircraft. zurf. info/ article/ irans-ambitious-uav-program). Zurf Military Aircraft. . Retrieved 28
January 2011.
[75] Singer, Peter W. "How the US Military Can Win the Robotic Revolution" (http:/ / www. brookings. edu/ articles/ 2010/ 0517_robots_singer.
aspx), The Brookings Institution (http:/ / www. brookings. edu/ ), 17 May 2010.
[76] Axe, David. "US Drones Trump China Theatrics" (http:/ / the-diplomat. com/ 2011/ 02/ 07/ us-drones-trump-china-theatrics/ ) The
Diplomat, 7 February 2011.
[77] Federation of American Scientists. Pioneer Short Range (SR) UAV (http:/ / www. fas. org/ irp/ program/ collect/ pioneer. htm). Accessed
November 26, 2006.
[78] National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Pioneer RQ-2A (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080117120211/ http:/ / www.
nasm. si. edu/ research/ aero/ aircraft/ pioneer. htm) September 14, 2001. Accessed November 26, 2006.
[79] Senator Bill Nelson (January 28, 2004) "New Information on Iraq's Possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction", (http:/ / www. fas. org/
irp/ congress/ 2004_cr/ s012804b. html) Congressional Record
[80] Lowe, C. (December 16, 2003) "Senator: White House Warned of UAV Attack," (http:/ / www. defensetech. org/ archives/ 000690. html)
Defense Tech
[81] Hammond, J. (November 14, 2005) "The U.S. 'intelligence failure' and Iraq's UAVs" (http:/ / www. yirmeyahureview. com/ articles/
iraq_uavs. htm) The Yirmeyahu Review
[82] Pilotless Warriors Soar To Success (http:/ / www. cbsnews. com/ stories/ 2003/ 04/ 25/ tech/ main551126. shtml),, April
25, 2004. Accessed April 21, 2007.

External links
• History of WWI-era UAVs ( – Remote Piloted Aerial
Vehicles : The 'Aerial Target' and 'Aerial Torpedo' in the USA
• Defense Update reports about UAV employment in Persistent Surveillance (
Cryptography 89

Cryptography (or cryptology; from
Greek κρυπτός, kryptos, "hidden,
secret"; and γράφειν, gráphin,
"writing", or -λογία, -logia, , "study",
respectively)[1] is the practice and
study of hiding information. Modern
cryptography intersects the disciplines
of mathematics, computer science, and
electrical engineering. Applications of
cryptography include ATM cards,
computer passwords, and electronic

Cryptology prior to the modern age

was almost synonymous with Simple explanation of encryption and decryption methods
encryption, the conversion of
information from a readable state to
apparent nonsense. The sender retained
the ability to decrypt the information
and therefore avoid unwanted persons
being able to read it. Since WWI and
the advent of the computer, the
methods used to carry out cryptology
have become increasingly complex and
its application more widespread.

Modern cryptography follows a

strongly scientific approach, and
designs cryptographic algorithms
German Lorenz cipher machine, used in World War II to encrypt
around computational hardness
very-high-level general staff messages
assumptions that are assumed hard to
break by an adversary. Such systems
are not unbreakable in theory but it is infeasible to do so for any practical adversary. Information-theoretically secure
schemes that provably cannot be broken exist but they are less practical than computationally-secure mechanisms.
An example of such systems is the one-time pad.

Alongside the advancement in cryptology-related technology, the practice has raised a number of legal issues, some
of which remain unresolved.

Until modern times cryptography referred almost exclusively to encryption, which is the process of converting
ordinary information (called plaintext) into unintelligible gibberish (called ciphertext).[2] Decryption is the reverse,
in other words, moving from the unintelligible ciphertext back to plaintext. A cipher (or cypher) is a pair of
algorithms that create the encryption and the reversing decryption. The detailed operation of a cipher is controlled
both by the algorithm and in each instance by a key. This is a secret parameter (ideally known only to the
communicants) for a specific message exchange context. A "cryptosystem" is the ordered list of elements of finite
Cryptography 90

possible plaintexts, finite possible cyphertexts, finite possible keys, and the encryption and decryption algorithms
which correspond to each key. Keys are important, as ciphers without variable keys can be trivially broken with only
the knowledge of the cipher used and are therefore useless (or even counter-productive) for most purposes.
Historically, ciphers were often used directly for encryption or decryption without additional procedures such as
authentication or integrity checks.
In colloquial use, the term "code" is often used to mean any method of encryption or concealment of meaning.
However, in cryptography, code has a more specific meaning. It means the replacement of a unit of plaintext (i.e., a
meaningful word or phrase) with a code word (for example, wallaby replaces attack at dawn). Codes are no
longer used in serious cryptography—except incidentally for such things as unit designations (e.g., Bronco Flight or
Operation Overlord)—since properly chosen ciphers are both more practical and more secure than even the best
codes and also are better adapted to computers.
Cryptanalysis is the term used for the study of methods for obtaining the meaning of encrypted information without
access to the key normally required to do so; i.e., it is the study of how to crack encryption algorithms or their
Some use the terms cryptography and cryptology interchangeably in English, while others (including US military
practice generally) use cryptography to refer specifically to the use and practice of cryptographic techniques and
cryptology to refer to the combined study of cryptography and cryptanalysis.[3] [4] English is more flexible than
several other languages in which cryptology (done by cryptologists) is always used in the second sense above. In the
English Wikipedia the general term used for the entire field is cryptography (done by cryptographers).
The study of characteristics of languages which have some application in cryptography (or cryptology), i.e.
frequency data, letter combinations, universal patterns, etc., is called cryptolinguistics.

History of cryptography and cryptanalysis

Before the modern era, cryptography was concerned solely with message confidentiality (i.e.,
encryption)—conversion of messages from a comprehensible form into an incomprehensible one and back again at
the other end, rendering it unreadable by interceptors or eavesdroppers without secret knowledge (namely the key
needed for decryption of that message). Encryption was used to (attempt to) ensure secrecy in communications, such
as those of spies, military leaders, and diplomats. In recent decades, the field has expanded beyond confidentiality
concerns to include techniques for message integrity checking, sender/receiver identity authentication, digital
signatures, interactive proofs and secure computation, among others.

Classic cryptography
The earliest forms of secret writing required little more than local pen and
paper analogs, as most people could not read. More literacy, or literate
opponents, required actual cryptography. The main classical cipher types are
transposition ciphers, which rearrange the order of letters in a message (e.g.,
'hello world' becomes 'ehlol owrdl' in a trivially simple rearrangement
scheme), and substitution ciphers, which systematically replace letters or
groups of letters with other letters or groups of letters (e.g., 'fly at once'
Reconstructed ancient Greek scytale
becomes 'gmz bu podf' by replacing each letter with the one following it in
(rhymes with "Italy"), an early cipher the Latin alphabet). Simple versions of either have never offered much
device confidentiality from enterprising opponents. An early substitution cipher was
the Caesar cipher, in which each letter in the plaintext was replaced by a letter

some fixed number of positions further down the alphabet. It was named after Julius Caesar who is reported to have
used it, with a shift of 3, to communicate with his generals during his military campaigns, just like EXCESS-3 code
Cryptography 91

in boolean algebra. There is record of several early Hebrew ciphers as well. The earliest known use of cryptography
is some carved ciphertext on stone in Egypt (ca 1900 BC), but this may have been done for the amusement of literate
observers. The next oldest is bakery recipes from Mesopotamia. Cryptography is recommended in the Kama Sutra as
a way for lovers to communicate without inconvenient discovery.[5]
The Greeks of Classical times are said to have known of ciphers (e.g., the scytale transposition cipher claimed to
have been used by the Spartan military).[6] Steganography (i.e., hiding even the existence of a message so as to keep
it confidential) was also first developed in ancient times. An early example, from Herodotus, concealed a
message—a tattoo on a slave's shaved head—under the regrown hair.[2] Another Greek method was developed by
Polybius (now called the "Polybius Square").[7] More modern examples of steganography include the use of invisible
ink, microdots, and digital watermarks to conceal information.
Ciphertexts produced by a classical cipher (and some modern ciphers) always reveal statistical information about the
plaintext, which can often be used to break them. After the discovery of frequency analysis perhaps by the Arab
mathematician and polymath, Al-Kindi (also known as Alkindus), in the 9th century, nearly all such ciphers became
more or less readily breakable by any informed attacker. Such classical ciphers still enjoy popularity today, though
mostly as puzzles (see cryptogram). Al-Kindi wrote a book on cryptography entitled Risalah fi Istikhraj al-Mu'amma
(Manuscript for the Deciphering Cryptographic Messages), in which described the first cryptanalysis techniques,
including some for polyalphabetic ciphers.[8] [9]
Essentially all ciphers remained vulnerable to cryptanalysis using the
frequency analysis technique until the development of the polyalphabetic
cipher, most clearly by Leon Battista Alberti around the year 1467, though
there is some indication that it was already known to Al-Kindi.[9] Alberti's
innovation was to use different ciphers (i.e., substitution alphabets) for
various parts of a message (perhaps for each successive plaintext letter at the
limit). He also invented what was probably the first automatic cipher device, a
16th-century book-shaped French cipher
wheel which implemented a partial realization of his invention. In the machine, with arms of Henri II of France
polyalphabetic Vigenère cipher, encryption uses a key word, which controls
letter substitution depending on which letter of the key word is used. In the
mid-19th century Charles Babbage showed that polyalphabetic ciphers of this
type remained partially vulnerable to extended frequency analysis

Although frequency analysis is a powerful and general technique against

many ciphers, encryption has still been often effective in practice; many a
would-be cryptanalyst was unaware of the technique. Breaking a message
without using frequency analysis essentially required knowledge of the cipher Enciphered letter from Gabriel de Luetz
d'Aramon, French Ambassador to the
used and perhaps of the key involved, thus making espionage, bribery,
Ottoman Empire, after 1546, with partial
burglary, defection, etc., more attractive approaches to the cryptanalytically decipherment
uninformed. It was finally explicitly recognized in the 19th century that
secrecy of a cipher's algorithm is not a sensible nor practical safeguard of message security; in fact, it was further
realized that any adequate cryptographic scheme (including ciphers) should remain secure even if the adversary fully
understands the cipher algorithm itself. Security of the key used should alone be sufficient for a good cipher to
maintain confidentiality under an attack. This fundamental principle was first explicitly stated in 1883 by Auguste
Kerckhoffs and is generally called Kerckhoffs' principle; alternatively and more bluntly, it was restated by Claude
Shannon, the inventor of information theory and the fundamentals of theoretical cryptography, as Shannon's
Maxim—'the enemy knows the system'.

Different physical devices and aids have been used to assist with ciphers. One of the earliest may have been the
scytale of ancient Greece, a rod supposedly used by the Spartans as an aid for a transposition cipher (see image
Cryptography 92

above). In medieval times, other aids were invented such as the cipher grille, which was also used for a kind of
steganography. With the invention of polyalphabetic ciphers came more sophisticated aids such as Alberti's own
cipher disk, Johannes Trithemius' tabula recta scheme, and Thomas Jefferson's multi-cylinder (not publicly known,
and reinvented independently by Bazeries around 1900). Many mechanical encryption/decryption devices were
invented early in the 20th century, and several patented, among them rotor machines—famously including the
Enigma machine used by the German government and military from the late '20s and during World War II.[10] The
ciphers implemented by better quality examples of these machine designs brought about a substantial increase in
cryptanalytic difficulty after WWI.[11]

The computer era

The development of digital computers and electronics after WWII made possible much more complex ciphers.
Furthermore, computers allowed for the encryption of any kind of data representable in any binary format, unlike
classical ciphers which only encrypted written language texts; this was new and significant. Computer use has thus
supplanted linguistic cryptography, both for cipher design and cryptanalysis. Many computer ciphers can be
characterized by their operation on binary bit sequences (sometimes in groups or blocks), unlike classical and
mechanical schemes, which generally manipulate traditional characters (i.e., letters and digits) directly. However,
computers have also assisted cryptanalysis, which has compensated to some extent for increased cipher complexity.
Nonetheless, good modern ciphers have stayed ahead of cryptanalysis; it is typically the case that use of a quality
cipher is very efficient (i.e., fast and requiring few resources, such as memory or CPU capability), while breaking it
requires an effort many orders of magnitude larger, and vastly larger than that required for any classical cipher,
making cryptanalysis so inefficient and impractical as to be effectively impossible. Alternate methods of attack
(bribery, burglary, threat, torture, ...) have become more attractive in consequence.
Extensive open academic research into cryptography is relatively
recent; it began only in the mid-1970s. In recent times, IBM
personnel designed the algorithm that became the Federal (i.e.,
US) Data Encryption Standard; Whitfield Diffie and Martin
Hellman published their key agreement algorithm,;[12] and the
RSA algorithm was published in Martin Gardner's Scientific
American column. Since then, cryptography has become a widely
used tool in communications, computer networks, and computer
security generally. Some modern cryptographic techniques can
only keep their keys secret if certain mathematical problems are
intractable, such as the integer factorization or the discrete Credit card with smart-card capabilities. The
logarithm problems, so there are deep connections with abstract 3-by-5-mm chip embedded in the card is shown,
enlarged. Smart cards combine low cost and portability
mathematics. There are no absolute proofs that a cryptographic
with the power to compute cryptographic algorithms.
technique is secure (but see one-time pad); at best, there are proofs
that some techniques are secure if some computational problem is
difficult to solve, or this or that assumption about implementation or practical use is met.

As well as being aware of cryptographic history, cryptographic algorithm and system designers must also sensibly
consider probable future developments while working on their designs. For instance, continuous improvements in
computer processing power have increased the scope of brute-force attacks, thus when specifying key lengths, the
required key lengths are similarly advancing. The potential effects of quantum computing are already being
considered by some cryptographic system designers; the announced imminence of small implementations of these
machines may be making the need for this preemptive caution rather more than merely speculative.[13]

Essentially, prior to the early 20th century, cryptography was chiefly concerned with linguistic and lexicographic
patterns. Since then the emphasis has shifted, and cryptography now makes extensive use of mathematics, including
Cryptography 93

aspects of information theory, computational complexity, statistics, combinatorics, abstract algebra, number theory,
and finite mathematics generally. Cryptography is, also, a branch of engineering, but an unusual one as it deals with
active, intelligent, and malevolent opposition (see cryptographic engineering and security engineering); other kinds
of engineering (e.g., civil or chemical engineering) need deal only with neutral natural forces. There is also active
research examining the relationship between cryptographic problems and quantum physics (see quantum
cryptography and quantum computing).

Modern cryptography
The modern field of cryptography can be divided into several areas of study. The chief ones are discussed here; see
Topics in Cryptography for more.

Symmetric-key cryptography
Symmetric-key cryptography refers to encryption methods in which both the sender and receiver share the same key
(or, less commonly, in which their keys are different, but related in an easily computable way). This was the only
kind of encryption publicly known until June 1976.[12]
The modern study of symmetric-key ciphers relates mainly to the study
of block ciphers and stream ciphers and to their applications. A block
cipher is, in a sense, a modern embodiment of Alberti's polyalphabetic
cipher: block ciphers take as input a block of plaintext and a key, and
output a block of ciphertext of the same size. Since messages are
almost always longer than a single block, some method of knitting
together successive blocks is required. Several have been developed,
some with better security in one aspect or another than others. They are
the modes of operation and must be carefully considered when using a
block cipher in a cryptosystem.

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) and the Advanced Encryption

Standard (AES) are block cipher designs which have been designated One round (out of 8.5) of the patented IDEA
cryptography standards by the US government (though DES's cipher, used in some versions of PGP for
[14] high-speed encryption of, for instance, e-mail
designation was finally withdrawn after the AES was adopted).
Despite its deprecation as an official standard, DES (especially its
still-approved and much more secure triple-DES variant) remains quite popular; it is used across a wide range of
applications, from ATM encryption[15] to e-mail privacy[16] and secure remote access.[17] Many other block ciphers
have been designed and released, with considerable variation in quality. Many have been thoroughly broken; see
Category:Block ciphers.[13] [18]

Stream ciphers, in contrast to the 'block' type, create an arbitrarily long stream of key material, which is combined
with the plaintext bit-by-bit or character-by-character, somewhat like the one-time pad. In a stream cipher, the output
stream is created based on a hidden internal state which changes as the cipher operates. That internal state is initially
set up using the secret key material. RC4 is a widely used stream cipher; see Category:Stream ciphers.[13] Block
ciphers can be used as stream ciphers; see Block cipher modes of operation.
Cryptographic hash functions are a third type of cryptographic algorithm. They take a message of any length as
input, and output a short, fixed length hash which can be used in (for example) a digital signature. For good hash
functions, an attacker cannot find two messages that produce the same hash. MD4 is a long-used hash function
which is now broken; MD5, a strengthened variant of MD4, is also widely used but broken in practice. The U.S.
National Security Agency developed the Secure Hash Algorithm series of MD5-like hash functions: SHA-0 was a
flawed algorithm that the agency withdrew; SHA-1 is widely deployed and more secure than MD5, but cryptanalysts
Cryptography 94

have identified attacks against it; the SHA-2 family improves on SHA-1, but it isn't yet widely deployed, and the
U.S. standards authority thought it "prudent" from a security perspective to develop a new standard to "significantly
improve the robustness of NIST's overall hash algorithm toolkit."[19] Thus, a hash function design competition is
underway and meant to select a new U.S. national standard, to be called SHA-3, by 2012.
Message authentication codes (MACs) are much like cryptographic hash functions, except that a secret key can be
used to authenticate the hash value[13] upon receipt.

Public-key cryptography
Symmetric-key cryptosystems use the same key for encryption and decryption of a message, though a message or
group of messages may have a different key than others. A significant disadvantage of symmetric ciphers is the key
management necessary to use them securely. Each distinct pair of communicating parties must, ideally, share a
different key, and perhaps each ciphertext exchanged as well. The number of keys required increases as the square of
the number of network members, which very quickly requires complex key management schemes to keep them all
straight and secret. The difficulty of securely establishing a secret key between two communicating parties, when a
secure channel does not already exist between them, also presents a chicken-and-egg problem which is a
considerable practical obstacle for cryptography users in the real world.
In a groundbreaking 1976 paper, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman
proposed the notion of public-key (also, more generally, called
asymmetric key) cryptography in which two different but
mathematically related keys are used—a public key and a private
key.[20] A public key system is so constructed that calculation of one
key (the 'private key') is computationally infeasible from the other (the
'public key'), even though they are necessarily related. Instead, both
Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, authors of keys are generated secretly, as an interrelated pair.[21] The historian
the first published paper on public-key
David Kahn described public-key cryptography as "the most
revolutionary new concept in the field since polyalphabetic substitution
emerged in the Renaissance".[22]

In public-key cryptosystems, the public key may be freely distributed, while its paired private key must remain
secret. The public key is typically used for encryption, while the private or secret key is used for decryption. Diffie
and Hellman showed that public-key cryptography was possible by presenting the Diffie–Hellman key exchange
In 1978, Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman invented RSA, another public-key system.[23]
In 1997, it finally became publicly known that asymmetric key cryptography had been invented by James H. Ellis at
GCHQ, a British intelligence organization, and that, in the early 1970s, both the Diffie–Hellman and RSA
algorithms had been previously developed (by Malcolm J. Williamson and Clifford Cocks, respectively).[24]
The Diffie–Hellman and RSA algorithms, in addition to being the first publicly known examples of high quality
public-key algorithms, have been among the most widely used. Others include the Cramer–Shoup cryptosystem,
ElGamal encryption, and various elliptic curve techniques. See Category:Asymmetric-key cryptosystems.
Cryptography 95

In addition to encryption, public-key cryptography can be used to

implement digital signature schemes. A digital signature is reminiscent of
an ordinary signature; they both have the characteristic that they are easy Padlock icon from the Firefox Web browser,
for a user to produce, but difficult for anyone else to forge. Digital meant to indicate a page has been sent in
signatures can also be permanently tied to the content of the message being SSL or TLS-encrypted protected form.
However, such an icon is not a guarantee of
signed; they cannot then be 'moved' from one document to another, for any
security; any subverted browser might
attempt will be detectable. In digital signature schemes, there are two mislead a user by displaying such an icon
algorithms: one for signing, in which a secret key is used to process the when a transmission is not actually being
message (or a hash of the message, or both), and one for verification, in protected by SSL or TLS.

which the matching public key is used with the message to check the
validity of the signature. RSA and DSA are two of the most popular digital signature schemes. Digital signatures are
central to the operation of public key infrastructures and many network security schemes (e.g., SSL/TLS, many
VPNs, etc.).[18]

Public-key algorithms are most often based on the computational complexity of "hard" problems, often from number
theory. For example, the hardness of RSA is related to the integer factorization problem, while Diffie–Hellman and
DSA are related to the discrete logarithm problem. More recently, elliptic curve cryptography has developed in
which security is based on number theoretic problems involving elliptic curves. Because of the difficulty of the
underlying problems, most public-key algorithms involve operations such as modular multiplication and
exponentiation, which are much more computationally expensive than the techniques used in most block ciphers,
especially with typical key sizes. As a result, public-key cryptosystems are commonly hybrid cryptosystems, in
which a fast high-quality symmetric-key encryption algorithm is used for the message itself, while the relevant
symmetric key is sent with the message, but encrypted using a public-key algorithm. Similarly, hybrid signature
schemes are often used, in which a cryptographic hash function is computed, and only the resulting hash is digitally
Cryptography 96

The goal of cryptanalysis is to find some weakness or
insecurity in a cryptographic scheme, thus permitting its
subversion or evasion.
It is a common misconception that every encryption
method can be broken. In connection with his WWII
work at Bell Labs, Claude Shannon proved that the
one-time pad cipher is unbreakable, provided the key
material is truly random, never reused, kept secret from
all possible attackers, and of equal or greater length than
the message.[25] Most ciphers, apart from the one-time
pad, can be broken with enough computational effort by
brute force attack, but the amount of effort needed may be
exponentially dependent on the key size, as compared to
the effort needed to use the cipher. In such cases,
effective security could be achieved if it is proven that the
effort required (i.e., "work factor", in Shannon's terms) is
beyond the ability of any adversary. This means it must
be shown that no efficient method (as opposed to the
time-consuming brute force method) can be found to
break the cipher. Since no such showing can be made
Variants of the Enigma machine, used by Germany's military and
civil authorities from the late 1920s through World War II, currently, as of today, the one-time-pad remains the only
implemented a complex electro-mechanical polyalphabetic cipher. theoretically unbreakable cipher.
Breaking and reading of the Enigma cipher at Poland's Cipher
There are a wide variety of cryptanalytic attacks, and they
Bureau, for 7 years before the war, and subsequent decryption at
Bletchley Park, was important to Allied victory. can be classified in any of several ways. A common
distinction turns on what an attacker knows and what
capabilities are available. In a ciphertext-only attack, the cryptanalyst has access only to the ciphertext (good modern
cryptosystems are usually effectively immune to ciphertext-only attacks). In a known-plaintext attack, the
cryptanalyst has access to a ciphertext and its corresponding plaintext (or to many such pairs). In a chosen-plaintext
attack, the cryptanalyst may choose a plaintext and learn its corresponding ciphertext (perhaps many times); an
example is gardening, used by the British during WWII. Finally, in a chosen-ciphertext attack, the cryptanalyst may
be able to choose ciphertexts and learn their corresponding plaintexts.[13] Also important, often overwhelmingly so,
are mistakes (generally in the design or use of one of the protocols involved; see Cryptanalysis of the Enigma for
some historical examples of this).
Cryptography 97

Cryptanalysis of symmetric-key ciphers typically

involves looking for attacks against the block ciphers or
stream ciphers that are more efficient than any attack
that could be against a perfect cipher. For example, a
simple brute force attack against DES requires one
known plaintext and 255 decryptions, trying
approximately half of the possible keys, to reach a
point at which chances are better than even the key
sought will have been found. But this may not be
enough assurance; a linear cryptanalysis attack against
DES requires 243 known plaintexts and approximately
243 DES operations.[26] This is a considerable Poznań monument (center) to Polish cryptologists whose breaking of
improvement on brute force attacks. Germany's Enigma machine ciphers, beginning in 1932, altered the
course of World War II
Public-key algorithms are based on the computational
difficulty of various problems. The most famous of these is integer factorization (e.g., the RSA algorithm is based on
a problem related to integer factoring), but the discrete logarithm problem is also important. Much public-key
cryptanalysis concerns numerical algorithms for solving these computational problems, or some of them, efficiently
(i.e., in a practical time). For instance, the best known algorithms for solving the elliptic curve-based version of
discrete logarithm are much more time-consuming than the best known algorithms for factoring, at least for
problems of more or less equivalent size. Thus, other things being equal, to achieve an equivalent strength of attack
resistance, factoring-based encryption techniques must use larger keys than elliptic curve techniques. For this reason,
public-key cryptosystems based on elliptic curves have become popular since their invention in the mid-1990s.

While pure cryptanalysis uses weaknesses in the algorithms themselves, other attacks on cryptosystems are based on
actual use of the algorithms in real devices, and are called side-channel attacks. If a cryptanalyst has access to, for
example, the amount of time the device took to encrypt a number of plaintexts or report an error in a password or
PIN character, he may be able to use a timing attack to break a cipher that is otherwise resistant to analysis. An
attacker might also study the pattern and length of messages to derive valuable information; this is known as traffic
analysis,[27] and can be quite useful to an alert adversary. Poor administration of a cryptosystem, such as permitting
too short keys, will make any system vulnerable, regardless of other virtues. And, of course, social engineering, and
other attacks against the personnel who work with cryptosystems or the messages they handle (e.g., bribery,
extortion, blackmail, espionage, torture, ...) may be the most productive attacks of all.

Cryptographic primitives
Much of the theoretical work in cryptography concerns cryptographic primitives—algorithms with basic
cryptographic properties—and their relationship to other cryptographic problems. More complicated cryptographic
tools are then built from these basic primitives. These primitives provide fundamental properties, which are used to
develop more complex tools called cryptosystems or cryptographic protocols, which guarantee one or more
high-level security properties. Note however, that the distinction between cryptographic primitives and
cryptosystems, is quite arbitrary; for example, the RSA algorithm is sometimes considered a cryptosystem, and
sometimes a primitive. Typical examples of cryptographic primitives include pseudorandom functions, one-way
functions, etc.
Cryptography 98

One or more cryptographic primitives are often used to develop a more complex algorithm, called a cryptographic
system, or cryptosystem. Cryptosystems (e.g. El-Gamal encryption) are designed to provide particular functionality
(e.g. public key encryption) while guaranteeing certain security properties (e.g. chosen-plaintext attack (CPA)
security in the random oracle model). Cryptosystems use the properties of the underlying cryptographic primitives to
support the system's security properties. Of course, as the distinction between primitives and cryptosystems is
somewhat arbitrary, a sophisticated cryptosystem can be derived from a combination of several more primitive
cryptosystems. In many cases, the cryptosystem's structure involves back and forth communication among two or
more parties in space (e.g., between the sender of a secure message and its receiver) or across time (e.g.,
cryptographically protected backup data). Such cryptosystems are sometimes called cryptographic protocols.
Some widely known cryptosystems include RSA encryption, Schnorr signature, El-Gamal encryption, PGP, etc.
More complex cryptosystems include electronic cash[28] systems, signcryption systems, etc. Some more 'theoretical'
cryptosystems include interactive proof systems,[29] (like zero-knowledge proofs,[30] ), systems for secret sharing,[31]
Until recently, most security properties of most cryptosystems were demonstrated using empirical techniques, or
using ad hoc reasoning. Recently, there has been considerable effort to develop formal techniques for establishing
the security of cryptosystems; this has been generally called provable security. The general idea of provable security
is to give arguments about the computational difficulty needed to compromise some security aspect of the
cryptosystem (i.e., to any adversary).
The study of how best to implement and integrate cryptography in software applications is itself a distinct field; see:
Cryptographic engineering and Security engineering.

Legal issues

Cryptography has long been of interest to intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies. Actually secret
communications may be criminal or even treasonous; those whose communications are open to inspection may be
less likely to be either. Because of its facilitation of privacy, and the diminution of privacy attendant on its
prohibition, cryptography is also of considerable interest to civil rights supporters. Accordingly, there has been a
history of controversial legal issues surrounding cryptography, especially since the advent of inexpensive computers
has made widespread access to high quality cryptography possible.
In some countries, even the domestic use of cryptography is, or has been, restricted. Until 1999, France significantly
restricted the use of cryptography domestically, though it has relaxed many of these. In China, a license is still
required to use cryptography. Many countries have tight restrictions on the use of cryptography. Among the more
restrictive are laws in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, Tunisia, and Vietnam.[33]
In the United States, cryptography is legal for domestic use, but there has been much conflict over legal issues
related to cryptography. One particularly important issue has been the export of cryptography and cryptographic
software and hardware. Probably because of the importance of cryptanalysis in World War II and an expectation that
cryptography would continue to be important for national security, many Western governments have, at some point,
strictly regulated export of cryptography. After World War II, it was illegal in the US to sell or distribute encryption
technology overseas; in fact, encryption was designated as auxiliary military equipment and put on the United States
Munitions List.[34] Until the development of the personal computer, asymmetric key algorithms (i.e., public key
techniques), and the Internet, this was not especially problematic. However, as the Internet grew and computers
became more widely available, high quality encryption techniques became well-known around the globe. As a result,
export controls came to be seen to be an impediment to commerce and to research.
Cryptography 99

Export controls
In the 1990s, there were several challenges to US export regulations of cryptography. One involved Philip
Zimmermann's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption program; it was released in the US, together with its source
code, and found its way onto the Internet in June 1991. After a complaint by RSA Security (then called RSA Data
Security, Inc., or RSADSI), Zimmermann was criminally investigated by the Customs Service and the FBI for
several years. No charges were ever filed, however.[35] [36] Also, Daniel Bernstein, then a graduate student at UC
Berkeley, brought a lawsuit against the US government challenging some aspects of the restrictions based on free
speech grounds. The 1995 case Bernstein v. United States ultimately resulted in a 1999 decision that printed source
code for cryptographic algorithms and systems was protected as free speech by the United States Constitution.[37]
In 1996, thirty-nine countries signed the Wassenaar Arrangement, an arms control treaty that deals with the export of
arms and "dual-use" technologies such as cryptography. The treaty stipulated that the use of cryptography with short
key-lengths (56-bit for symmetric encryption, 512-bit for RSA) would no longer be export-controlled.[38]
Cryptography exports from the US are now much less strictly regulated than in the past as a consequence of a major
relaxation in 2000;[33] there are no longer very many restrictions on key sizes in US-exported mass-market software.
In practice today, since the relaxation in US export restrictions, and because almost every personal computer
connected to the Internet, everywhere in the world, includes US-sourced web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or
Microsoft Internet Explorer, almost every Internet user worldwide has access to quality cryptography (i.e., when
using sufficiently long keys with properly operating and unsubverted software, etc.) in their browsers; examples are
Transport Layer Security or SSL stack. The Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook E-mail client programs
similarly can connect to IMAP or POP servers via TLS, and can send and receive email encrypted with S/MIME.
Many Internet users don't realize that their basic application software contains such extensive cryptosystems. These
browsers and email programs are so ubiquitous that even governments whose intent is to regulate civilian use of
cryptography generally don't find it practical to do much to control distribution or use of cryptography of this quality,
so even when such laws are in force, actual enforcement is often effectively impossible.

NSA involvement
Another contentious issue connected to cryptography in the United States is the influence of the National Security
Agency on cipher development and policy. NSA was involved with the design of DES during its development at
IBM and its consideration by the National Bureau of Standards as a possible Federal Standard for cryptography.[39]
DES was designed to be resistant to differential cryptanalysis,[40] a powerful and general cryptanalytic technique
known to NSA and IBM, that became publicly known only when it was rediscovered in the late 1980s.[41] According
to Steven Levy, IBM rediscovered differential cryptanalysis,[42] but kept the technique secret at NSA's request. The
technique became publicly known only when Biham and Shamir re-rediscovered and announced it some years later.
The entire affair illustrates the difficulty of determining what resources and knowledge an attacker might actually
Another instance of NSA's involvement was the 1993 Clipper chip affair, an encryption microchip intended to be
part of the Capstone cryptography-control initiative. Clipper was widely criticized by cryptographers for two
reasons. The cipher algorithm was then classified (the cipher, called Skipjack, though it was declassified in 1998
long after the Clipper initiative lapsed). The secret cipher caused concerns that NSA had deliberately made the
cipher weak in order to assist its intelligence efforts. The whole initiative was also criticized based on its violation of
Kerckhoffs' principle, as the scheme included a special escrow key held by the government for use by law
enforcement, for example in wiretaps.[36]
Cryptography 100

Digital rights management

Cryptography is central to digital rights management (DRM), a group of techniques for technologically controlling
use of copyrighted material, being widely implemented and deployed at the behest of some copyright holders. In
1998, American President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which criminalized
all production, dissemination, and use of certain cryptanalytic techniques and technology (now known or later
discovered); specifically, those that could be used to circumvent DRM technological schemes.[43] This had a
noticeable impact on the cryptography research community since an argument can be made that any cryptanalytic
research violated, or might violate, the DMCA. Similar statutes have since been enacted in several countries and
regions, including the implementation in the EU Copyright Directive. Similar restrictions are called for by treaties
signed by World Intellectual Property Organization member-states.
The United States Department of Justice and FBI have not enforced the DMCA as rigorously as had been feared by
some, but the law, nonetheless, remains a controversial one. Niels Ferguson, a well-respected cryptography
researcher, has publicly stated[44] that he will not release some of his research into an Intel security design for fear of
prosecution under the DMCA. Both Alan Cox (longtime number 2 in Linux kernel development) and Professor
Edward Felten (and some of his students at Princeton) have encountered problems related to the Act. Dmitry
Sklyarov was arrested during a visit to the US from Russia, and jailed for five months pending trial for alleged
violations of the DMCA arising from work he had done in Russia, where the work was legal. In 2007, the
cryptographic keys responsible for Blu-ray and HD DVD content scrambling were discovered and released onto the
Internet. In both cases, the MPAA sent out numerous DMCA takedown notices, and there was a massive internet
backlash triggered by the perceived impact of such notices on fair use and free speech.

[1] Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford University Press. (1984)
[2] David Kahn, The Codebreakers, 1967, ISBN 0-684-83130-9.
[3] Oded Goldreich, Foundations of Cryptography, Volume 1: Basic Tools, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-79172-3
[4] "Cryptology (definition)" (http:/ / www. merriam-webster. com/ dictionary/ cryptology). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th
edition ed.). Merriam-Webster. . Retrieved 2008-02-01.
[5] Kama Sutra, Sir Richard F. Burton, translator, Part I, Chapter III, 44th and 45th arts.
[6] V. V. I︠A︡shchenko (2002). " Cryptography: an introduction (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=cH-NGrpcIMcC& pg=PA6& dq&
hl=en#v=onepage& q=& f=false)". AMS Bookstore. p.6. ISBN 0-8218-2986-6
[7] A Short History of Cryptography, Fred Cohen 1995, retrieved 8 June 2010 (http:/ / all. net/ books/ ip/ Chap2-1. html)
[8] Simon Singh, The Code Book, pp. 14-20
[9] Ibrahim A. Al-Kadi (April 1992), "The origins of cryptology: The Arab contributions”, Cryptologia 16 (2): 97–126
[10] Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6.
[11] James Gannon, Stealing Secrets, Telling Lies: How Spies and Codebreakers Helped Shape the Twentieth Century, Washington, D.C.,
Brassey's, 2001, ISBN 1-57488-367-4.
[12] Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, "New Directions in Cryptography", IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, vol. IT-22, Nov. 1976,
pp: 644–654. ( pdf (http:/ / citeseer. ist. psu. edu/ rd/ 86197922,340126,1,0. 25,Download/ http:/ / citeseer. ist. psu. edu/ cache/ papers/ cs/
16749/ http:zSzzSzwww. cs. rutgers. eduzSz~tdnguyenzSzclasseszSzcs671zSzpresentationszSzArvind-NEWDIRS. pdf/ diffie76new. pdf))
[13] AJ Menezes, PC van Oorschot, and SA Vanstone, Handbook of Applied Cryptography (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20050307081354/
www. cacr. math. uwaterloo. ca/ hac/ ) ISBN 0-8493-8523-7.
[14] FIPS PUB 197: The official Advanced Encryption Standard (http:/ / www. csrc. nist. gov/ publications/ fips/ fips197/ fips-197. pdf).
[15] NCUA letter to credit unions (http:/ / www. ncua. gov/ letters/ 2004/ 04-CU-09. pdf), July 2004
[16] RFC 2440 - Open PGP Message Format
[17] SSH at (http:/ / www. windowsecurity. com/ articles/ SSH. html) by Pawel Golen, July 2004
[18] Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography, 2nd edition, Wiley, 1996, ISBN 0-471-11709-9.
[19] National Institute of Standards and Technology (http:/ / csrc. nist. gov/ groups/ ST/ hash/ documents/ FR_Notice_Nov07. pdf)
[20] Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, "Multi-user cryptographic techniques" [Diffie and Hellman, AFIPS Proceedings 45, pp109–112, June
8, 1976].
[21] Ralph Merkle was working on similar ideas at the time and encountered publication delays, and Hellman has suggested that the term used
should be Diffie–Hellman–Merkle aysmmetric key cryptography.
[22] David Kahn, "Cryptology Goes Public", 58 Foreign Affairs 141, 151 (fall 1979), p. 153.
Cryptography 101

[23] R. Rivest, A. Shamir, L. Adleman. A Method for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystems (http:/ / theory. lcs. mit. edu/
~rivest/ rsapaper. pdf). Communications of the ACM, Vol. 21 (2), pp.120–126. 1978. Previously released as an MIT "Technical Memo" in
April 1977, and published in Martin Gardner's Scientific American Mathematical recreations column
[24] Clifford Cocks. A Note on 'Non-Secret Encryption', CESG Research Report, 20 November 1973 (http:/ / www. fi. muni. cz/ usr/ matyas/
lecture/ paper2. pdf).
[25] "Shannon": Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, University of Illinois Press, 1963, ISBN
[26] Pascal Junod, "On the Complexity of Matsui's Attack" (http:/ / citeseer. ist. psu. edu/ cache/ papers/ cs/ 22094/ http:zSzzSzeprint. iacr.
orgzSz2001zSz056. pdf/ junod01complexity. pdf), SAC 2001.
[27] Dawn Song, David Wagner, and Xuqing Tian, "Timing Analysis of Keystrokes and Timing Attacks on SSH" (http:/ / citeseer. ist. psu. edu/
cache/ papers/ cs/ 22094/ http:zSzzSzeprint. iacr. orgzSz2001zSz056. pdf/ junod01complexity. pdf), In Tenth USENIX Security Symposium,
[28] S. Brands, "Untraceable Off-line Cash in Wallets with Observers" (http:/ / scholar. google. com/ url?sa=U& q=http:/ / ftp. se. kde. org/ pub/
security/ docs/ ecash/ crypto93. ps. gz), In Advances in Cryptology—Proceedings of CRYPTO, Springer-Verlag, 1994.
[29] László Babai. "Trading group theory for randomness" (http:/ / portal. acm. org/ citation. cfm?id=22192). Proceedings of the Seventeenth
Annual Symposium on the Theory of Computing, ACM, 1985.
[30] S. Goldwasser, S. Micali, and C. Rackoff, "The Knowledge Complexity of Interactive Proof Systems", SIAM J. Computing, vol. 18, num. 1,
pp. 186–208, 1989.
[31] G. Blakley. "Safeguarding cryptographic keys." In Proceedings of AFIPS 1979, volume 48, pp. 313–317, June 1979.
[32] A. Shamir. "How to share a secret." In Communications of the ACM, volume 22, pp. 612–613, ACM, 1979.
[33] RSA Laboratories' Frequently Asked Questions About Today's Cryptography (http:/ / www. rsasecurity. com/ rsalabs/ node. asp?id=2152)
[34] Cryptography & Speech (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20051201184530/ http:/ / www. cyberlaw. com/ cylw1095. html) from Cyberlaw
[35] "Case Closed on Zimmermann PGP Investigation" (http:/ / www. ieee-security. org/ Cipher/ Newsbriefs/ 1996/ 960214. zimmerman. html),
press note from the IEEE.
[36] Levy, Steven (2001). Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government—Saving Privacy in the Digital Age. Penguin Books. p. 56.
ISBN 0-14-024432-8. OCLC 244148644 48066852 48846639.
[37] Bernstein v USDOJ (http:/ / www. epic. org/ crypto/ export_controls/ bernstein_decision_9_cir. html), 9th Circuit court of appeals decision.
[38] The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (http:/ / www. wassenaar.
org/ guidelines/ index. html)
[39] "The Data Encryption Standard (DES)" (http:/ / www. schneier. com/ crypto-gram-0006. html#DES) from Bruce Schneier's CryptoGram
newsletter, June 15, 2000
[40] Coppersmith, D. (May 1994). "The Data Encryption Standard (DES) and its strength against attacks" (http:/ / www. research. ibm. com/
journal/ rd/ 383/ coppersmith. pdf) (PDF). IBM Journal of Research and Development 38 (3): 243. doi:10.1147/rd.383.0243. .
[41] E. Biham and A. Shamir, "Differential cryptanalysis of DES-like cryptosystems" (http:/ / scholar. google. com/ url?sa=U& q=http:/ / www.
springerlink. com/ index/ K54H077NP8714058. pdf), Journal of Cryptology, vol. 4 num. 1, pp. 3–72, Springer-Verlag, 1991.
[42] Levy, pg. 56
[43] Digital Millennium Copyright Act (http:/ / www. copyright. gov/ legislation/ dmca. pdf)
[44] http:/ / www. macfergus. com/ niels/ dmca/ cia. html

Further reading
• Richard J. Aldrich, GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency, HarperCollins,
July 2010.
• Becket, B (1988). Introduction to Cryptology. Blackwell Scientific Publications. ISBN 0-632-01836-4.
OCLC 16832704. Excellent coverage of many classical ciphers and cryptography concepts and of the "modern"
DES and RSA systems.
• Cryptography and Mathematics by Bernhard Esslinger, 200 pages, part of the free open-source package
CrypTool, PDF download (
• In Code: A Mathematical Journey by Sarah Flannery (with David Flannery). Popular account of Sarah's
award-winning project on public-key cryptography, co-written with her father.
• James Gannon, Stealing Secrets, Telling Lies: How Spies and Codebreakers Helped Shape the Twentieth Century,
Washington, D.C., Brassey's, 2001, ISBN 1-57488-367-4.
• Oded Goldreich, Foundations of Cryptography (,
in two volumes, Cambridge University Press, 2001 and 2004.
Cryptography 102

• Introduction to Modern Cryptography ( by Jonathan Katz and

Yehuda Lindell.
• Alvin's Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks (children's novel that introduces some basic cryptography and
• Ibrahim A. Al-Kadi, "The Origins of Cryptology: the Arab Contributions," Cryptologia, vol. 16, no. 2 (April
1992), pp. 97–126.
• Handbook of Applied Cryptography ( by A. J. Menezes, P. C. van
Oorschot, and S. A. Vanstone CRC Press, (PDF download available), somewhat more mathematical than
Schneier's Applied Cryptography.
• Christof Paar (, Jan Pelzl, Understanding Cryptography, A Textbook
for Students and Practitioners. ( Springer, 2009. (Slides, video lectures
and other information are available on the web site.) Very accessible introduction to practical cryptography for
• Introduction to Modern Cryptography by Phillip Rogaway and Mihir Bellare, a mathematical introduction to
theoretical cryptography including reduction-based security proofs. PDF download (http://www.cs.ucdavis.
• Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (novel, WW2 Enigma cryptanalysis figures into the story, though not always
• Johann-Christoph Woltag, 'Coded Communications (Encryption)' in Rüdiger Wolfrum (ed) Max Planck
Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Oxford University Press 2009). * "Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public
International Law" (, giving an overview of international law issues regarding
• Jonathan Arbib & John Dwyer, Discrete Mathematics for Cryptography, 1st Edition ISBN 978-1-907934-01-8.

External links
• Free on-line course in cryptography ( by Christof Paar, two semesters
in English and German (klick on "On-line course"), site also contains a comprehensive set of cryptography slides
• Cryptography ( on In Our Time at the BBC. ( listen now (http:/
• "DNA computing and cryptology: the future for Basel in Switzerland?" (
• Crypto Glossary and Dictionary of Technical Cryptography (
• Attack/Prevention ( Resource for Cryptography Whitepapers,
Tools, Videos, and Podcasts.
• Cryptography: The Ancient Art of Secret Messages ( by Monica
Pawlan - February 1998
• Handbook of Applied Cryptography ( by A. J. Menezes, P. C. van
Oorschot, and S. A. Vanstone (PDF download available), somewhat more mathematical than Schneier's book.
• NSA's CryptoKids (
• Overview and Applications of Cryptology (
by the CrypTool Team; PDF; 3.8 MB—July 2008
• RSA Laboratories' frequently asked questions about today's cryptography (
• sci.crypt mini-FAQ (
• GCHQ: Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency (
• A Course in Cryptography ( by Raphael
Pass and Abhi Shelat. A complete course in cryptography offered at Cornell in the form of lecture notes.
Simulation 103

Simulation is the imitation of some real thing, state of
affairs, or process. The act of simulating something
generally entails representing certain key characteristics
or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system.
Simulation is used in many contexts, such as simulation
of technology for performance optimization, safety
engineering, testing, training, education, and video
games. Training simulators include flight simulators for
training aircraft pilots. Simulation is also used for
scientific modeling of natural systems or human systems
in order to gain insight into their functioning.[1]
Wooden mechanical horse simulator during WWI.
Simulation can be used to show the eventual real effects
of alternative conditions and courses of action.
Simulation is also used when the real system cannot be engaged, because it may not be accessible, or it may be
dangerous or unacceptable to engage, or it is being designed but not yet built, or it may simply not exist .[2]

Key issues in simulation include acquisition of valid source information about the relevant selection of key
characteristics and behaviours, the use of simplifying approximations and assumptions within the simulation, and
fidelity and validity of the simulation outcomes.

Classification and terminology

Historically, simulations used in different fields developed largely
independently, but 20th century studies of Systems theory and
Cybernetics combined with spreading use of computers across all those
fields have led to some unification and a more systematic view of the
Physical simulation refers to simulation in which physical objects are
substituted for the real thing (some circles[3] use the term for computer
simulations modelling selected laws of physics, but this article doesn't).
These physical objects are often chosen because they are smaller or
cheaper than the actual object or system.
Interactive simulation is a special kind of physical simulation, often
referred to as a human in the loop simulation, in which physical
simulations include human operators, such as in a flight simulator or a
driving simulator.
Human in the loop simulations can include a computer simulation as a
so-called synthetic environment.[4]
Human-in-the-loop simulation of outer space.
Simulation 104

Computer simulation
A computer simulation (or "sim") is an attempt to model a real-life or
hypothetical situation on a computer so that it can be studied to see
how the system works. By changing variables, predictions may be
made about the behaviour of the system.[1]
Computer simulation has become a useful part of modeling many
natural systems in physics, chemistry and biology,[5] and human Visualization of a direct numerical simulation
systems in economics and social science (the computational sociology)
as well as in engineering to gain insight into the operation of those
systems. A good example of the usefulness of using computers to simulate can be found in the field of network
traffic simulation. In such simulations, the model behaviour will change each simulation according to the set of
initial parameters assumed for the environment.

Traditionally, the formal modeling of systems has been via a mathematical model, which attempts to find analytical
solutions enabling the prediction of the behaviour of the system from a set of parameters and initial conditions.
Computer simulation is often used as an adjunct to, or substitution for, modeling systems for which simple closed
form analytic solutions are not possible. There are many different types of computer simulation, the common feature
they all share is the attempt to generate a sample of representative scenarios for a model in which a complete
enumeration of all possible states would be prohibitive or impossible.
Several software packages exist for running computer-based simulation modeling (e.g. Monte Carlo simulation,
stochastic modeling, multimethod modeling) that makes the modeling almost effortless.
Modern usage of the term "computer simulation" may encompass virtually any computer-based representation.

Computer science
In computer science, simulation has some specialized meanings: Alan Turing used the term "simulation" to refer to
what happens when a universal machine executes a state transition table (in modern terminology, a computer runs a
program) that describes the state transitions, inputs and outputs of a subject discrete-state machine. The computer
simulates the subject machine. Accordingly, in theoretical computer science the term simulation is a relation between
state transition systems, useful in the study of operational semantics.
Less theoretically, an interesting application of computer simulation is to simulate computers using computers. In
computer architecture, a type of simulator, typically called an emulator, is often used to execute a program that has
to run on some inconvenient type of computer (for example, a newly designed computer that has not yet been built or
an obsolete computer that is no longer available), or in a tightly controlled testing environment (see Computer
architecture simulator and Platform virtualization). For example, simulators have been used to debug a
microprogram or sometimes commercial application programs, before the program is downloaded to the target
machine. Since the operation of the computer is simulated, all of the information about the computer's operation is
directly available to the programmer, and the speed and execution of the simulation can be varied at will.
Simulators may also be used to interpret fault trees, or test VLSI logic designs before they are constructed. Symbolic
simulation uses variables to stand for unknown values.
In the field of optimization, simulations of physical processes are often used in conjunction with evolutionary
computation to optimize control strategies...
Simulation 105

Simulation in education and training

Simulation is extensively used for educational purposes. It is frequently used by way of adaptive hypermedia.
Simulation is often used in the training of civilian and military personnel.[6] This usually occurs when it is
prohibitively expensive or simply too dangerous to allow trainees to use the real equipment in the real world. In such
situations they will spend time learning valuable lessons in a "safe" virtual environment. Often the convenience is to
permit mistakes during training for a safety-critical system. For example, in simSchool [7] teachers practice
classroom management and teaching techniques on simulated students, which avoids "learning on the job" that can
damage real students. There is a distinction, though, between simulations used for training and Instructional
Training simulations typically come in one of three categories:[8]
• "live" simulation (where actual players use genuine systems in a real environment);
• "virtual" simulation (where actual players use simulated systems in a synthetic environment [4] ), or
• "constructive" simulation (where virtual players use simulated systems in a synthetic environment). Constructive
simulation is often referred to as "wargaming" since it bears some resemblance to table-top war games in which
players command armies of soldiers and equipment that move around a board.
In standardized tests, "live" simulations are sometimes called "high-fidelity", producing "samples of likely
performance", as opposed to "low-fidelity", "pencil-and-paper" simulations producing only "signs of possible
performance",[9] but the distinction between high, moderate and low fidelity remains relative, depending on the
context of a particular comparison.
Simulations in education are somewhat like training simulations. They focus on specific tasks. The term 'microworld'
is used to refer to educational simulations which model some abstract concept rather than simulating a realistic
object or environment, or in some cases model a real world environment in a simplistic way so as to help a learner
develop an understanding of the key concepts. Normally, a user can create some sort of construction within the
microworld that will behave in a way consistent with the concepts being modeled. Seymour Papert was one of the
first to advocate the value of microworlds, and the Logo (programming language) programming environment
developed by Papert is one of the most famous microworlds. As another example, the Global Challenge Award
online STEM learning web site uses microworld simulations to teach science concepts related to global warming and
the future of energy. Other projects for simulations in educations are Open Source Physics, NetSim etc.
Management games (or business simulations) have been finding favour in business education in recent years.[10]
Business simulations that incorporate a dynamic model enable experimentation with business strategies in a risk free
environment and provide a useful extension to case study discussions.
Social simulations may be used in social science classrooms to illustrate social and political processes in
anthropology, economics, history, political science, or sociology courses, typically at the high school or university
level. These may, for example, take the form of civics simulations, in which participants assume roles in a simulated
society, or international relations simulations in which participants engage in negotiations, alliance formation, trade,
diplomacy, and the use of force. Such simulations might be based on fictitious political systems, or be based on
current or historical events. An example of the latter would be Barnard College's "Reacting to the Past" series of
educational simulations.[11] The "Reacting to the Past" series also includes simulation games that address science
In recent years, there has been increasing use of social simulations for staff training in aid and development agencies.
The Carana simulation, for example, was first developed by the United Nations Development Programme, and is
now used in a very revised form by the World Bank for training staff to deal with fragile and conflict-affected
Simulation 106

Common User Interaction Systems for Virtual Simulations

As defined earlier on this page, Virtual Simulations represent a specific category of simulation that utilizes
simulation equipment to create a simulated world for the user. Virtual Simulations allow users to interact with a
virtual world. Virtual worlds operate on platforms of integrated software and hardware components. In this manner,
the system can accept input from the user (e.g., body tracking, voice/sound recognition, physical controllers) and
produce output to the user (e.g., visual display, aural display, haptic display) .[13] Virtual Simulations use the
aforementioned modes of interaction to produce a sense of immersion for the user.

Virtual Simulation Input Hardware

There is a wide variety of input hardware available to accept user input for virtual simulations. The following list
briefly describes several of them:
Body Tracking The motion capture method is often used to record the user’s movements and translate the captured
data into inputs for the virtual simulation. For example, if a user physically turns their head, the motion would be
captured by the simulation hardware in some way and translated to a corresponding shift in view within the
• Capture Suits and/or gloves may be used to capture movements of users body parts. The systems may have
sensors incorporated inside them to sense movements of different body parts (e.g., fingers). Alternatively, these
systems may have exterior tracking devices or marks that can be detected by external ultrasound, optical receivers
or electromagnetic sensors. Internal inertial sensors are also available on some systems. The units may transmit
data either wirelessly or through cables.
• Eye trackers can also be used to detect eye movements so that the system can determine precisely where a user is
looking at any given instant.
Physical Controllers Physical controllers provide input to the simulation only through direct manipulation by the
user. In virtual simulations, tactile feedback from physical controllers is highly desirable in a number of simulation
• Omni directional treadmills can be used to capture the users locomotion as they walk or run.
• High fidelity instrumentation such as instrument panels in virtual aircraft cockpits provides users with actual
controls to raise the level of immersion. For example, pilots can use the actual global positioning system controls
from the real device in a simulated cockpit to help them practice procedures with the actual device in the context
of the integrated cockpit system.
Voice/Sound Recognition This form of interaction may be used either to interact with agents within the simulation
(e.g., virtual people) or to manipulate objects in the simulation (e.g., information). Voice interaction presumably
increases the level of immersion for the user.
• Users may use headsets with boom microphones, lapel microphones or the room may be equipped with
strategically located microphones.
Current Research into User Input Systems Research in future input systems hold a great deal of promise for
virtual simulations. Systems such as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)Brain-computer interface offer the ability to
further increase the level of immersion for virtual simulation users. Lee, Keinrath, Scherer, Bischof, Pfurtscheller [14]
proved that naïve subjects could be trained to use a BCI to navigate a virtual apartment with relative ease. Using the
BCI, the authors found that subjects were able to freely navigate the virtual environment with relatively minimal
effort. It is possible that these types of systems will become standard input modalities in future virtual simulation
Simulation 107

Virtual Simulation Output Hardware

There is a wide variety of output hardware available to deliver stimulus to users in virtual simulations. The following
list briefly describes several of them:
Visual Display Visual displays provide the visual stimulus to the user.
• Stationary displays can vary from a conventional desktop display to 360-degree wrap around screens to stereo
three-dimensional screens. Conventional desktop displays can vary in size from 15 to 60+ inches. Wrap around
screens are typically utilized in what is known as a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) Cave
Automatic Virtual Environment. Stereo three-dimensional screens produce three-dimensional images either with
or without special glasses—depending on the design.
• Head mounted displays (HMDs) have small displays that are mounted on headgear worn by the user. These
systems are connected directly into the virtual simulation to provide the user with a more immersive experience.
Weight, update rates and field of view are some of the key variables that differentiate HMDs. Naturally, heavier
HMDs are undesirable as they cause fatigue over time. If the update rate is too slow, the system is unable to
update the displays fast enough to correspond with a quick head turn by the user. Slower update rates tend to
cause simulation sickness and disrupt the sense of immersion. Field of view or the angular extent of the world that
is seen at a given moment Field of view can vary from system to system and has been found to affect the users
sense of immersion.
Aural Display Several different types of audio systems exist to help the user hear and localize sounds spatially.
Special software can be used to produce 3D audio effects 3D audio to create the illusion that sound sources are
placed within a defined three-dimensional space around the user.
• Stationary conventional speaker systems may be used provide dual or multi-channel surround sound. However,
external speakers are not as effective as headphones in producing 3D audio effects.[13]
• Conventional headphones offer a portable alternative to stationary speakers. They also have the added advantages
of masking real world noise and facilitate more effective 3D audio sound effects.[13]
Haptic Display These displays provide sense of touch to the userHaptic technology. This type of output is
sometimes referred to as force feedback.
• Tactile Tile Displays use different types of actuators such as inflatable bladders, vibrators, low frequency
sub-woofers, pin actuators and/or thermo-actuators to produce sensations for the user.
• End Effector Displays can respond to users inputs with resistance and force.[13] These systems are often used in
medical applications for remote surgeries that employ robotic instruments.[15]
Vestibular Display These displays provide a sense of motion to the userMotion simulator. They often manifest as
motion bases for virtual vehicle simulation such as driving simulators or flight simulators. Motion bases are fixed in
place but use actuators to move the simulator in ways that can produce the sensations pitching, yawing or rolling.
The simulators can also move in such a way as to produce a sense of acceleration on all axes (e.g., the motion base
can produce the sensation of falling).

Clinical healthcare simulators

Medical simulators are increasingly being developed and deployed to teach therapeutic and diagnostic procedures as
well as medical concepts and decision making to personnel in the health professions. Simulators have been
developed for training procedures ranging from the basics such as blood draw, to laparoscopic surgery [16] and
trauma care. They are also important to help on prototyping new devices[17] for biomedical engineering problems.
Currently, simulators are applied to research and development of tools for new therapies,[18] treatments[19] and early
diagnosis[20] in medicine.
Many medical simulators involve a computer connected to a plastic simulation of the relevant anatomy.
Sophisticated simulators of this type employ a life size mannequin that responds to injected drugs and can be
Simulation 108

programmed to create simulations of life-threatening emergencies. In other simulations, visual components of the
procedure are reproduced by computer graphics techniques, while touch-based components are reproduced by haptic
feedback devices combined with physical simulation routines computed in response to the user's actions. Medical
simulations of this sort will often use 3D CT or MRI scans of patient data to enhance realism. Some medical
simulations are developed to be widely distributed (such as web-enabled simulations [21] that can be viewed via
standard web browsers) and can be interacted with using standard computer interfaces, such as the keyboard and
Another important medical application of a simulator — although, perhaps, denoting a slightly different meaning of
simulator — is the use of a placebo drug, a formulation that simulates the active drug in trials of drug efficacy (see
Placebo (origins of technical term)).

Improving Patient Safety through New Innovations

Patient safety is a concern in the medical industry. Patients have been known to suffer injuries and even death due to
management error, and lack of using best standards of care and training. According to Building a National Agenda
for Simulation-Based Medical Education (Eder-Van Hook, Jackie, 2004) , “A health care provider’s ability to react
prudently in an unexpected situation is one of the most critical factors in creating a positive outcome in medical
emergency, regardless of whether it occurs on the battlefield, freeway, or hospital emergency room.” simulation.
Eder-Van Hook (2004) also noted that medical errors kill up to 98,000 with an estimated cost between $37 and $50
million and $17 to $29 billion for preventable adverse events dollars per year. “Deaths due to preventable adverse
events exceed deaths attributable to motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS” Eder-Van Hook (2004). With
these types of statistics it is no wonder that improving patient safety is a prevalent concern in the industry.
New innovative simulation training solutions are now being used to train medical professionals in an attempt to
reduce the number of safety concerns that have adverse effects on the patients. However, according to the article
Does Simulation Improve Patient Safety? Self-efficacy, Competence, Operational Performance, and Patient Safety
(Nishisaki A., Keren R., and Nadkarni, V., 2007), the jury is still out. Nishisaki states that “There is good evidence
that simulation training improves provider and team self-efficacy and competence on manikins. There is also good
evidence that procedural simulation improves actual operational performance in clinical settings.[22] However, no
evidence yet shows that crew resource management training through simulation, despite its promise, improves team
operational performance at the bedside. Also, no evidence to date proves that simulation training actually improves
patient outcome. Even so, confidence is growing in the validity of medical simulation as the training tool of the
future.” This could be because there are not enough research studies yet conducted to effectively determine the
success of simulation initiatives to improve patient safety. Examples of [recently implemented] research simulations
used to improve patient care [and its funding] can be found at Improving Patient Safety through Simulation Research
(US Department of Human Health Services)
One such attempt to improve patient safety through the use of simulations training is pediatric care to deliver
just-in-time service or/and just-in-place. This training consists of 20 minutes of simulated training just before
workers report to shift. It is hoped that the recentness of the training will increase the positive and reduce the
negative results that have generally been associated with the procedure. The purpose of this study is to determine if
just-in-time training improves patient safety and operational performance of orotracheal intubation and decrease
occurrences of undesired associated events and “to test the hypothesis that high fidelity simulation may enhance the
training efficacy and patient safety in simulation settings.” The conclusion as reported in Abstract P38: Just-In-Time
Simulation Training Improves ICU Physician Trainee Airway Resuscitation Participation without Compromising
Procedural Success or Safety (Nishisaki A., 2008), were that simulation training improved resident participation in
real cases; but did not sacrifice the quality of service. It could be therefore hypothesized that by increasing the
number of highly trained residents through the use of simulation training, that the simulation training does in fact
increase patient safety. This hypothesis would have to be researched for validation and the results may or may not
Simulation 109

generalize to other situations.

History of simulation in healthcare

The first medical simulators were simple models of human patients.[23]
Since antiquity, these representations in clay and stone were used to demonstrate clinical features of disease states
and their effects on humans. Models have been found from many cultures and continents. These models have been
used in some cultures (e.g., Chinese culture) as a "diagnostic" instrument, allowing women to consult male
physicians while maintaining social laws of modesty. Models are used today to help students learn the anatomy of
the musculoskeletal system and organ systems.[23]

Type of models
Active models
Active models that attempt to reproduce living anatomy or physiology are recent developments. The famous
“Harvey” mannikin was developed at the University of Miami and is able to recreate many of the physical
findings of the cardiology examination, including palpation, auscultation, and electrocardiography.
Interactive models
More recently, interactive models have been developed that respond to actions taken by a student or physician.
Until recently, these simulations were two dimensional computer programs that acted more like a textbook
than a patient. Computer simulations have the advantage of allowing a student to make judgements, and also to
make errors. The process of iterative learning through assessment, evaluation, decision making, and error
correction creates a much stronger learning environment than passive instruction.
Computer simulators
Simulators have been proposed as an ideal tool for assessment of
students for clinical skills.[24] For patients, "cybertherapy" can be
used for sessions simulating traumatic expericences, from fear of
heights to social anxiety.[25]
Programmed patients and simulated clinical situations, including
mock disaster drills, have been used extensively for education
and evaluation. These “lifelike” simulations are expensive, and
lack reproducibility. A fully functional "3Di" simulator would be
the most specific tool available for teaching and measurement of
clinical skills. Gaming platforms have been applied to create 3DiTeams learner is percussing the patients chest
in virtual field hospital
these virtual medical environments to create an interactive
method for learning and application of information in a clinical
context.[26] [27]

Immersive disease state simulations allow a doctor or HCP to experience what a disease actually feels like.
Using sensors and transducers symptomatic effects can be delivered to a participant allowing them to
experience the patients disease state.
Such a simulator meets the goals of an objective and standardized examination for clinical competence.[28]
This system is superior to examinations that use "standard patients" because it permits the quantitative
measurement of competence, as well as reproducing the same objective findings.[29]
Simulation 110

Simulation in entertainment
Entertainment simulation is a term that encompasses many large and popular industries such as film, television,
video games (including serious games) and rides in theme parks. Although modern simulation is thought to have its
roots in training and the military, in the 20th century it also became a conduit for enterprises which were more
hedonistic in nature. Advances in technology in the 1980s and 1990s caused simulation to become more widely used
and it began to appear in movies such as Jurassic Park (1993) and in computer-based games such as Atari’s


Early History (1940’s and 50’s)

The first simulation game may have been created as early as 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann.
This was a straightforward game that simulated a missile being fired at a target. The curve of the missile and its
speed could be adjusted using several knobs. In 1958 a computer game called “Tennis for Two” was created by Willy
Higginbotham which simulated a tennis game between two players who could both play at the same time using hand
controls and was displayed on an oscilloscope.[30] This was one of the first electronic video games to use a graphical

Modern Simulation (1980’s-present)

Advances in technology in the 1980s made the computer more affordable and more capable than they were in
previous decades [31] which facilitated the rise of computer gaming. The first video game consoles released in the
1970s and early '80s fell prey to the industry crash in 1983, but in 1985 Nintendo released the Nintendo
Entertainment System (NES) which became the best selling console in video game history.[32] In the 1990s computer
games became widely popular with the release of such game as The Sims and Command and Conquer and the still
increasing power of desktop computers. Today, computer simulation games such as World of Warcraft are played by
millions of people around the world.
Computer-generated imagery was used in film to simulate objects as early as 1976, though in 1982 the movie Tron
was the first film to use computer-generated imagery for more than a couple of minutes. However, the commercial
failure of the movie may have caused the industry to step away from the technology.[33] In 1993, the movie Jurassic
Park became the first popular film to use computer-generated graphics extensively, integrating the simulated
dinosaurs almost seamlessly into live action scenes. This event transformed the film industry; in 1995 the movie Toy
Story was the first film to use only computer-generated images and by the new millennium computer generated
graphics were the leading choice for special effects in movies.[34]
Simulators have been used for entertainment since the Link Trainer in the 1930s.[35] The first modern simulator ride
to open at a theme park was Disney’s Star Tours in 1987 soon followed by Universal’s The Funtastic World of
Hanna-Barbera in 1990 which was the first ride to be done entirely with computer graphics.[36]

Examples of entertainment simulation

Computer and video games

Simulation games, as opposed to other genres of video and computer games, represent or simulate an environment
accurately. Moreover, they represent the interactions between the playable characters and the environment
realistically. These kinds of games are usually more complex in terms of game play.[37] Simulation games have
become incredibly popular among people of all ages.[38] Popular simulation games include SimCity, Tiger Woods
PGA Tour and Virtonomics.
Simulation 111

Computer-generated imagery is “the application of the field of 3D computer graphics to special effects”. This
technology is used for visual effects because they are high in quality, controllable, and can create effects that would
not be feasible using any other technology either because of cost, resources or safety.[39] Computer-generated
graphics can be seen in many live action movies today, especially those of the action genre. Further, computer
generated imagery has almost completely supplanted hand-drawn animation in children's movies which are
increasingly computer-generated only. Examples of movies that use computer-generated imagery include Finding
Nemo, 300 and Iron Man.

Theme park rides

Simulator rides are the progeny of military training simulators and commercial simulators, but they are different in a
fundamental way. While military training simulators react realistically to the input of the trainee in real time, ride
simulators only feel like they move realistically and move according to prerecorded motion scripts.[36] One of the
first simulator rides, Star Tours, which cost $32 million, used a hydraulic motion based cabin. The movement was
programmed by a joystick. Today’s simulator rides, such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man include
elements to increase the amount of immersion experienced by the riders such as: 3D imagery, physical effects
(spraying water or producing scents), and movement through an environment.[40] Examples of simulation rides
include Mission Space and The Simpsons Ride.

Simulation and Manufacturing

Manufacturing represents one of the most important applications of Simulation. This technique represents a valuable
tool used by engineers when evaluating the effect of capital investment in equipments and physical facilities like
factory plants, warehouses, and distribution centers. Simulation can be used to predict the performance of an existing
or planned system and to compare alternative solutions for a particular design problem.[41]
Another important goal of manufacturing-simulations is to quantify system performance. Common measures of
system performance include the following:[42]
• Throughput under average and peak loads;
• System cycle time (how long it take to produce one part);
• Utilization of resource, labor, and machines;
• Bottlenecks and choke points;
• Queuing at work locations;
• Queuing and delays caused by material-handling devices and systems;
• WIP storage needs;
• Staffing requirements;
• Effectiveness of scheduling systems;
• Effectiveness of control systems.

More examples in different areas

City and urban simulation

A city simulator can be a city-building game but can also be a tool used by urban planners to understand how cities
are likely to evolve in response to various policy decisions. AnyLogic is an example of modern, large-scale urban
simulators designed for use by urban planners. City simulators are generally agent-based simulations with explicit
representations for land use and transportation. UrbanSim and LEAM are examples of large-scale urban simulation
models that are used by metropolitan planning agencies and military bases for land use and transportation planning.
Simulation 112

Classroom of the future

The "classroom of the future" will probably contain several kinds of simulators, in addition to textual and visual
learning tools. This will allow students to enter the clinical years better prepared, and with a higher skill level. The
advanced student or postgraduate will have a more concise and comprehensive method of retraining — or of
incorporating new clinical procedures into their skill set — and regulatory bodies and medical institutions will find it
easier to assess the proficiency and competency of individuals.
The classroom of the future will also form the basis of a clinical skills unit for continuing education of medical
personnel; and in the same way that the use of periodic flight training assists airline pilots, this technology will assist
practitioners throughout their career.
The simulator will be more than a "living" textbook, it will become an integral a part of the practice of medicine. The
simulator environment will also provide a standard platform for curriculum development in institutions of medical

Digital Lifecycle Simulation

Simulation solutions are being increasingly integrated with CAx
(CAD, CAM, CAE....) solutions and processes. The use of simulation
throughout the product lifecycle, especially at the earlier concept and
design stages, has the potential of providing substantial benefits. These
benefits range from direct cost issues such as reduced prototyping and
shorter time-to-market, to better performing products and higher
margins. However, for some companies, simulation has not provided
the expected benefits.
The research firm Aberdeen Group has found that nearly all Simulation of airflow over an engine

best-in-class manufacturers use simulation early in the design process

as compared to 3 or 4 laggards who do not.
The successful use of Simulation, early in the lifecycle, has been largely driven by increased integration of
simulation tools with the entire CAD, CAM and PLM solution-set. Simulation solutions can now function across the
extended enterprise in a multi-CAD environment, and include solutions for managing simulation data and processes
and ensuring that simulation results are made part of the product lifecycle history. The ability to use simulation
across the entire lifecycle has been enhanced through improved user interfaces such as tailorable user interfaces and
"wizards" which allow all appropriate PLM participants to take part in the simulation process.

Disaster Preparedness and Simulation Training

Simulation training has become a method for preparing people for disasters. Simulations can replicate emergency
situations and track how learners respond. Disaster preparedness simulations can involve training on how to handle
terrorism attacks, natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, or other life-threatening emergencies.
One organization that has used simulation training for disaster preparedness is CADE (Center for Advancement of
Distance Education). CADE[43] has used a video game to prepare emergency workers for multiple types of attacks.
As reported by News-Medical.Net, ”The video game is the first in a series of simulations to address bioterrorism,
pandemic flu, smallpox and other disasters that emergency personnel must prepare for.[44] ” Developed by a team
from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the game allows learners to practice their emergency skills in a
safe, controlled environment.
The Emergency Simulation Program (ESP) at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada is another example of an organization that uses simulation to train for emergency
situations. ESP uses simulation to train on the following situations: forest fire fighting, oil or chemical spill response,
Simulation 113

earthquake response, law enforcement, municipal fire fighting, hazardous material handling, military training, and
response to terrorist attack [45] One feature of the simulation system is the implementation of “Dynamic Run-Time
Clock,” which allows simulations to run a 'simulated' time frame, 'speeding up' or 'slowing down' time as desired”[45]
Additionally, the system allows session recordings, picture-icon based navigation, file storage of individual
simulations, multimedia components, and launch external applications.
At the University of Québec in Chicoutimi, a research team at the outdoor research and expertise laboratory
(Laboratoire d'Expertise et de Recherche en Plein Air - LERPA) specializes in using wilderness backcountry
accident simulations to verify emergency response coordination.
Instructionally, the benefits of emergency training through simulations are that learner performance can be tracked
through the system. This allows the developer to make adjustments as necessary or alert the educator on topics that
may require additional attention. Other advantages are that the learner can be guided or trained on how to respond
appropriately before continuing to the next emergency segment—this is an aspect that may not be available in the
live-environment. Some emergency training simulators also allows for immediate feedback, while other simulations
may provide a summary and instruct the learner to engage in the learning topic again.
In a live-emergency situation, emergency responders do not have time to waste. Simulation-training in this
environment provides an opportunity for learners to gather as much information as they can and practice their
knowledge in a safe environment. They can make mistakes without risk of endangering lives and be given the
opportunity to correct their errors to prepare for the real-life emergency.

Engineering, technology or process simulation

Simulation is an important feature in engineering systems or any system that involves many processes. For example
in electrical engineering, delay lines may be used to simulate propagation delay and phase shift caused by an actual
transmission line. Similarly, dummy loads may be used to simulate impedance without simulating propagation, and
is used in situations where propagation is unwanted. A simulator may imitate only a few of the operations and
functions of the unit it simulates. Contrast with: emulate.[46]
Most engineering simulations entail mathematical modeling and computer assisted investigation. There are many
cases, however, where mathematical modeling is not reliable. Simulation of fluid dynamics problems often require
both mathematical and physical simulations. In these cases the physical models require dynamic similitude. Physical
and chemical simulations have also direct realistic uses,[47] rather than research uses; in chemical engineering, for
example, process simulations are used to give the process parameters immediately used for operating chemical
plants, such as oil refineries.

Payment and Securities Settlement System Simulations

Simulation techniques have also been applied to payment and securities settlement systems. Among the main users
are central banks who are generally responsible for the oversight of market infrastructure and entitled to contribute to
the smooth functioning of the payment systems.
Central Banks have been using payment system simulations to evaluate things such as the adequacy or sufficiency of
liquidity available ( in the form of account balances and intraday credit limits) to participants (mainly banks) to
allow efficient settlement of payments.[48] [49] The need for liquidity is also dependent on the availability and the
type of netting procedures in the systems, thus some of the studies have a focus on system comparisons.[50]
Another application is to evaluate risks related to events such as communication network breakdowns or the inability
of participants to send payments (e.g. in case of possible bank failure).[51] This kind of analysis fall under the
concepts of Stress testing or scenario analysis.
A common way to conduct these simulations is to replicate the settlement logics of the real payment or securities
settlement systems under analysis and then use real observed payment data. In case of system comparison or system
Simulation 114

development, naturally also the other settlement logics need to be implemented.

To perform stress testing and scenario analysis, the observed data needs to be altered, e.g. some payments delayed or
removed. To analyze the levels of liquidity, initial liquidity levels are varried. System comparisons
(benchmarking)or evaluations of new netting algorithms or rules are performed by running simulations with a fixed
set of data and wariating only the system setups.
Inference is usually done by comparing the benchmark simulation results to the results of altered simulation setups
by comparing indicators such as unsettled transactions or settlement delays.

Space Shuttle Countdown Simulation

Simulation is used at Kennedy Space Center
(KSC) to train and certify Space Shuttle
engineers during simulated launch
countdown operations. The Space Shuttle
engineering community participates in a
launch countdown integrated simulation
before each shuttle flight. This simulation is
a virtual simulation where real people
interact with simulated Space Shuttle
vehicle and Ground Support Equipment
(GSE) hardware. The Shuttle Final
Countdown Phase Simulation, also known
as S0044, involves countdown processes Firing Room 1 configured for space shuttle launches
that integrate many of the Space Shuttle
vehicle and GSE systems. Some of the Shuttle systems integrated in the simulation are the Main Propulsion System,
Main Engines, Solid Rocket Boosters, ground Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen, External Tank, Flight Controls,
Navigation, and Avionics.[52] The high-level objectives of the Shuttle Final Countdown Phase Simulation are:

• To demonstrate Firing Room final countdown phase operations.

• To provide training for system engineers in recognizing, reporting and evaluating system problems in a time
critical environment.
• To exercise the launch teams ability to evaluate, prioritize and respond to problems in an integrated manner
within a time critical environment.
• To provide procedures to be used in performing failure/recovery testing of the operations performed in the final
countdown phase.[53]
The Shuttle Final Countdown Phase Simulation takes place at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Control Center
Firing Rooms. The firing room used during the simulation is the same control room where real launch countdown
operations are executed. As a result, equipment used for real launch countdown operations is engaged. Command
and control computers, application software, engineering plotting and trending tools, launch countdown procedure
documents, launch commit criteria documents, hardware requirement documents, and any other items used by the
engineering launch countdown teams during real launch countdown operations are used during the simulation. The
Space Shuttle vehicle hardware and related GSE hardware is simulated by mathematical models (written in Shuttle
Ground Operations Simulator (SGOS) modeling language [54] ) that behave and react like real hardware. During the
Shuttle Final Countdown Phase Simulation, engineers command and control hardware via real application software
executing in the control consoles – just as if they were commanding real vehicle hardware. However, these real
software applications do not interface with real Shuttle hardware during simulations. Instead, the applications
interface with mathematical model representations of the vehicle and GSE hardware. Consequently, the simulations
bypass sensitive and even dangerous mechanisms while providing engineering measurements detailing how the
Simulation 115

hardware would have reacted. Since these math models interact with the command and control application software,
models and simulations are also used to debug and verify the functionality of application software.[55]

Satellite Navigation Simulators

The only true way to test GNSS receivers (commonly known as Sat-Nav's in the commercial world)is by using an
RF Constellation Simulator. A receiver that may for example be used on an aircraft, can be tested under dynamic
conditions without the need to take it on a real flight. The test conditions can be repeated exactly, and there is full
control over all the test parameters. this is not possible in the 'real-world' using the actual signals. For testing
receivers that will use the new Galileo (satellite navigation) there is no alternative, as the real signals do not yet exist.

Communication Satellite Simulation

Modern satellite communications systems (SatCom) are often large and complex with many interacting parts and
elements. In addition, the need for broadband connectivity on a moving vehicle has increased dramatically in the past
few years for both commercial and military applications. To accurately predict and deliver high quality of service,
satcom system designers have to factor in terrain as well as atmospheric and meteorological conditions in their
planning. To deal with such complexity, system designers and operators increasingly turn towards computer models
of their systems to simulate real world operational conditions and gain insights in to usability and requirements prior
to final product sign-off. Modeling improves the understanding of the system by enabling the SatCom system
designer or planner to simulate real world performance by injecting the models with multiple hypothetical
atmospheric and environmental conditions.

Finance simulation
In finance, computer simulations are often used for scenario planning. Risk-adjusted net present value, for example,
is computed from well-defined but not always known (or fixed) inputs. By imitating the performance of the project
under evaluation, simulation can provide a distribution of NPV over a range of discount rates and other variables.
Simulations are frequently used in financial training to engage participates in experiencing various historical as well
as fictional situations. There are stock market simulations, portfolio simulations, risk management simulations or
models and forex simulations. Using these simulations in a training program allows for the application of theory into
a something akin to real life. As with other industries, the use of simulations can be technology or case-study driven.

Flight simulation
Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD) are used to train pilots on the ground. In comparison to training in an
actual aircraft, simulation based training allows for the training of maneuvers or situations that may be impractical
(or even dangerous) to perform in the aircraft, while keeping the pilot and instructor in a relatively low-risk
environment on the ground. For example, electrical system failures, instrument failures, hydraulic system failures,
and even flight control failures can be simulated without risk to the pilots or an aircraft.
Instructors can also provide students with a higher concentration of training tasks in a given period of time than is
usually possible in the aircraft. For example, conducting multiple instrument approaches in the actual aircraft may
require significant time spent repositioning the aircraft, while in a simulation, as soon as one approach has been
completed, the instructor can immediately preposition the simulated aircraft to an ideal (or less than ideal) location
from which to begin the next approach.
Flight simulation also provides an economic advantage over training in an actual aircraft. Once fuel, maintenance,
and insurance costs are taken into account, the operating costs of an FSTD are usually substantially lower than the
operating costs of the simulated aircraft. For some large transport category airplanes, the operating costs may be
several times lower for the FSTD than the actual aircraft.
Simulation 116

Some people who use simulator software, especially flight simulator software, build their own simulator at home.
Some people — in order to further the realism of their homemade simulator — buy used cards and racks that run the
same software used by the original machine. While this involves solving the problem of matching hardware and
software — and the problem that hundreds of cards plug into many different racks — many still find that solving
these problems is well worthwhile. Some are so serious about realistic simulation that they will buy real aircraft
parts, like complete nose sections of written-off aircraft, at aircraft boneyards. This permits people to simulate a
hobby that they are unable to pursue in real life.

Automobile simulator
An automobile simulator provides an opportunity to reproduce the
characteristics of real vehicles in a virtual environment. It replicates the
external factors and conditions with which a vehicle interacts enabling
a driver to feel as if they are sitting in the cab of their own vehicle.
Scenarios and events are replicated with sufficient reality to ensure that
drivers become fully immersed in the experience rather than simply
viewing it as an educational experience.
The simulator provides a constructive experience for the novice driver
and enables more complex exercises to be undertaken by the more A soldier tests out a heavy-wheeled-vehicle
mature driver. For novice drivers, truck simulators provide an driver simulator.

opportunity to begin their career by applying best practice. For mature

drivers, simulation provides the ability to enhance good driving or to detect poor practice and to suggest the
necessary steps for remedial action. For companies, it provides an opportunity to educate staff in the driving skills
that achieve reduced maintenance costs, improved productivity and, most importantly, to ensure the safety of their
actions in all possible situations.

Marine simulators
Bearing resemblance to flight simulators, marine simulators train ships' personnel. The most common marine
simulators include:
• Ship's bridge simulators
• Engine room simulators
• Cargo handling simulators
• Communication / GMDSS simulators
• ROV simulators
Simulators like these are mostly used within maritime colleges, training institutions and navies. They often consist of
a replication of a ships' bridge, with operating desk(s), and a number of screens on which the virtual surroundings are

Military simulations
Military simulations, also known informally as war games, are models in which theories of warfare can be tested and
refined without the need for actual hostilities. They exist in many different forms, with varying degrees of realism. In
recent times, their scope has widened to include not only military but also political and social factors (for example,
the NationLab series of strategic exercises in Latin America.[56] Whilst many governments make use of simulation,
both individually and collaboratively, little is known about the model's specifics outside professional circles.
Simulation 117

Robotics simulators
A robotics simulator is used to create embedded applications for a specific (or not) robot without being dependent on
the 'real' robot. In some cases, these applications can be transferred to the real robot (or rebuilt) without
modifications. Robotics simulators allow reproducing situations that cannot be 'created' in the real world because of
cost, time, or the 'uniqueness' of a resource. A simulator also allows fast robot prototyping. Many robot simulators
feature physics engines to simulate a robot's dynamics.

Biomechanics simulators
A biomechanics simulator is used to analyze walking dynamics, study sports performance, simulate surgical
procedures, analyze joint loads, design medical devices, and animate human and animal movement.
A neuromechanical simulator that combines biomechanical and biologically realistic neural network simulation. It
allows the user to test hypotheses on the neural basis of behavior in a physically accurate 3-D virtual environment.

Sales process simulators

Simulations are useful in modeling the flow of transactions through business processes, such as in the field of sales
process engineering, to study and improve the flow of customer orders through various stages of completion (say,
from an initial proposal for providing goods/services through order acceptance and installation). Such simulations
can help predict the impact of how improvements in methods might impact variability, cost, labor time, and the
quantity of transactions at various stages in the process. A full-featured computerized process simulator can be used
to depict such models, as can simpler educational demonstrations using spreadsheet software, pennies being
transferred between cups based on the roll of a die, or dipping into a tub of colored beads with a scoop.[57]

Simulation and games

Strategy games — both traditional and modern — may be viewed as simulations of abstracted decision-making for
the purpose of training military and political leaders (see History of Go for an example of such a tradition, or
Kriegsspiel for a more recent example).
Many other video games are simulators of some kind. Such games can simulate various aspects of reality, from
business, to government, to construction, to piloting vehicles (see above).

Historical usage
Historically, the word had negative connotations:
…for Distinction Sake, a Deceiving by Words, is commonly called a Lye, and a Deceiving by Actions,
Gestures, or Behavior, is called Simulation…
—Robert South, South, 1697, p.525
However, the connection between simulation and dissembling later faded out and is now only of linguistic
Simulation 118

[1] In the words of the Simulation article (http:/ / www. modelbenders. com/ encyclopedia/ encyclopedia. html) in Encyclopedia of Computer
Science, "designing a model of a real or imagined system and conducting experiments with that model".
[2] Sokolowski, J.A., Banks, C.M. (2009). Principles of Modeling and Simulation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 6. ISBN 0470289430.
[3] For example in computer graphics (http:/ / www. siggraph. org/ s2007/ attendees/ papers/ 12. html) (http:/ / wiki. blender. org/ index. php/
BSoD/ Physical_Simulation).
[4] Thales defines synthetic environment as "the counterpart to simulated models of sensors, platforms and other active objects" for "the
simulation of the external factors that affect them" (http:/ / www. thalesresearch. com/ Default. aspx?tabid=181) while other vendors use the
term for more visual, virtual reality-style simulators (http:/ / www. cae. com/ www2004/ Products_and_Services/
Civil_Simulation_and_Training/ Simulation_Equipment/ Visual_Solutions/ Synthetic_Environments/ index. shtml).
[5] For a popular research project in the field of biochemistry where "computer simulation is particularly well suited to address these questions"
(http:/ / folding. stanford. edu/ Pande/ Main), see Folding@Home.
[6] For an academic take on a training simulator, see e.g. Towards Building an Interactive, Scenario-based Training Simulator (http:/ / gel. msu.
edu/ magerko/ papers/ 11TH-CGF-058. pdf), for medical application Medical Simulation Training Benefits (http:/ / www. immersion. com/
medical/ benefits1. php) as presented by a simulator vendor and for military practice A civilian's guide to US defense and security assistance
to Latin America and the Caribbean (http:/ / ciponline. org/ facts/ exe. htm) published by Center for International Policy.
[7] http:/ / www. simschool. org
[8] Classification used by the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office.
[9] "High Versus Low Fidelity Simulations: Does the Type of Format Affect Candidates' Performance or Perceptions?" (http:/ / www. ipmaac.
org/ conf/ 03/ havighurst. pdf)
[10] For example All India management association (http:/ / www. aima-ind. org/ ) maintains that playing to win, participants "imbibe new forms
of competitive behavior that are ideal for today's highly chaotic business conditions" (http:/ / www. aima-ind. org/ management_games. asp)
and IBM claims that "the skills honed playing massive multiplayer dragon-slaying games like World of Warcraft can be useful when
managing modern multinationals".
[11] "Reacting to the Past Home Page" (http:/ / www. barnard. columbia. edu/ reacting/ )
[12] "Carana," at 'PaxSims' blog, 27 January 2009 (http:/ / paxsims. wordpress. com/ 2009/ 01/ 27/ carana/ )
[13] Sherman, W.R., Craig, A.B. (2003). Understanding Virtual Reality. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 1558603530.
[14] Leeb, R., Lee, F., Keinrath, C., Schere, R., Bischof, H., Pfurtscheller, G. (2007). "Brain-Computer Communication: Motivation, Aim, and
Impact of Exploring a Virtual Apartment". IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 15 (4): 473–481.
[15] Zahraee, A.H., Szewczyk, J., Paik, J.K., Guillaume, M. (2010). Robotic hand-held surgical device: evaluation of end-effector’s kinematics
and development of proof-of-concept prototypes. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and
Computer Assisted Intervention, Beijing, China.
[16] Ahmed K, Keeling AN, Fakhry M, Ashrafian H, Aggarwal R, Naughton PA, Darzi A, Cheshire N, et al. (January 2010). "Role of Virtual
Reality Simulation in Teaching and Assessing Technical Skills in Endovascular Intervention". J Vasc Interv Radiol 21.
[17] Narayan, Roger; Kumta, Prashant; Sfeir, Charles; Lee, Dong-Hyun; Choi, Daiwon; Olton, Dana (October 2004). "Nanostructured ceramics
in medical devices: Applications and prospects" (http:/ / www. ingentaconnect. com/ content/ tms/ jom/ 2004/ 00000056/ 00000010/
art00011). JOM 56 (10): 38–43. doi:10.1007/s11837-004-0289-x. PMID 11196953. .
[18] Couvreur P, Vauthier C (July 2006). "Nanotechnology: intelligent design to treat complex disease". Pharm. Res. 23 (7): 1417–50.
doi:10.1007/s11095-006-0284-8. PMID 16779701.
[19] Hede S, Huilgol N (2006). ""Nano": the new nemesis of cancer" (http:/ / www. cancerjournal. net/ article.
asp?issn=0973-1482;year=2006;volume=2;issue=4;spage=186;epage=195;aulast=Hede). J Cancer Res Ther 2 (4): 186–95.
doi:10.4103/0973-1482.29829. PMID 17998702. .
[20] Leary SP, Liu CY, Apuzzo ML (June 2006). "Toward the emergence of nanoneurosurgery: part III—nanomedicine: targeted nanotherapy,
nanosurgery, and progress toward the realization of nanoneurosurgery" (http:/ / meta. wkhealth. com/ pt/ pt-core/ template-journal/
lwwgateway/ media/ landingpage. htm?issn=0148-396X& volume=58& issue=6& spage=1009). Neurosurgery 58 (6): 1009–26; discussion
1009–26. doi:10.1227/01.NEU.0000217016.79256.16. PMID 16723880. .
[21] http:/ / vam. anest. ufl. edu/ wip. html
[22] Nishisaki A, Keren R, Nadkarni V (June 2007). "Does simulation improve patient safety? Self-efficacy, competence, operational
performance, and patient safety" (http:/ / linkinghub. elsevier. com/ retrieve/ pii/ S1932-2275(07)00025-0). Anesthesiol Clin 25 (2): 225–36.
doi:10.1016/j.anclin.2007.03.009. PMID 17574187. .
[23] Meller, G. (1997). "A Typology of Simulators for Medical Education" (http:/ / www. medsim. com/ profile/ article1. html). Journal of
Digital Imaging. .
[24] Murphy D, Challacombe B, Nedas T, Elhage O, Althoefer K, Seneviratne L, Dasgupta P. (May 2007). "[Equipment and technology in
robotics]" (in Spanish; Castilian). Arch. Esp. Urol. 60 (4): 349–55. PMID 17626526.
[25] "In Cybertherapy, Avatars Assist With Healing" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2010/ 11/ 23/ science/ 23avatar. html?_r=1& ref=science).
New York Times. 2010-11-22. . Retrieved 2010-11-23.
Simulation 119

[26] Dagger, Jacob (May–June 2008). Update: "The New Game Theory" (http:/ / www. dukemagazine. duke. edu/ dukemag/ issues/ 050608/
depupd. html). 94. Duke Magazine. . Retrieved 2011-02-08.
[27] Steinberg, Scott (2011-01-31). "How video games can make you smarter" (http:/ / articles. cnn. com/ 2011-01-31/ tech/ video. games.
smarter. steinberg_1_video-games-interactive-simulations-digital-world?_s=PM:TECH). Cable News Network (CNN Tech). . Retrieved
[28] Vlaovic PD, Sargent ER, Boker JR, et al. (2008). "Immediate impact of an intensive one-week laparoscopy training program on
laparoscopic skills among postgraduate urologists" (http:/ / openurl. ingenta. com/ content/ nlm?genre=article& issn=1086-8089&
volume=12& issue=1& spage=1& aulast=Vlaovic). JSLS 12 (1): 1–8. PMID 18402731. .
[29] Leung J, Foster E (April 2008). "How do we ensure that trainees learn to perform biliary sphincterotomy safely, appropriately, and
effectively?" (http:/ / www. current-reports. com/ article_frame. cfm?PubID=GR10-2-2-03& Type=Abstract). Curr Gastroenterol Rep 10 (2):
163–8. doi:10.1007/s11894-008-0038-3. PMID 18462603. .
[30] http:/ / www. pong-story. com/ intro. htm
[31] http:/ / homepages. vvm. com/ ~jhunt/ compupedia/ History%20of%20Computers/ history_of_computers_1980. htm
[32] "Video Game Console Timeline - Video Game History - Xbox 360 - TIME Magazine" (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ covers/ 1101050523/
console_timeline/ ). Time. 2005-05-23. . Retrieved 2010-05-23.
[33] http:/ / design. osu. edu/ carlson/ history/ tron. html
[34] http:/ / www. beanblossom. in. us/ larryy/ cgi. html
[35] http:/ / www. starksravings. com/ linktrainer/ linktrainer. htm
[36] http:/ / www. trudang. com/ simulatr/ simulatr. html
[37] http:/ / open-site. org/ Games/ Video_Games/ Simulation
[38] http:/ / www. ibisworld. com/ industry/ retail. aspx?indid=2003& chid=1
[39] http:/ / www. sciencedaily. com/ articles/ c/ computer-generated_imagery. htm
[40] http:/ / www. awn. com/ mag/ issue4. 02/ 4. 02pages/ kenyonspiderman. php3
[41] Benedettini, O., Tjahjono, B. (2008). "Towards an improved tool to facilitate simulation modeling of complex manufacturing systems".
International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 43 (1/2): 191–9. doi:10.1007/s00170-008-1686-z.
[42] Banks, J., Carson J., Nelson B.L., Nicol, D. (2005). Discrete-event system simulation (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice
Hall. ISBN 0130887021.
[43] CADE- http:/ / www. uic. edu/ sph/ cade/
[44] News-Medical.Net article- http:/ / www. news-medical. net/ news/ 2005/ 10/ 27/ 14106. aspx
[45] http:/ / www. straylightmm. com/
[46] Federal Standard 1037C
[47] D. Passeri et al. (May 2009). "Analysis of 3D stacked fully functional CMOS Active Pixel Sensor detectors" (http:/ / meroli. web. cern. ch/
meroli/ Analysisof3Dstacked. html). Journal of Instrumentation 4 (4): 4009. doi:10.1088/1748-0221/4/04/P04009. .
[48] Leinonen (ed.): Simulation studies of liquidity needs, risks and efficiency in payment networks (Bank of Finland Studies E:39/2007)
Simulation publications (http:/ / pss. bof. fi/ Pages/ Publications. aspx)
[49] Neville Arjani: Examining the Trade-Off between Settlement Delay and Intraday Liquidity in Canada's LVTS: A Simulation Approach
(Working Paper 2006-20, Bank of Canada) Simulation publications (http:/ / pss. bof. fi/ Pages/ Publications. aspx)
[50] Johnson, K. - McAndrews, J. - Soramäki, K. 'Economizing on Liquidity with Deferred Settlement Mechanisms' (Reserve Bank of New York
Economic Policy Review, December 2004)
[51] H. Leinonen (ed.): Simulation analyses and stress testing of payment networks (Bank of Finland Studies E:42/2009) Simulation publications
(http:/ / pss. bof. fi/ Pages/ Publications. aspx)
[52] Sikora, E.A. (2010, July 27). Space Shuttle Main Propulsion System expert, John F. Kennedy Space Center. Interview.
[53] Shuttle Final Countdown Phase Simulation. National Aeronautics and Space Administration KSC Document # RTOMI S0044, Revision
AF05, 2009.
[54] Shuttle Ground Operations Simulator (SGOS) Summary Description Manual. National Aeronautics and Space Administration KSC
Document # KSC-LPS-SGOS-1000, Revision 3 CHG-A, 1995.
[55] Math Model Main Propulsion System (MPS) Requirements Document, National Aeronautics and Space Administration KSC Document #
KSCL-1100-0522, Revision 9, June 2009.
[56] See, for example, United States Joint Forces Command "Multinational Experiment 4" (http:/ / www. jfcom. mil/ about/ experiments/ mne4.
[57] Paul H. Selden (1997). Sales Process Engineering: A Personal Workshop. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press. ISBN 0873894189.
[58] South, in the passage quoted, was speaking of the differences between a falsehood and an honestly mistaken statement; the difference being
that in order for the statement to be a lie the truth must be known, and the opposite of the truth must have been knowingly uttered. And, from
this, to the extent to which a lie involves deceptive words, a simulation involves deceptive actions, deceptive gestures, or deceptive behavior.
Thus, it would seem, if a simulation is false, then the truth must be known (in order for something other than the truth to be presented in its
stead); and, for the simulation to simulate. Because, otherwise, one would not know what to offer up in simulation. Bacon’s essay Of
Simulation and Dissimulation (http:/ / www. authorama. com/ essays-of-francis-bacon-7. html) expresses somewhat similar views; it is also
significant that Samuel Johnson thought so highly of South's definition, that he used it in the entry for simulation in his Dictionary of the
English Language.
Simulation 120

Further reading
• C. Aldrich (2003). Learning by Doing : A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy
in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences. San Francisco: Pfeifer — John Wiley & Sons.
ISBN 0787977357.
• C. Aldrich (2004). Simulations and the future of learning: an innovative (and perhaps revolutionary) approach to
e-learning. San Francisco: Pfeifer — John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0787969621.
• Steve Cohen (2006). Virtual Decisions. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0805849947.
• R. Frigg, S. Hartmann (2007). "Models in Science" (
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
• S. Hartmann (1996). "The World as a Process: Simulations in the Natural and Social Sciences" (http:// In R. Hegselmann, et al.. Modelling and Simulation in the Social
Sciences from the Philosophy of Science Point of View. Theory and Decision Library. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
pp. 77–100.
• J.P. Hertel (2002). Using Simulations to Promote Learning in Higher Education. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus.
ISBN 1579220525.
• P. Humphreys (2004). Extending Ourselves: Computational Science, Empiricism, and Scientific Method. Oxford:
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195158709.
• F. Percival, S. Lodge, D. Saunders (1993). The Simulation and Gaming Yearbook: Developing Transferable Skills
in Education and Training. London: Kogan Page.
• D. Saunders, ed (2000). The International Simulation and Gaming Research Yearbook. London: Kogan Page.
• Roger D. Smith: Simulation Article (,
Encyclopedia of Computer Science, Nature Publishing Group, ISBN 0-333-77879-0.
• Roger D. Smith: "Simulation: The Engine Behind the Virtual World" (
Bookshop/techpapers.html), eMatter, December, 1999.
• R. South (1688). "A Sermon Delivered at Christ-Church, Oxon., Before the University, Octob. 14. 1688: Prov.
XII.22 Lying Lips are abomination to the Lord", pp. 519–657 in South, R., Twelve Sermons Preached Upon
Several Occasions (Second Edition), Volume I, Printed by S.D. for Thomas Bennet, (London), 1697.
• Eric Winsberg (1999) Sanctioning Models: The epistemology of simulation (
SiC_Eric_Winsberg.pdf), in Sismondo, Sergio and Snait Gissis (eds.) (1999), Modeling and Simulation. Special
Issue of Science in Context 12.
• Eric Winsberg (2001). "Simulations, Models and Theories: Complex Physical Systems and their
Representations". Philosophy of Science 68: 442–454.
• Eric Winsberg (2003). "Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World" (
~ewinsb/methodology.pdf) (PDF). Philosophy of Science 70: 105–125. doi:10.1086/367872.
• Joseph Wolfe, David Crookall (1998). "Developing a scientific knowledge of simulation/gaming" (http://sag. Simulation & Gaming: an International Journal of Theory, Design and
Research 29 (1): 7–19.
• Ellen K. Levy (2004). "Synthetic Lighting: Complex Simulations of Nature". Photography Quarterly (88): 5–9.

External links
• Bibliographies containing more references ( to be
found on the website of the journal Simulation & Gaming (
Nuclear weapon 121

Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device
that derives its destructive force from
nuclear reactions, either fission or a
combination of fission and fusion. Both
reactions release vast quantities of energy
from relatively small amounts of matter.
The first fission ("atomic") bomb test
released the same amount of energy as
approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. The first
thermonuclear ("hydrogen") bomb test
released the same amount of energy as
approximately 10,000,000 tons of TNT.[1]

A modern thermonuclear weapon weighing

little more than 2400 pounds (1100 kg) can
produce an explosive force comparable to
the detonation of more than 1.2 million tons
(1.1 million metric tons) of TNT.[2] Thus,
even a small nuclear device no larger than
traditional bombs can devastate an entire
city by blast, fire and radiation. Nuclear
weapons are considered weapons of mass
destruction, and their use and control has
The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945
been a major focus of international relations rose some 18 kilometers (11 miles) above the bomb's hypocenter.
policy since their debut.

In the history of warfare, only two nuclear weapons have been detonated offensively, both near the end of World
War II. The first was detonated on the morning of 6 August 1945, when the United States dropped a uranium
gun-type device code-named "Little Boy" on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The second was detonated three days
later when the United States dropped a plutonium implosion-type device code-named "Fat Man" on the city of
Nagasaki, Japan. These two bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 Japanese people—mostly
civilians—from acute injuries sustained from the explosion.[3] The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender, and the
U.S.'s ethical justification for them, remain the subject of scholarly and popular debate.

Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, nuclear weapons have been detonated on over two thousand occasions
for testing purposes and demonstrations. Only a few nations possess such weapons or are suspected of seeking them.
The only countries known to have detonated nuclear weapons—and that acknowledge possessing such
weapons—are (chronologically) the United States, the Soviet Union (succeeded as a nuclear power by Russia), the
United Kingdom, France, the People's Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel is also widely
believed to possess nuclear weapons, though it does not acknowledge having them.[4] [5]
Nuclear weapon 122

Types of nuclear weapons

There are two basic types of nuclear weapon. The first
type produces its explosive energy through nuclear
fission reactions alone. Such fission weapons are
commonly referred to as atomic bombs or atom
bombs (abbreviated as A-bombs), though their energy
comes specifically from the nucleus of the atom.

In fission weapons, a mass of fissile material (enriched

uranium or plutonium) is assembled into a supercritical
mass—the amount of material needed to start an
exponentially growing nuclear chain reaction—either
by shooting one piece of sub-critical material into
another (the "gun" method) or by compressing a
sub-critical sphere of material using chemical
explosives to many times its original density (the
"implosion" method). The latter approach is considered
more sophisticated than the former and only the latter
approach can be used if the fissile material is
The two basic fission weapon designs
A major challenge in all nuclear weapon designs is to
ensure that a significant fraction of the fuel is consumed before the weapon destroys itself. The amount of energy
released by fission bombs can range from the equivalent of less than a ton of TNT upwards of 500,000 tons (500
kilotons) of TNT.[6]
The second basic type of nuclear weapon produces a large amount of its energy through nuclear fusion reactions.
Such fusion weapons are generally referred to as thermonuclear weapons or more colloquially as hydrogen bombs
(abbreviated as H-bombs), as they rely on fusion reactions between isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium).
However, all such weapons derive a significant portion, and sometimes a majority, of their energy from fission
(including fission induced by neutrons from fusion reactions). Unlike fission weapons, there are no inherent limits on
the energy released by thermonuclear weapons. Only six countries—United States, Russia, United Kingdom,
People's Republic of China, France and India—have conducted thermonuclear weapon tests. (Whether India has
detonated a "true", multi-staged thermonuclear weapon is controversial.)[7]
Nuclear weapon 123

Thermonuclear bombs work by using the energy of a fission bomb to

compress and heat fusion fuel. In the Teller-Ulam design, which
accounts for all multi-megaton yield hydrogen bombs, this is
accomplished by placing a fission bomb and fusion fuel (tritium,
deuterium, or lithium deuteride) in proximity within a special,
radiation-reflecting container. When the fission bomb is detonated,
gamma and X-rays emitted first compress the fusion fuel, then heat it to
thermonuclear temperatures. The ensuing fusion reaction creates
enormous numbers of high-speed neutrons, which can then induce
fission in materials not normally prone to it, such as depleted uranium.
Each of these components is known as a "stage", with the fission bomb
as the "primary" and the fusion capsule as the "secondary". In large
hydrogen bombs, about half of the yield, and much of the resulting
nuclear fallout, comes from the final fissioning of depleted uranium.[6]

By chaining together numerous stages with increasing amounts of

fusion fuel, thermonuclear weapons can be made to an almost arbitrary
yield; the largest ever detonated (the Tsar Bomba of the USSR) released
an energy equivalent of over 50 million tons (50 megatons) of TNT.
Most thermonuclear weapons are considerably smaller than this, due to
practical constraints arising from the space and weight requirements of The basics of the Teller–Ulam design for a
hydrogen bomb: a fission bomb uses radiation
missile warheads.[8]
to compress and heat a separate section of
There are other types of nuclear weapons as well. For example, a fusion fuel.

boosted fission weapon is a fission bomb which increases its explosive

yield through a small amount of fusion reactions, but it is not a fusion bomb. In the boosted bomb, the neutrons
produced by the fusion reactions serve primarily to increase the efficiency of the fission bomb. Some weapons are
designed for special purposes; a neutron bomb is a thermonuclear weapon that yields a relatively small explosion but
a relatively large amount of neutron radiation; such a device could theoretically be used to cause massive casualties
while leaving infrastructure mostly intact and creating a minimal amount of fallout.

The detonation of any nuclear weapon is accompanied by a blast of neutron radiation. Surrounding a nuclear weapon
with suitable materials (such as cobalt or gold) creates a weapon known as a salted bomb. This device can produce
exceptionally large quantities of radioactive contamination.
Most variation in nuclear weapon design is for the purpose of achieving different yields for different situations, and
in manipulating design elements to attempt to minimize weapon size.[6]
Nuclear weapon 124

Weapons delivery
Nuclear weapons delivery—the technology and systems used to bring a
nuclear weapon to its target—is an important aspect of nuclear
weapons relating both to nuclear weapon design and nuclear strategy.
Additionally, development and maintenance of delivery options is
among the most resource-intensive aspects of a nuclear weapons
program: according to one estimate, deployment costs accounted for
57% of the total financial resources spent by the United States in
relation to nuclear weapons since 1940.[9]
The first nuclear weapons were gravity bombs,
Historically the first method of delivery, and the method used in the such as this "Fat Man" weapon dropped on
two nuclear weapons actually used in warfare, was as a gravity bomb, Nagasaki, Japan. They were very large and could
only be delivered by heavy bomber aircraft
dropped from bomber aircraft. This method is usually the first
developed by countries as it does not place many restrictions on the
size of the weapon and weapon miniaturization is something which requires considerable weapons design
knowledge. It does, however, limit the range of attack, the response time to an impending attack, and the number of
weapons which can be fielded at any given time.

With the advent of miniaturization, nuclear bombs can be delivered by both strategic bombers and tactical
fighter-bombers, allowing an air force to use its current fleet with little or no modification. This method may still be
considered the primary means of nuclear weapons delivery; the majority of U.S. nuclear warheads, for example, are
free-fall gravity bombs, namely the B61.[6]
More preferable from a strategic point of view is a nuclear weapon
mounted onto a missile, which can use a ballistic trajectory to deliver
the warhead over the horizon. While even short range missiles allow
for a faster and less vulnerable attack, the development of long-range
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched
ballistic missiles (SLBMs) has given some nations the ability to
plausibly deliver missiles anywhere on the globe with a high likelihood
of success.

More advanced systems, such as multiple independently targetable

reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allow multiple warheads to be launched at
different targets from one missile, reducing the chance of a successful
missile defense. Today, missiles are most common among systems
designed for delivery of nuclear weapons. Making a warhead small
enough to fit onto a missile, though, can be a difficult task.[6] A Trident II SLBM launched from a Royal Navy
Vanguard class ballistic missile submarine.
Tactical weapons have involved the most variety of delivery types,
including not only gravity bombs and missiles but also artillery shells,
land mines, and nuclear depth charges and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare. An atomic mortar was also tested at
one time by the United States. Small, two-man portable tactical weapons (somewhat misleadingly referred to as
suitcase bombs), such as the Special Atomic Demolition Munition, have been developed, although the difficulty of
combining sufficient yield with portability limits their military utility.[6]
Nuclear weapon 125

Nuclear strategy
Nuclear warfare strategy is a set of policies that deal with
preventing or fighting a nuclear war. The policy of trying to
prevent an attack by a nuclear weapon from another country by
threatening nuclear retaliation is known as the strategy of nuclear
deterrence. The goal in deterrence is to always maintain a second
strike capability (the ability of a country to respond to a nuclear
attack with one of its own) and potentially to strive for first strike
status (the ability to completely destroy an enemy's nuclear forces
before they could retaliate). During the Cold War, policy and
military theorists in nuclear-enabled countries worked out models
of what sorts of policies could prevent one from ever being
The United States' Peacekeeper missile was a MIRVed
attacked by a nuclear weapon. delivery system. Each missile could contain up to ten
nuclear warheads (shown in red), each of which could
Different forms of nuclear weapons delivery (see above) allow for
be aimed at a different target. These were developed to
different types of nuclear strategies. The goals of any strategy are make missile defense very difficult for an enemy
generally to make it difficult for an enemy to launch a pre-emptive country.
strike against the weapon system and difficult to defend against
the delivery of the weapon during a potential conflict. Sometimes this has meant keeping the weapon locations
hidden, such as deploying them on submarines or rail cars whose locations are very hard for an enemy to track and
other times this means protecting them by burying them in hardened bunkers.

Other components of nuclear strategies have included using missile defense (to destroy the missiles before they land)
or implementation of civil defense measures (using early-warning systems to evacuate citizens to safe areas before
an attack).
Note that weapons which are designed to threaten large populations or to generally deter attacks are known as
strategic weapons. Weapons which are designed to actually be used on a battlefield in military situations are known
as tactical weapons.
There are critics of the very idea of nuclear strategy for waging nuclear war who have suggested that a nuclear war
between two nuclear powers would result in mutual annihilation. From this point of view, the significance of nuclear
weapons is purely to deter war because any nuclear war would immediately escalate out of mutual distrust and fear,
resulting in mutually assured destruction. This threat of national, if not global, destruction has been a strong
motivation for anti-nuclear weapons activism.
Critics from the peace movement and within the military establishment have questioned the usefulness of such
weapons in the current military climate. The use of (or threat of use of) such weapons would generally be contrary to
the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, according to an advisory opinion issued by the
International Court of Justice in 1996.
Perhaps the most controversial idea in nuclear strategy is that nuclear proliferation would be desirable. This view
argues that, unlike conventional weapons, nuclear weapons successfully deter all-out war between states, and they
are said to have done this during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Political scientist Kenneth
Waltz is the most prominent advocate of this argument.[10] [11]
The threat of potentially suicidal terrorists possessing nuclear weapons (a form of nuclear terrorism) complicates the
decision process. The prospect of mutually assured destruction may not deter an enemy who expects to die in the
confrontation. Further, if the initial act is from a rogue group instead of a sovereign nation, there is no fixed nation or
fixed military targets to retaliate against. It has been argued, especially after the September 11, 2001 attacks, that this
complication is the sign of the next age of nuclear strategy, distinct from the relative stability of the Cold War.[12]
Nuclear weapon 126

Governance, control, and law

Because of the immense military power they can confer, the political
control of nuclear weapons has been a key issue for as long as they have
existed; in most countries the use of nuclear force can only be
authorized by the head of government or head of state.[13]
In the late 1940s, lack of mutual trust was preventing the United States
and the Soviet Union from making ground towards international arms
control agreements, but by the 1960s steps were being taken to limit
The International Atomic Energy Agency was both the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries and the
created in 1957 in order to encourage the environmental effects of nuclear testing. The Partial Test Ban Treaty
peaceful development of nuclear technology (1963) restricted all nuclear testing to underground nuclear testing, to
while providing international safeguards against
prevent contamination from nuclear fallout, while the Nuclear
nuclear proliferation.
Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) attempted to place restrictions on the
types of activities which signatories could participate in, with the goal
of allowing the transference of non-military nuclear technology to member countries without fear of proliferation.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established under the mandate of the United Nations
in order to encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international
safeguards against its misuse, and facilitate the application of safety measures in its use. In 1996, many nations
signed and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which prohibits all testing of nuclear weapons, which would
impose a significant hindrance to their development by any complying country.[14]
Additional treaties and agreements have governed nuclear weapons stockpiles between the countries with the two
largest stockpiles, the United States and the Soviet Union, and later between the United States and Russia. These
include treaties such as SALT II (never ratified), START I (expired), INF, START II (never ratified), SORT, and
New START (pending ratification), as well as non-binding agreements such as SALT I and the Presidential Nuclear
Initiatives[15] of 1991. Even when they did not enter into force, these agreements helped limit and later reduce the
numbers and types of nuclear weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia.
Nuclear weapons have also been opposed by agreements between countries. Many nations have been declared
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, areas where nuclear weapons production and deployment are prohibited, through the
use of treaties. The Treaty of Tlatelolco (1967) prohibited any production or deployment of nuclear weapons in Latin
America and the Caribbean, and the Treaty of Pelindaba (1964) prohibits nuclear weapons in many African
countries. As recently as 2006 a Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone was established amongst the former
Soviet republics of Central Asia prohibiting nuclear weapons.
In the middle of 1996, the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations, issued an Advisory
Opinion concerned with the "Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons". The court ruled that the use or
threat of use of nuclear weapons would violate various articles of international law, including the Geneva
Conventions, the Hague Conventions, the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In view of
the unique, destructive characteristics of nuclear weapons, the International Committee of the Red Cross calls on
States to ensure that these weapons are never used, irrespective of whether they consider them to be lawful or not.[16]
Additionally, there have been other, specific actions meant to discourage countries from developing nuclear arms. In
the wake of the tests by India and Pakistan in 1998, economic sanctions were (temporarily) levied against both
countries, though neither were signatories with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One of the stated casus belli
for the initiation of the 2003 Iraq War was an accusation by the United States that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear
arms (though this was soon discovered not to be the case as the program had been discontinued). In 1981, Israel had
bombed a nuclear reactor being constructed in Osirak, Iraq, in what it called an attempt to halt Iraq's previous nuclear
arms ambitions.
Nuclear weapon 127

Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a
nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated.
Beginning with the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty and continuing through the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
there have been many treaties to limit or reduce nuclear weapons testing and stockpiles. The 1968 Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty has as one of its explicit conditions that all signatories must "pursue negotiations in good
faith" towards the long-term goal of "complete disarmament". However, no nuclear state has treated that aspect of
the agreement as having binding force.[17]
Only one country—South Africa—has ever fully renounced nuclear weapons they had independently developed. A
number of former Soviet republics—Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—returned Soviet nuclear arms stationed in
their countries to Russia after the collapse of the USSR.
Proponents of nuclear disarmament say that it would lessen the probability of nuclear war occurring, especially
accidentally. Critics of nuclear disarmament say that it would undermine deterrence and could lead to increased
global instability. Various American government officials, who were in office during the Cold War period, have
recently been advocating the elimination of nuclear weapons. These officials include Henry Kissinger, George
Shultz, Sam Nunn, and William Perry. In January 2010, Lawrence M. Krauss stated that "no issue carries more
importance to the long-term health and security of humanity than the effort to reduce, and perhaps one day, rid the
world of nuclear weapons".[18]
In the years after the end of the Cold War, there have been numerous campaigns to urge the abolition of nuclear
weapons, such as that organized by the Global Zero movement, and the goal of a "world without nuclear weapons"
was advocated by United States President Barack Obama in an April 2009 speech in Prague.[19] A CNN poll from
April 2010 indicated that the American public was nearly evenly split on the issue.[20]

Even before the first nuclear weapons had been developed, scientists
involved with the Manhattan Project were divided over the use of the
weapon. The role of the two atomic bombings of the country in Japan's
surrender and the U.S.'s ethical justification for them has been the
subject of scholarly and popular debate for decades. The question of
whether nations should have nuclear weapons, or test them, has been
continually and nearly universally controversial. Demonstration against nuclear testing in Lyon,
France, in the 1980s.
Radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing was first drawn to
public attention in 1954 when the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test at the Pacific Proving Grounds contaminated the
crew and catch of the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon.[21] One of the fishermen died in Japan seven months
later, and the fear of contaminated tuna led to a temporary boycotting of the popular staple in Japan. The incident
caused widespread concern around the world, especially regarding the effects of nuclear fallout and atmospheric
nuclear testing, and "provided a decisive impetus for the emergence of the anti-nuclear weapons movement in many

Peace movements emerged in Japan and in 1954 they converged to form a unified "Japanese Council Against
Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs". Japanese opposition to nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific Ocean was widespread,
and "an estimated 35 million signatures were collected on petitions calling for bans on nuclear weapons".[22]
In the United Kingdom, the first Aldermaston March organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament took
place at Easter 1958, when several thousand people marched for four days from Trafalgar Square, London, to the
Atomic Weapons Research Establishment close to Aldermaston in Berkshire, England, to demonstrate their
Nuclear weapon 128

opposition to nuclear weapons.[23] [24] The Aldermaston marches continued into the late 1960s when tens of
thousands of people took part in the four-day marches.[22]
In 1959, a letter in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was the start of a successful campaign to stop the Atomic Energy
Commission dumping radioactive waste in the sea 19 kilometres from Boston.[25] In 1962, Linus Pauling won the
Nobel Peace Prize for his work to stop the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, and the "Ban the Bomb"
movement spread.[26]
In 1963, many countries ratified the Partial Test Ban Treaty prohibiting atmospheric nuclear testing. Radioactive
fallout became less of an issue and the anti-nuclear weapons movement went into decline for some years.[21] [27] A
resurgence of interest occurred amid European and American fears of nuclear war in the 1980s.[28]

Non-weapons uses
Apart from their use as weapons, nuclear explosives have been tested
and used for various non-military uses, and proposed, but not used for
large-scale earth moving. When long term health and clean-up costs
were included, there was no economic advantage over conventional
Synthetic elements, such as einsteinium and fermium, created by
neutron bombardment of uranium and plutonium during thermonuclear
explosions, were discovered in the aftermath of the first thermonuclear
bomb test. In 2008 the worldwide presence of new isotopes from
atmospheric testing beginning in the 1950s was developed into a The 1962 Sedan nuclear test formed a crater 100
m (330 ft) deep with a diameter of about 390 m
reliable way of detecting art forgeries, as all paintings created after that
(1,300 ft), as a means of investigating the
period may contain traces of cesium-137 and strontium-90, isotopes possibilities of using peaceful nuclear explosions
that did not exist in nature before 1945.[30] for large-scale earth moving.

Nuclear explosives have also been seriously studied as potential

propulsion mechanisms for space travel (see Project Orion).


[1] See Trinity (nuclear test) and Ivy Mike.
[2] Specifically the US B83 nuclear bomb, with a yield of up to 1.2 Megatons.
[3] "Frequently Asked Questions #1" (http:/ / www. rerf. or. jp/ general/ qa_e/ qa1. html). Radiation Effects Research Foundation. . Retrieved
Sept. 18, 2007. "total number of deaths is not known precisely ... acute (within two to four months) deaths ... Hiroshima ... 90,000-166,000 ...
Nagasaki ... 60,000-80,000"
[4] "Federation of American Scientists: Status of World Nuclear Forces" (http:/ / www. fas. org/ programs/ ssp/ nukes/ nuclearweapons/
nukestatus. html). . Retrieved 2010-01-12.
[5] "Nuclear Weapons – Israel" (http:/ / www. fas. org/ nuke/ guide/ israel/ nuke/ index. html). Jan 8, 2007. . Retrieved 2010-12-15.
[6] The best overall printed sources on nuclear weapons design are: Hansen, Chuck. U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History. San Antonio,
TX: Aerofax, 1988; and the more-updated Hansen, Chuck. Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945.
Sunnyvale, CA: Chukelea Publications, 1995.
[7] On India's alleged hydrogen bomb test, see Carey Sublette, What Are the Real Yields of India's Test? (http:/ / nuclearweaponarchive. org/
India/ IndiaRealYields. html).
[8] Sublette, Carey. "The Nuclear Weapon Archive" (http:/ / nuclearweaponarchive. org/ ). . Retrieved 2007-03-07.
[9] Stephen I. Schwartz, ed., Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940. Washington, D.C.: Brookings
Institution Press, 1998. See also Estimated Minimum Incurred Costs of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Programs, 1940–1996 (http:/ / www. brook.
edu/ fp/ projects/ nucwcost/ figure1. htm), an excerpt from the book.
Nuclear weapon 129

[10] Kenneth Waltz, "More May Be Better," in Scott Sagan and Kenneth Waltz, eds., The Spread of Nuclear Weapons (New York: Norton,
[11] Kenneth Waltz, "The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Better," (http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ waltz1. htm) Adelphi
Papers, no. 171 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1981).
[12] See, for example: Feldman, Noah. " Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2006/ 10/ 29/ magazine/
29islam. html)," New York Times Magazine (29 October 2006).
[13] In the United States, the President and the Secretary of Defense, acting as the National Command Authority, must jointly authorize the use
of nuclear weapons.
[14] Richelson, Jeffrey. Spying on the bomb: American nuclear intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea. New York: Norton,
[15] The Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs) on Tactical Nuclear Weapons At a Glance (http:/ / www. armscontrol. org/ factsheets/ pniglance),
Fact Sheet, Arms Control Association.
[16] Nuclear weapons and international humanitarian law (http:/ / www. icrc. org/ web/ eng/ siteeng0. nsf/ htmlall/ section_ihl_nuclear_weapons)
International Committee of the Red Cross
[17] Gusterson, Hugh, " Finding Article VI (http:/ / www. thebulletin. org/ web-edition/ columnists/ hugh-gusterson/ finding-article-vi)" Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists (8 January 2007).
[18] Lawrence M. Krauss. The Doomsday Clock Still Ticks, Scientific American, January 2010, p. 26.
[19] Obama Prague Speech On Nuclear Weapons (http:/ / www. huffingtonpost. com/ 2009/ 04/ 05/ obama-prague-speech-on-nu_n_183219.
[20] CNN Poll: Public divided on eliminating all nuclear weapons (http:/ / politicalticker. blogs. cnn. com/ 2010/ 04/ 12/
cnn-poll-public-divided-on-eliminating-all-nuclear-weapons/ )
[21] Wolfgang Rudig (1990). Anti-nuclear Movements: A World Survey of Opposition to Nuclear Energy, Longman, p. 54-55.
[22] Jim Falk (1982). Global Fission: The Battle Over Nuclear Power, Oxford University Press, pp. 96–97.
[23] A brief history of CND (http:/ / www. cnduk. org/ pages/ binfo/ hist. html)
[24] "Early defections in march to Aldermaston" (http:/ / century. guardian. co. uk/ 1950-1959/ Story/ 0,,105488,00. html). Guardian Unlimited.
1958-04-05. .
[25] Jim Falk (1982). Global Fission: The Battle Over Nuclear Power, Oxford University Press, p. 93.
[26] Jerry Brown and Rinaldo Brutoco (1997). Profiles in Power: The Anti-nuclear Movement and the Dawn of the Solar Age, Twayne
Publishers, pp. 191–192.
[27] Jim Falk (1982). Global Fission: The Battle Over Nuclear Power, Oxford University Press, p. 98.
[28] Spencer Weart, Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988), chapters 16 and 19.
[29] "Q&A with Scott Kirsch: Digging with bombs" (http:/ / www. usnews. com/ usnews/ news/ articles/ 060106/ 6kirsch. htm). .
Retrieved 2010-11-25.
[30] "Can past nuclear explosions help detect forgeries?" (http:/ / www. theartnewspaper. com/ article. asp?id=8529). .
Retrieved 2010-11-25.

• Bethe, Hans Albrecht. The Road from Los Alamos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. ISBN 0-671-74012-1
• DeVolpi, Alexander, Minkov, Vladimir E., Simonenko, Vadim A., and Stanford, George S. Nuclear
Shadowboxing: Contemporary Threats from Cold War Weaponry. Fidlar Doubleday, 2004 (Two volumes, both
accessible on Google Book Search) (Content of both volumes is now available in the 2009 trilogy by Alexander
DeVolpi: Nuclear Insights: The Cold War Legacy available on (
• Glasstone, Samuel and Dolan, Philip J. The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (third edition). (http://www.cddc.vt.
edu/host/atomic/nukeffct/) Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977. Available online (PDF).
• NATO Handbook on the Medical Aspects of NBC Defensive Operations (Part I – Nuclear) (
nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/dod/fm8-9/1toc.htm). Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force: Washington,
D.C., 1996
• Hansen, Chuck. U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History. Arlington, TX: Aerofax, 1988
• Hansen, Chuck. The Swords of Armageddon: U.S. nuclear weapons development since 1945. Sunnyvale, CA:
Chukelea Publications, 1995. (
• Holloway, David. Stalin and the Bomb. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-300-06056-4
• The Manhattan Engineer District, " The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (http://www." (1946)
Nuclear weapon 130

• Smyth, Henry DeWolf. Atomic Energy for Military Purposes. (

SmythReport/index.shtml) Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1945. (Smyth Report – the first
declassified report by the US government on nuclear weapons)
• The Effects of Nuclear War ( Office of Technology
Assessment, May 1979.
• Rhodes, Richard. Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. ISBN
• Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986 ISBN 0-684-81378-5
• Weart, Spencer R. Nuclear Fear: A History of Images. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.

External links
• Current World Nuclear Arsenals ( has estimates of
nuclear arsenals in the respective countries.

• Nuclear Weapon Archive from Carey Sublette ( is a reliable source of
information and has links to other sources and an informative FAQ (
• The Federation of American Scientists ( provide solid information on weapons of mass
destruction, including nuclear weapons ( and their effects (
• Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues (—contains many resources related to nuclear
weapons, including a historical and technical overview and searchable bibliography of web and print resources.
• Everything you wanted to know about nuclear technology (
nuclear)—Provided by New Scientist.
• Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding Nuclear weapons (
• Video archive of US, Soviet, UK, Chinese and French Nuclear Weapon Testing (
modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=39) at (
• The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (United States) (
)—located in Albuquerque, New Mexico; a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum

• The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb (
• Los Alamos National Laboratory: History ( (U.S. nuclear history)
• Race for the Superbomb (, PBS website on the history of the H-bomb
• U.S. nuclear test photographs ( from the DOE Nevada
Site Office
• U.S. nuclear test film clips ( from the DOE Nevada Site
• Recordings of recollections of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (
Pinch (plasma physics) 131

Pinch (plasma physics)

A pinch is the compression of an
electrically conducting filament by magnetic
forces. The conductor is usually a plasma,
but could also be a solid or liquid metal. In a
z-pinch, the current is axial (in the z
direction in a cylindrical coordinate system)
and the magnetic field azimuthal; in a
theta-pinch, the current is azimuthal (in the
theta direction in cylindrical coordinates)
and the magnetic field is axial. The
phenomenon may also be referred to as a
"Bennett pinch"[1] (after Willard Harrison
Bennett), "electromagnetic pinch",[2]
"magnetic pinch",[3] "pinch effect"[4] or
"plasma pinch".[5]

Pinches occur naturally in electrical

discharges such as lightning bolts,[6] the
aurora,[7] current sheets,[8] and solar
flares.[9] They are also produced in the
laboratory, primarily for research into fusion
power, but also by hobbyists (crushing
aluminum cans).
Lightning bolts illustrating electromagnetically pinched plasma

Z-pinches constrain the plasma filaments in an electrical discharge from a Tesla

coil. (Click to enlarge image for detail)
Pinch (plasma physics) 132

Pinch production and types

Pinches are created in the laboratory in equipment related to nuclear fusion, such as
the Z-pinch machine and high-energy physics, such as the dense plasma focus.
Pinches may also become unstable,[11] and generate radiation across the
electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves, x-rays[12] and gamma rays,[13] and
also neutrons[14] and synchrotron radiation.[15] Types of pinches, that may differ in
geometry and operating forces,[16] include the Cylindrical pinch, Inverse pinch,
Orthogonal pinch effect, Reversed field pinch, Sheet pinch, Screw pinch[17] (also
called stabilized z-pinch, or θ-z pinch),[18] Theta pinch (or thetatron[19] ), Toroidal
pinch, Ware pinch[20] and Z-pinch.

Pinches are used to generate X-rays, and the intense magnetic fields generated are
used in electromagnetic forming of metals (they have been demonstrated in crushing
aluminium soft drinks cans[21] ). They have applications to particle beams[22]
including particle beam weapons,[23] and astrophysics.[24]

A section of the crushed

lightning rod studied by
Pollock and Barraclough.
The rod is in the collection of
the School of Physics,
University of Sydney,
Pinch (plasma physics) 133

The first creation of a z-pinch in the laboratory may have occurred in 1790 in
Holland when Martinus van Marum created an explosion by discharging 100
Leyden jars into a wire.[26] The phenomenon was not understood until 1905, when
Pollock and Barraclough[10] investigated a compressed and distorted length of
copper tube from a lightning rod after it had been struck by lightning. Their
analysis showed that the forces due to the interaction of the large current flow with
its own magnetic field could have caused the compression and distortion.[27] A
similar, and apparently independent, theoretical analysis of the pinch effect in
liquid metals was published by Northrupp in 1907.[28] The next major
development was the publication in 1934 of an analysis of the radial pressure
The Institute of Electrical and balance in a static z-pinch by Bennett[29] (See the following section for details.)
Electronics Engineers emblem
shows the basic features of an Thereafter, the experimental and theoretical progress on pinches was driven by
azimuthal magnetic pinch. fusion power research. In their article on the "Wire-array z-pinch: a powerful x-ray
source for ICF", M G Haines et al., wrote on the "Early history of z-pinches":[30]
In 1946 Thompson and Blackman [43] submitted a patent for a fusion reactor based on a toroidal z-pinch
[43][31] with an additional vertical magnetic field. But in 1954 Kruskal and Schwarzschild [44][32] published
their theory of MHD instabilities in a z-pinch. In 1956 Kurchatov gave his famous Harwell lecture showing
nonthermal neutrons and the presence of m = 0 and m = 1 instabilities in a deuterium pinch [45].[33] In 1957
Pease [46][34] and Braginskii [47][35] independently predicted radiative collapse in a z-pinch under pressure
balance when in hydrogen the current exceeds 1.4 MA. (The viscous rather than resistive dissipation of
magnetic energy discussed above and in [32][36] would however prevent radiative collapse). Lastly, at Imperial
College in 1960, led by R Latham, the Plateau-Rayleigh instability was shown, and its growth rate measured in
a dynamic z-pinch [48].[37] "


One Dimensional configurations

There are three analytic one dimensional configurations generally studied in plasma physics. These are the θ-pinch,
the Z-pinch, and the Screw Pinch. All of the classic one dimensional pinches are cylindrically shaped. Symmetry is
assumed in the axial (z) direction and in the azimuthal (θ) direction. It is traditional to name a one-dimensional pinch
after the direction in which the current travels.
The θ-pinch
Pinch (plasma physics) 134

The θ-pinch has a magnetic field traveling in the z direction. Using

Ampère's law (discarding the displacement term)

A sketch of the θ-Pinch Equilibrium. The z directed

magnetic field (shown in purple) corresponds to a θ
directed plasma current (shown in yellow).

Since B is only a function of r we can simplify this to

So J points in the θ direction. θ-pinches tend to be resistant to plasma instabilities. This is due in part to the frozen in
flux theorem, which is beyond the scope of this article.
The Z-Pinch
The Z-Pinch has a magnetic field in the θ direction. Again, by
electrostatic Ampere's Law

A sketch of the z-Pinch Equilibrium. A -θ directed

magnetic field (shown in purple) corresponds to a z
directed plasma current (shown in yellow).

So J points in the z direction. Since particles in a plasma basically follow magnetic field lines, Z-pinches lead them
around in circles. Therefore, they tend to have excellent confinement properties.
Pinch (plasma physics) 135

The Screw Pinch The Screw pinch is an effort to combine the stability aspects of the θ-pinch and the confinement
aspects of the Z-pinch. Referring once again to Ampere's Law

But this time, the B field has a θ component and a z component

So this time J has a component in the z direction and a component in the θ direction.

Two Dimensional Equilibria

A common problem with one-dimensional equilibria
based machines is end losses. As mentioned above,
most of the motion of particles in a plasma is directed
along the magnetic field. With the θ-pinch and the
screw-pinch, this leads particles to the end of the
machine very quickly (as the particles are typically
moving quite fast). Additionally, the Z-pinch has major
stability problems. Though particles can be reflected to
some extent with magnetic mirrors, even these allow
many particles to pass. The most common method of
mitigating this effect is to bend the cylinder around into
a torus. Unfortunately this breaks θ symmetry, as paths
on the inner portion (inboard side) of the torus are A toroidal coordinate system in common use in plasma physics. The
red arrow indicates the poloidal direction (θ) and the blue arrow
shorter than similar paths on the outer portion
indicates the toroidal direction (φ)
(outboard side). Thus, a new theory is needed. This
gives rise to the famous Grad-Shafranov equation.

The one dimensional equilibria provide the inspiration for some of the toroidal configurations. An example of this is
the ZETA device at Culham England (which also operated as a Reversed Field Pinch). The most well recognized of
these devices is the toroidal version of the screw pinch, the Tokamak.
Numerical solutions to the Grad-Shafranov equation have also yielded some equilibria, most notably that of the
Reversed Field Pinch.
Pinch (plasma physics) 136

Three Dimensional Equilibria

There does not exist a coherent analytical theory for three-dimensional equilibria. The general approach to finding
three dimensional equilibria is to solve the vacuum ideal MHD equations. Numerical solutions have yielded designs
for stellarators. Some machines take advantage of simplification techniques such as helical symmetry (for example
University of Wisconsin's Helically Symmetric eXperiment).

Formal treatment

The Bennett Relation

Consider a cylindrical column of fully ionized
quasineutral plasma, with an axial electric field,
producing an axial current density, j, and associated
azimuthal magnetic field, B. As the current flows
through its own magnetic field, a pinch is generated
with an inward radial force density of j x B. In a
steady state with forces balancing:

∇p = ∇(pe + pi) = j x Β
where ∇p is the magnetic pressure gradient, pe and pi
is the electron and ion pressures. Then using
Maxwell's equation ∇ x B = μ0 j and the ideal gas law
p = N k T, we derive:

A stream of water pinching into droplets has been suggested as an

analogy to the electromagnetic pinch. The gravity accelerates
free-falling water which causes the water column to constrict. Then
surface tension breaks the narrowing water column into droplets (not
shown here) (see Plateau-Rayleigh instability), which is analogous to
the magnetic field which has been suggested as the cause of pinching
in bead lightning. The morphology (shape) is similar to the
so-called sausage instability in plasma.

(The Bennett Relation)

where N is the number of electrons per unit length along the axis, Te and Ti are the electron and ion temperatures, I is
the total beam current, and k is the Boltzmann constant.
Pinch (plasma physics) 137

The Generalized Bennett Relation

The Generalized Bennett Relation considers a current-carrying
magnetic-field-aligned cylindrical plasma pinch undergoing
rotation at angular frequency ω. Along the axis of the plasma
cylinder flows a current density jz, resulting in a toroidal magnetίc
field Βφ. Originally derived by Witalis,[40] the Generalized
Bennett Relation results in:[41]

The Generalized Bennett Relation considers a

current-carrying magnetic-field-aligned cylindrical
plasma pinch undergoing rotation at angular frequency

• where a current-carrying, magnetic-field-aligned cylindrical plasma has a radius a,

• J0 is the total moment of inertia with respect to the z axis,
• W⊥kin is the kinetic energy per unit length due to beam motion transverse to the beam axis
• WBz is the self-consistent Bz energy per unit length
• WEz is the self-consistent Ez energy per unit length
• Wk is thermokinetic energy per unit length
• I(a) is the axial current inside the radius a (r in diagram)
• N(a) is the total number of particles per unit length
• Er is the radial electric field
• Eφ is the rotational electric field
The positive terms in the equation are expansional forces while the negative terms represent beam compressional
Pinch (plasma physics) 138

The Carlqvist Relation

The Carlqvist Relation, published by Per Carlqvist in 1988,[16] is a specialization of the Generalized Bennett
Relation (above), for the case that the kinetic pressure is much smaller at the border of the pinch than in the inner
parts. It takes the form

and is applicable to many space plasmas.

The Carlqvist Relation can be
illustrated (see right), showing the total
current (I) versus the number of
particles per unit length (N) in a
Bennett pinch. The chart illustrates
four physically distinct regions. The
plasma temperature is quite cold (Ti =
Te = Tn = 20 K), containing mainly
hydrogen with a mean particle mass
3×10-27 kg. The thermokinetic energy
Wk >> π a2 pk(a). The curves, ΔWBz
show different amounts of excess
magnetic energy per unit length due to
the axial magnetic field Bz. The
plasma is assumed to be
non-rotational, and the kinetic pressure
at the edges is much smaller than
The Bennett pinch showing the total current (I) versus the number of particles per unit
length (N). The chart illustrates four physically distinct regions. The plasma temperature
is 20 K, the mean particle mass 3×10-27 kg, and ΔWBz is the excess magnetic energy per
Chart regions: (a) In the top-left
unit length due to the axial magnetic field Bz. The plasma is assumed to be non-rotational,
region, the pinching force dominates. and the kinetic pressure at the edges is much smaller than inside.
(b) Towards the bottom, outward
kinetic pressures balance inwards magnetic pressure, and the total pressure is constant. (c) To the right of the vertical
line ΔWBz=0, the magnetic pressures balances the gravitational pressure, and the pinching force is negligible. (d) To
the left of the sloping curve ΔWBz=0, the gravitational force is negligible. Note that the chart shows a special case of
the Carlqvist relation, and if it is replaced by the more general Bennett relation, then the designated regions of the
chart are not valid.

Carlqvist further notes that by using the relations above, and a derivative, it is possible to describe the Bennett pinch,
the Jean's criterion (for gravitational instability,[42] in one and two dimensions), force-free magnetic fields,
gravitationally balanced magnetic pressures, and continuous transitions between these states.
Pinch (plasma physics) 139

Crushing cans with the pinch effect

Many high-voltage electronics enthusiasts make their own devices using
pulsed power techniques to produce a theta pinch capable of crushing an
aluminium soft drink can by pressure of strong magnetic field.
An electromagnetic aluminium can crusher consists of four main components
(1) A high voltage DC power supply which provides a source of electrical
energy (2) A large energy discharge capacitor to accumulate the electrical
energy (3) A high voltage switch or spark gap and (4) A robust coil (capable
of surviving high magnetic pressure) through which the stored electrical
energy can be quickly discharged in order to generate a correspondingly
strong pinching magnetic field (see diagram below).

Pinched aluminium can, produced from

a pulsed magnetic field created by
rapidly discharging 2 kilojoules from a
high voltage capacitor bank into a 3-turn
coil of heavy gauge wire. Source: Bert
Hickman, Stoneridge Engineering .

Electromagetic pinch "can crusher": schematic diagram

In practice, such a device is somewhat more sophisticated than the schematic diagram suggests, including electrical
components that control the current in order to maximize the resulting pinch, and to ensure that the device works
safely. For more details, see the notes.[44]
Sam Barros's can crusher cost about $500, and uses a large SCR and a 900 Volt capacitor bank storing about 3000
Joules of energy. For a very short time, it generates a magnetic field B~5T (250,000 times the strength of the Earth's
magnetic field) which has magnetic pressure P ~ 100 atm. Rate of energy conversion (from electric into magnetic
and back) in this device is about 22 megawatts.[45]
Pinch (plasma physics) 140

A fictionalized pinch-generating device was used in Ocean's Eleven, where it was used to disrupt Las Vegas's power
grid just long enough for the characters to begin their heist.[46]

[1] See for example, Buneman, O., " The Bennett Pinch (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1961plph. conf. .
202B& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=& amp;high=42ca922c9c08281)" (1961) Plasma Physics, Edited by
James E. Drummond. LOC 60-12766. Publ. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1961, p.202
[2] Lee, S., " Energy balance and the radius of electromagnetically pinched plasma columns (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1983PlPh. . . 25. . 571L& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c25795)" (1983) Plasma Physics, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp. 571–576 (1983).
[3] Schmidt, Helmut, " Formation of a Magnetic Pinch in InSb and the Possibility of Population Inversion in the Pinch (http:/ / adsabs.
harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1966PhRv. . 149. . 564S& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c26126)" (1966) Physical Review, vol. 149, Issue 2, pp. 564–573
[4] Severnyi, A. B., " On the Appearance of Cosmics Rays in the Pinch Effect in Solar Flares (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1959SvA. . . . . 3. . 887S& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c25243)" (1959) Soviet Astronomy, Vol. 3, p.887
[5] Zueva, N. M.; Solov'ev, L. S.; Morozov, A. I. " Nonlinear instability of plasma pinches (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1976JETPL. . 23. . 256Z& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c04156)" (1976) Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics Letters, Vol. 23, p.256
[6] Rai, J.; Singh, A. K.; Saha, S. K, " Magnetic field within the return stroke channel of lightning (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1973IJRSP. . . 2. . 240R& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c04988)" (1973) Indian Journal of Radio and Space Physics, vol. 2, Dec. 1973, p. 240-242.
[7] Galperin, Iu. I.; Zelenyi, L. M.; Kuznetsova, M. M. " Pinching of field-aligned currents as a possible mechanism for the
formation of raylike auroral forms (
amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=& amp;high=42ca922c9c01478)" (1986) Kosmicheskie Issledovaniia (ISSN
0023-4206), vol. 24, Nov.-Dec. 1986, p. 865-874. In Russian.
[8] Syrovatskii, S. I. " Pinch sheets and reconnection in astrophysics (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1981ARA& A. . 19. . 163S& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c06271)" (1981) In Annual review of astronomy and astrophysics. Volume 19. (A82-11551 02-90) Palo Alto,
CA, Annual Reviews, Inc., 1981, p. 163-229
[9] Airapetyan, V. S.; Vikhrev, V. V.; Ivanov, V. V.; Rozanova, G. A. " Pinch Mechanism of Energy Release of Stellar Flares (http:/ /
adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1990Ap. . . . . 32. . 230A& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML&
amp;format=& amp;high=42ca922c9c20133)" (1990) Astrophsyics (Tr. Astrofizika) v.32 No.3 Nov. p.230 1990
[10] Pollock J A and Barraclough S, 1905 Proc. R. Soc. New South Wales 39 131
[11] Hardee, P. E., " Helical and pinching instability of supersonic expanding jets in extragalactic radio sources (http:/ / adsabs.
harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1982ApJ. . . 257. . 509H& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c18868)" (1982) Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 257, June 15, 1982, p. 509-526
[12] Pereira, N. R., et al., "[X rays from z-pinches on relativistic electron-beam generators]" (1988) Journal of Applied Physics
(ISSN 0021-8979), vol. 64, Aug. 1, 1988, p. R1-R27
[13] Wu, Mei; Chen, Li; Li, Ti-Pei, " Polarization in Gamma-Ray Bursts Produced by Pinch Discharge (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/
cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=2005ChJAA. . . 5. . . 57W& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c03905)" (2005) Chinese Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 5, p. 57-64
[14] Anderson, Oscar A., et al., " Neutron Production in Linear Deuterium Pinches (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1958PhRv. . 110. 1375A& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c08574)" (1958) Physical Review, vol. 110, Issue 6, pp. 1375–1387
[15] Peratt, A.L., " Synchrotron radiation from pinched particle beams (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?vid=ISBN079235527X&
id=ZSlJRAeL95sC& pg=PA62& lpg=PA62& dq=synchrotron+ pinch& sig=hYbqU8FIS6mzVJ9MlkFhleuFNhQ)", (1998) Plasma Physics:
VII Lawpp 97: Proceedings of the 1997 Latin American Workshop on Plasma Physics, Edited by Pablo Martin, Julio Puerta,
Pablo Martmn, with reference to Meierovich, B. E., " Electromagnetic collapse. Problems of stability, emission of radiation and
evolution of a dense pinch (;db_key=PHY&
amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)" (1984) Physics Reports, Volume 104, Issue 5, p. 259-346.
[16] Carlqvist, Per, " Cosmic electric currents and the generalized Bennett relation (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?1988Ap& SS. 144. . . 73C)" (1988) Astrophysics and Space Science (ISSN 0004-640X), vol. 144, no. 1-2, May 1988,
p. 73-84
[17] Srivastava, K. M.; Vyas, D. N., " Non-linear analysis of the stability of the screw pinch (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1982Ap& SS. . 86. . . 71S& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
Pinch (plasma physics) 141

amp;high=42ca922c9c09199)", (1982) Astrophysics and Space Science, vol. 86, no. 1, Aug. 1982, p. 71-89
[18] See " MHD Equilibria" in Introduction to Plasma Physics by I.H.Hutchinson (2001) (http:/ / silas. psfc. mit. edu/ introplasma/ chap4.
html#tth_sEc4. 7)
[19] See Dictionary of Material Science and High Energy Physics p.315 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?vid=ISBN0849328896&
id=vvJazZZpB1QC& pg=PA315& lpg=PA315& dq=thetatron+ pinch& sig=TCOnE7mqDqYv75nmAgd_knHE9_U) ISBN 0-8493-2889-6
[20] Helander, P. et al. " The effect of non-inductive current drive on tokamak transport (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=2005PPCF. . . 47B. 151H& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c04106)" (2005) Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Volume 47, Issue 12B, pp. B151-B163
[21] For example, see " Electromagnetic Crusher (http:/ / www. altair. org/ crusher. html)"
[22] Ryutov, D. D.; Derzon, M. S.; Matzen, M. K, " The physics of fast Z pinches (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=2000RvMP. . . 72. . 167R& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c24923)" (2000) Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 72, Issue 1, pp. 167–223
[23] Andre Gsponer, " Physics of high-intensity high-energy particle beam propagation in open air and outer-space plasmas (http:/ /
arxiv. org/ abs/ physics/ 0409157)" (2004)
[24] Peratt, Anthony L., " The role of particle beams and electrical currents in the plasma universe (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ abs/
1988LaPaB. . . 6. . 471P)" (1988) Laser and Particle Beams (ISSN 0263-0346), vol. 6, Aug. 1988, p. 471-491.
[25] See also the IEEE History Center, " Evolution of the IEEE Logo (http:/ / www. ieee. org/ organizations/ history_center/ ieee_emblem.
html)" March 1963; see also the comments in " Laboratory Astrophysics (http:/ / public. lanl. gov/ alp/ plasma/ lab_astro. html)"
[26] van Marum M 1790 Proc. 4th Int. Conf. on Dense Z-Pinches (Vancouver 1997) (Am. Inst. Phys. Woodbury, New York, 1997)
Frontispiece and p ii
[27] R. S. Pease, "The Electromagnetic Pinch: From Pollock to the Joint European Torus", " Pollock Memorial Lecture for 1984
delivered at the University of Sydney, 28 November, 1984" ( This review
of the electromagnetic pinch starts with an exhibit taken from Pollock's work, carefully preserved and drawn to attention of
modern research by Professor C. Watson-Munro. It is a compressed and distorted length of copper tube originally part of the
lightning conductor on the Hartley Vale kerosene refinery in New South Wales. It was known to have been struck by lightning.
Pollock and Barraclough (1905) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Sydney University carried out an analysis to
see whether or not the compression could have arisen from the flow of electric current. They concluded that the compressive
forces, due to the interaction of the large current flow with its own magnetic field could have been responsible for the
compression and distortion. As far as I know, this is the first identified piece of observational data on the electromagnetic pinch;
and the first theoretical discussion of the effect.
[28] Northrupp E F 1907 " Some Newly Observed Manifestations of Forces in the Interior of an Electric Conductor (http:/ / adsabs.
harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1907PhRvI. . 24. . 474N& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)"
(1907) Phys. Rev. 24 474. He wrote: "Some months ago, my friend, Carl Hering, described to me a surprising and apparently new
phenomenon which he had observed. He found, in passing a relatively large alternating current through a non-electrolytic, liquid
conductor contained in a trough, that the liquid contracted in cross-section and flowed up hill lengthwise of the trough... Mr.
Hering suggested the idea that this contraction was probably due to the elastic action of the lines of magnetic force which encircle
the conductor... As the action of the forces on the conductor is to squeeze or pinch it, he jocosely called it the 'pinch phenomenon'.
[29] W.H.Bennett, " Magnetically Self-Focussing Streams (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1934PhRv. . . 45.
. 890B& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)", Phys. Rev. 45 890 (1934)
[30] M G Haines, T W L Sanford and V P Smirnov, " Wire-array z-pinch: a powerful x-ray source for ICF (http:/ / www. iop. org/ EJ/
abstract/ 0741-3335/ 47/ 12B/ S01)" (2005) Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 47 B1-B11 (online in full, click PDF).
[31] Thompson G P and Blackman M 1946 British Patent 817681. Haines M G 1996 " Historical Perspective: Fifty years of
controlled fusion research (;db_key=PHY&
amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)" Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 38 643
[32] Kruskal M D and Schwarzchild " Some Instabilities of a Completely Ionized Plasma (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1954RSPSA. 223. . 348K& amp;db_key=GEN& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)" 1954 Proc. R. Soc.
Lond. A 223 348
[33] Kurchatov I V 1957 J. Nucl. Energy 4 193
[34] Pease R S " Equilibrium Characteristics of a Pinched Gas Discharge Cooled by Bremsstrahlung Radiation (http:/ / adsabs. harvard.
edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1957PPSB. . . 70. . . 11P& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)" 1957 Proc.
Phys. Soc. Lond. 70 11
[35] Braginskii S I 1957 Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz 33 645; Braginskii S I 1958 Sov. Phys.—JETP 6 494
[36] Haines M G et al. 2005 Phys. Rev. Lett. submitted; see also EPS Conf. on Plasma Physics 2004 (London, UK) paper 73
[37] Curzon F L et al. " Experiments on the Growth Rate of Surface Instabilities in a Linear Pinched Discharge (http:/ / adsabs.
harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/ nph-bib_query?bibcode=1960RSPSA. 257. . 386C& amp;db_key=GEN& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=)"
1960 Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 257 386
[38] Trubnikov, Boris A., " A new hypothesis of cosmic ray generation in plasma pinches (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1992ITPS. . . 20. . 898T& amp;db_key=AST& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c06116)" (1992) IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (ISSN 0093-3813), vol. 20, no. 6, p. 898-904.
Pinch (plasma physics) 142

[39] "The PLASMAK Configuration and Ball Lightning" ( PDF (http:/ / www. prometheus2. net/ bl-tokyo. pdf)) presented at the
International Symposium on Ball Lightning; July 1988
[40] Witalis, E. A. " Plasma-physical aspects of charged-particle beams (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ cgi-bin/
nph-bib_query?bibcode=1981PhRvA. . 24. 2758W& amp;db_key=PHY& amp;data_type=HTML& amp;format=&
amp;high=42ca922c9c29389)" (1981) Physical Review A - General Physics, 3rd Series, vol. 24, Nov. 1981, p. 2758–2764
[41] Anthony L . Peratt, "Physics of the Plasma Universe", 1992 Springer-Verlag, ISBN 0-387-97575-6
[42] J. H. Jeans, " The stability of a spherical nebula (http:/ / adsabs. harvard. edu/ abs/ 1902RSPTA. 199. . . . 1J)" Phil. Trans. R. Soc.
Lond. A 199 (1902)
[43] http:/ / www. teslamania. com
[44] Examples of electromagnetic pinch can crushers can be found at (a) Bob LaPointe's site on High Voltage Devices and
Experiments ( (b) Tristran's Electromagnetic Can Crusher (
extreme_skier/ cancrusher/ ) (including schematic) (c) Sam Borros's Solid State Can Crusher (http:/ / www. powerlabs. org/ pssecc. htm)
[45] Sam Borros's PowerLabs' Solid State Can Crusher (http:/ / www. powerlabs. org/ pssecc. htm)
[46] "The Con-Artist Physics of 'Ocean's Eleven'." (http:/ / www. aps. org/ publications/ apsnews/ 200203/ oceans-eleven. cfm). American
Physical Society. March, 2002. .

External links
• Examples of electromagnetically shrunken coins and crushed cans. (
• Theory of electromagnetic coin shrinking (
• The Known History of "Quarter Shrinking" (
• Can crushing info using electromagnetism among other things. (
• The MAGPIE project at Imperial College London ( is used to study
wire array Z-pinch implosions.

Hall effect thruster

In spacecraft propulsion, a Hall thruster is a type of ion thruster in
which the propellant is accelerated by an electric field. Hall thrusters
trap electrons in a magnetic field and then use the electrons to ionize
propellant, efficiently accelerate the ions to produce thrust, and
neutralize the ions in the plume. Hall thrusters are sometimes referred
to as Hall Effect Thrusters or Hall Current Thrusters.

2 kW Hall thruster in operation as part of the Hall

Thruster Experiment at the Princeton Plasma
Physics Laboratory.
Hall effect thruster 143

Hall thrusters operate on a variety of propellants, the most common

being xenon. Other propellants of interest include krypton, argon,
bismuth, magnesium, and zinc.
Hall thrusters are able to accelerate their exhaust to speeds between
10–80 km/s (1000-8000 s specific impulse), with most models
operating between 15–30 km/s (1500-3000 s specific impulse). The
thrust produced by a Hall thruster varies depending on the power level.
Devices operating at 1.35 kW produce about 83 mN of thrust. High 6 kW Hall thruster in operation at the NASA Jet
power models have demonstrated up to 3 N in the laboratory. Power Propulsion Laboratory.
levels up to 100 kW have been demonstrated by xenon Hall thrusters.

Hall thrusters were studied independently in the US and the USSR in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the Hall
thruster was only developed into an efficient propulsion device in the former Soviet Union, whereas in the US,
scientists focused instead on developing gridded ion thrusters.
Two types of Hall thrusters were developed in the Soviet Union:
• thrusters with wide acceleration zone, SPT (Russian: СПД, стационарный плазменный двигатель; English:
SPT, Stationary Plasma Thruster) at Design Bureau Fakel
• thrusters with narrow acceleration zone, DAS (Russian: ДАС, двигатель с анодным слоем; English: TAL,
Thruster with Anode Layer), at the Central Research Institute for Machine Building (TsNIIMASH).
The common SPT design was largely the work of A. I. Morozov.[1]
The first SPT to operate in space, an SPT-50 launched on the Soviet
Meteor spacecraft, was launched December 1971. They were mainly
used for satellite stabilization in North-South and in East-West
directions. Since then until the late 1990s 118 SPT engines completed
their mission and some 50 continued to be operated. Thrust of the first
generation of SPT engines, SPT-50 and SPT-60 was 20 and 30 mN
respectively. In 1982 SPT-70 and SPT-100 were introduced, their
thrusts being 40 and 83 mN, respectively. In the post-Soviet Russia
high-power (a few kilowatts) SPT-140, SPT-160, SPT-200, T-160 and
low-power (less than 500 W) SPT-35 were introduced.[2]

Soviet and Russian TAL-type thrusters include the D-38, D-55, D-80,
and D-100.[2]
Soviet-built thrusters were introduced to the West in 1992 after a team Soviet and Russian SPT thrusters
of electric propulsion specialists from NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Glenn Research Center, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, under the support of the Ballistic
Missile Defense Organization, visited Soviet laboratories and experimentally evaluated the SPT-100 (i.e., a 100 mm
diameter SPT thruster). Over 200 Hall thrusters have been flown on Soviet/Russian satellites in the past thirty years.
No failures of a Hall thruster has ever occurred on orbit. Hall thruster continue to be used on Russian spacecraft and
have also flown on European and American spacecraft. Space Systems/Loral, an American commercial satellite
manufacturer, now flies Fakel SPT-100's on their GEO communications spacecraft. Since their introduction to the
west in the early 1990s, Hall thrusters have been the subject of a large number of research efforts throughout the

United States, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia (with many smaller efforts scattered in various countries across the
globe). Hall thruster research in the US is conducted at several government laboratories, universities and private
Hall effect thruster 144

companies. Government centers include NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA's Glenn Research Center and the
Air Force Research Laboratory (Edwards AFB, CA). Universities include the University of Michigan, Stanford,
MIT, Princeton, Michigan Tech, and Georgia Tech. A considerable amount of development is being conducted in
industry, such as Aerojet and Busek Co. in the USA, SNECMA in France and Alta [3] in Italy.
The first use of Hall thrusters outside of Earth's orbit was on the European Space Agency (ESA) lunar mission
SMART-1 in 2003. Hall thrusters were first demonstrated on a western satellite on the Naval Research Laboratory
(NRL) STEX spacecraft, which flew the Russian D-55. The first American Hall thruster to fly in space was the
Busek BHT-200 on TacSat-2 technology demonstration spacecraft. The first flight of an American Hall thruster on
an operational mission, was the Aerojet BPT-4000, which launched August 2010 on the military Advanced
Extremely High Frequency GEO communications satellite. At 4.5 kW, the BPT-4000 is also the highest power Hall
thruster ever flown in space. Besides the usual stationkeeping tasks, the BPT-4000 is also providing orbit raising
capability to the spacecraft. Several countries worldwide continue efforts to qualify Hall thruster technology for
commercial uses.

The essential working principle of the Hall thruster is that it uses an electrostatic potential to accelerate ions up to
high speeds. In a Hall thruster the attractive negative charge is provided by an electron plasma at the open end of the
thruster instead of a grid. A radial magnetic field of a hundred gauss (about 100-300 G) is used to confine the
electrons, where the combination of the radial magnetic field and axial electric field cause the electrons to drift
azimuthally, forming the Hall current from which the device gets its name.
A schematic of a Hall thruster is shown
in the image to the right. An electric
potential between 150-800 Volts is
applied between the anode and
The central spike forms one pole of an
electromagnet and is surrounded by an
annular space and around that is the
other pole of the electromagnet, with a
radial magnetic field in-between.
The propellant, such as xenon gas is
fed through the anode, which has
numerous small holes in it to act as a
gas distributor. Xenon propellant is
Hall Thruster. Hall thrusters are largely axially symmetric. This is a cross-section
used because of its high molecular
containing that axis.
weight and low ionization potential. As
the neutral xenon atoms diffuse into
the channel of the thruster, they are ionized by collisions with high energy circulating electrons (typically 10-40 eV,
or about 10% of the discharge voltage). Once ionized, the xenon ions typically have a charge of +1 though a small
fraction (~20%) are +2.

The xenon ions are then accelerated by the electric field between the anode and the cathode. For discharge voltages
of 300 V, the ions reach speeds of around 15,000 m/s for a specific impulse of 1,500 seconds (15 kN·s/kg). Upon
exiting however, the ions pull an equal number of electrons with them, creating a plume with no net charge.
The radial magnetic field is designed to be strong enough to substantially deflect the low-mass electrons, but not the
high-mass ions which have a much larger gyroradius and are hardly impeded. The majority of electrons are thus
Hall effect thruster 145

stuck orbiting in the region of high radial magnetic field near the thruster exit plane, trapped in E×B (axial electric
field and radial magnetic field). This orbital rotation of the electrons is a circulating Hall current and it is from this
that the Hall thruster gets its name. Collisions with other particles and walls as well as plasma instabilities allow
some of the electrons to be freed from the magnetic field and they drift towards the anode.
About 20-30% of the discharge current is an electron current which does not produce thrust, which limits the
energetic efficiency of the thruster; the other 70-80% of the current is in the ions. Because the majority of electrons
are trapped in the Hall current, they have a long residence time inside the thruster and are able to ionize almost all of
the xenon propellant, allowing for mass utilizations of 90-99%. The mass utilization efficiency of the thruster is thus
around 90%, while the discharge current efficiency is around 70% for a combined thruster efficiency of around 63%
(= 90% × 70%). Modern Hall thrusters have achieved efficiencies as high as 75% through advanced designs.
Compared to chemical rockets the thrust is very small, on the order of 83 mN for a typical thruster operating at 300
V, 1.5 kW. For comparison, the weight of a coin like the U.S. quarter or a 20-cent Euro coin is approximately
60 mN.
However, Hall thrusters operate at the high specific impulses that is typical of electric propulsion. One particular
advantage of Hall thrusters, as compared to a gridded ion thruster, is that the generation and acceleration of the ions
takes place in a quasi-neutral plasma and so there is no Child-Langmuir charge (space charge) saturated current
limitation on the thrust density. This allows for much smaller thrusters compared to gridded ion thrusters.
Another advantage is that these thrusters can use a wider variety of propellants supplied to the anode, even oxygen,
although something easily ionized is needed at the cathode.[4]

Hall thrusters have been flying in space since December 1971 when the Soviets launched an SPT-50 on the Meteor
satellite. Over 240 thrusters have flown in space since that time with a 100% success rate. Hall thrusters are now
routinely flown on commercial GEO communications satellite where they are used for orbit insertion and
On October 23, 1998, the first Hall thruster to fly on a western satellite was the Russian D-55 built by TsNIIMASH
on the NRO's STEX spacecraft[5] . On September 28, 2003, the first Hall thruster used outside of geosynchronous
Earth orbit began as the European Space Agency’s SMART-1 spacecraft started its journey to the moon using a
Snecma PPS-1350[6] .
The solar electric propulsion system of the European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft used a Snecma
PPS-1350-G Hall thruster[6] . SMART-1 was a technology demonstration mission that orbited the moon. The use of
the PPS-1350-G was the first use of a Hall thruster outside of geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). Unlike most Hall
thruster propulsion systems used in commercial applications, the Hall thruster on SMART-1 could be throttled over a
range of power, specific impulse, and thrust:
• Discharge Power: 0.46-1.19 kW
• Specific Impulse: 1100–1600 s
• Thrust: 30-70 mN
In 2005, SMART-1 exhausted its xenon supply after flawlessly operating the thruster and establishing new records
for Hall thruster operation in space
• Thruster operating time: 5000 h
• Xenon throughput: 82 kg
• Total Impulse: 1.1 MN-s
• Total ΔV: 3.9 km/s
In parallel to the flight demonstration, a qualification model (QM) PPS-1350-G has also undergone wear testing on
the ground. Through 2007, the QM model has demonstrated:
Hall effect thruster 146

• Thruster operating time: 10,500 h

• Total impulse: 3.39 MN-s
• Start/Stop Cycles: 7309

[1] Hall thrusters (http:/ / fluid. ippt. gov. pl/ sbarral/ hall. html)
[2] (Russian) Native Electric Propulsion Engines Today (http:/ / novosti-kosmonavtiki. ru/ content/ numbers/ 198/ 35. shtml), Novosti
Kosmonavtiki, 1999, No.7
[3] http:/ / www. alta-space. com/ index. php?page=het
[4] PERMANENT - Transportation - Electric Propulsion (http:/ / www. permanent. com/ t-el-iov. htm#how-russ)
[5] Naval Research Laboratory, "National Reconnaissance Office Satellite Successfully Launched," Press Release, http:/ / www. nro. gov/
PressReleases/ prs_rel25. html, Oct. 3, 1998.
[6] Cornu, N., et al., "The PPS 1350-G Qualification Demonstration: 10500 hrs on the Ground and 5000 hrs in Flight," AIAA Paper 2007-5197,
July, 2007.

External links
• NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (
• Aerojet (Redmond, WA USA) - Hall Thruster Vendor (
• Busek (Natick, MA USA)- Hall Thruster Vendor (
• Experimental Design Bureau Fakel (Kaliningrad, Russia) - Hall Thruster Vendor (
• MIT Space Propulsion Laboratory (
• Michigan Tech. Univ. Ion Space Propulsion Laboratory (
• Georgia Institute of Technology High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL) (
• University of Michigan Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL) (http://www.engin.umich.
• NASA Glenn Research Center Hall Thruster Program (
• Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory page on Hall Thrusters (
• Snecma SA (France) page on PPS-1350 Hall Thruster (
• Alta S.p.A. (Italy) page on HT-100 Hall Thruster (
• ESA page on Hall thrusters (
• Space Systems/Loral - Western Satellite Manufacturer Offering SPT's (
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 147

Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket

The Variable Specific Impulse
Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) is an
electro-magnetic thruster for spacecraft
propulsion. It uses radio waves to ionize and
heat a propellant and magnetic fields to
accelerate the resulting plasma to generate
thrust. It is one of several types of spacecraft
electric propulsion systems.

The method of heating plasma used in

VASIMR was originally developed as a
result of research into nuclear fusion.
VASIMR is intended to bridge the gap
between high-thrust, low-specific impulse
propulsion systems and low-thrust, Artist's impression of several VASIMR engines propelling a craft through space

high-specific impulse systems. VASIMR is

capable of functioning in either mode. Costa Rican scientist and former astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz created the
VASIMR concept and has been working on its development since 1977.[1]

Design and operation

The Variable Specific Impulse
Magnetoplasma Rocket, sometimes referred
to as the Electro-thermal Plasma Thruster or
Electro-thermal Magnetoplasma Rocket,
uses radio waves[2] to ionize and heat
propellant and magnetic fields, accelerating
the resulting plasma which generates thrust.
This type of engine is electrodeless and as
such belongs to the same electric propulsion
family (while differing in the method of
plasma acceleration) as the electrodeless
plasma thruster, the microwave arcjet, or the
Vasimr schematic
pulsed inductive thruster class. It can also be
seen as an electrodeless version of an arcjet,
able to reach higher propellant temperature by limiting the heat flux from the plasma to the structure. Neither type of
engine has any electrodes. The main advantage of such designs is elimination of problems with electrode erosion that
cause rival designs of ion thrusters which use electrodes to have a short life expectancy. Furthermore, since every
part of a VASIMR engine is magnetically shielded and does not come into direct contact with plasma, the potential
durability of this engine design is greater than other ion/plasma engine designs.[1]

The engine design encompasses three parts: turning gas into plasma via helicon RF antennas; energizing plasma via
further RF heating in an ion cyclotron resonance frequency (ICRF) booster; and using electromagnets to create a
magnetic nozzle to convert the plasma's built-up thermal energy into kinetic force. By varying the amount of energy
dedicated to RF heating and the amount of propellant delivered for plasma generation VASIMR is capable of either
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 148

generating low-thrust, high-specific impulse exhaust or relatively high-thrust, low-specific impulse exhaust.[3]

Benefits and drawbacks of design

In contrast with usual cyclotron resonance heating processes, in VASIMR, ions are immediately ejected through the
magnetic nozzle before they have time to achieve thermalized distribution. Based on novel theoretical work in 2004
by Arefiev and Breizman of UT-Austin, virtually all of the energy in the ion cyclotron wave is uniformly transferred
to ionized plasma in a single-pass cyclotron absorption process. This allows for ions to leave the magnetic nozzle
with a very narrow energy distribution and for significantly simplified and compact magnet arrangement in the
VASIMR does not use electrodes and magnetically shields plasma from all the hardware parts, thus eliminating
electrode erosion, a major source of wear and tear in ion engines. Compared to traditional rocket engines with very
complex plumbing, high performance valves, actuators and turbopumps, VASIMR eliminates practically all moving
parts from its design (apart from minor ones like gas valves), maximizing its long term durability.
However, some new problems emerge like interaction with strong magnetic fields and thermal management. The
relatively large power at which VASIMR operates generates a lot of waste heat which needs to be channeled away
without creating thermal overload and undue thermal stress on materials used. Powerful superconducting
electromagnets, employed to contain hot plasma, generate tesla-range magnetic fields.[4] They can present problems
with other on board devices and also can adversely interact with Earth magnetosphere. To counter this latter effect
the VF-200 will consist of two 100 kW thruster units packaged together with the magnetic field of each thruster
oriented in opposite directions in order to make a zero-torque magnetic quadrapole.[5]

Research and development

After many years researching the concept with NASA, Franklin
Chang-Diaz set up the Ad Astra Rocket Company in January 2005
to begin development of the VASIMR engine. Later that year, the
company signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, and were
granted control of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory.[6]
In this lab, a 50 kW prototype was constructed, and underwent
testing in a vacuum chamber. Later, a 100 kW version was
developed, and this was followed by a 200 kW prototype. After a
long period of rigorous testing in a 150 m3 vacuum chamber, the
latest configuration was deemed space-worthy, and it was
The testing vacuum chamber, containing the 50kW
announced that the company had entered into an agreement to test
the engine on the International Space Station, in or before 2013.

The first VASIMR engine model VX-50 proved to be capable of 0.5 newtons (0.1 lbf) thrust. According to
company's data, current VASIMR efficiency was then at 67%. Published data on the VX-50 engine, capable of
processing 50 kW of total radio frequency power, showed efficiency to be 59% calculated as: 90% NA ion generation
efficiency × 65% NB ion speed boosting efficiency. The correct formula is therefore
It was hoped that the overall efficiency of the engine could be increased by scaling up power levels.
Model VX-100 was expected to have an overall efficiency of 72% by improving the NB ion speed boosting
efficiency to 80%.[7] [8] There were, however, additional (smaller) efficiency losses related to the conversion of DC
electric current to radio frequency power and also to the superconducting magnets' energy consumption. By
comparison, 2009 state-of-the-art, proven ion engine designs such as NASA's HiPEP operated at 80% total
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 149

thruster/PPU energy efficiency.[9]

Development of the 200 kW engine

On October 24, 2008 the company announced that the plasma generation aspect of the VX-200 engine - helicon first
stage or solid-state high frequency power transmitter - had reached operational status. The key enabling technology,
solid-state DC-RF power-processing, has become very efficient reaching up to 98% efficiency. The helicon
discharge uses 30 kWe of radio waves to turn argon gas into plasma. The remaining 170 kWe of power is allocated
for passing energy to, and acceleration of, plasma in the second part of the engine via ion cyclotron resonance
Based on data released from previous VX-100 testing,[4] it was expected that the VX-200 engine would have a
system efficiency of 60-65% and thrust level of 5N. Optimal specific impulse appeared to be around 5000s using low
cost argon propellant. The specific power estimated at 1.5 kg/kW meant that this version of the VASIMR engine
would weigh only about 300 kg. One of the remaining untested issues was potential vs actual thrust; that is, whether
the hot plasma actually detached from the rocket. Another issue was waste heat management (60% efficiency means
about (100%-60%)/100%*200 kW = 80 kW of unnecessary heat) critical to allowing for continuous operation of
VASIMR engine.
Between April and September 2009, tests were performed on the VX-200 prototype with fully integrated 2 Tesla
superconducting magnets. They successfully expanded the power range of the VASIMR up to its full operational
capability of 200 kW.[11]
During November 2010, long duration, full power firing tests were performed with the VX-200 engine reaching the
steady state operation for 25 seconds thus validating basic design characteristics.[12] Results presented to NASA and
academia in January 2011 have confirmed that the design point for optimal efficiency on the VX-200 is 50 km/s
exhaust velocity, or an Isp of 5000 s. Based on these data, thruster efficiency of 70% has been deemed by Ad Astra
to be achievable, yielding an overall system efficiency (DC electricity to thruster power) of 60% (since the DC to RF
power conversion efficiency exceeds 95%).[13]

Testing on the space station

On December 8, 2008, Ad Astra Company signed an agreement with NASA to arrange the placement and testing of
a flight version of the VASIMR, the VF-200, on the International Space Station (ISS).[14] As of February 2011, its
launch is anticipated to be in 2014[15] [16] , though it may be later.[6] The Taurus II has been reported as the "top
contender" for the launch vehicle.[15] Since the available power from the ISS is less than 200 kW, the ISS VASIMR
will include a trickle-charged battery system allowing for 15 min pulses of thrust.
Testing of the engine on ISS is valuable because it orbits at a relatively low altitude and experiences fairly high
levels of atmospheric drag, making periodic boosts of altitude necessary. Currently, altitude reboosting by chemical
rockets fulfills this requirement. If the tests of VASIMR reboosting of the ISS goes according to plan, the increase in
specific impulse could mean that the cost of fuel for altitude reboosting will be one-twentieth of the current $210
million annual cost.[6] Hydrogen is generated by the ISS as a by-product, which is currently vented into space.
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 150

The VF-200 flight-rated thruster consists of two 100 kW VASIMR units with opposite magnetic dipoles so that no
net rotational torque is applied to the space station when the thrusters are firing. The VF-200-1 is the first flight unit
and will be tested in space attached to the ISS.[5]

NASA partnership
As of February 2011, NASA has 100 personnel assigned to the project to work with Ad Astra to integrate the
VF-200 onto the space station.[15]

Potential future applications

VASIMR is not suitable to launch payloads from the surface of the
Earth due to its low thrust to weight ratio and its need of a vacuum to
operate. Instead, it would function as an upper stage for cargo,
reducing the fuel requirements for in-space transportation. The engine
is expected to perform the following functions at a fraction of the cost
of chemical technologies:
• drag compensation for space stations
• lunar cargo delivery
• satellite repositioning VASIMR magnetic field
• satellite refueling, maintenance and repair

• in space resource recovery

• ultra fast deep space robotic missions
Other applications for VASIMR such as the rapid transportation of people to Mars would require a very high power,
low mass energy source, such as a nuclear reactor (see nuclear electric rocket). NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
said that VASIMR technology could be the breakthrough technology that would reduce the travel time on a Mars
mission from months to days.[17]
In August 2008, Tim Glover, Ad Astra director of development, publicly stated that the first expected application of
VASIMR engine is "hauling things [non-human cargo] from low-Earth orbit to low-lunar orbit" supporting NASA's
return to Moon efforts.[18]

Use as a space tug or orbital transfer vehicle

The most important near-future application of VASIMR-powered spacecraft is transportation of cargo. Numerous
studies have shown that, despite longer transit times, VASIMR-powered spacecraft will be much more efficient than
traditional integrated chemical rockets at moving goods through space. An orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) —
essentially a "space tug" — powered by a single VF-200 engine would be capable of transporting about 7 metric tons
of cargo from low Earth orbit (LEO) to low Lunar orbit (LLO) with about a six month transit time. NASA envisages
delivering about 34 metric tons of useful cargo to LLO in a single flight with a chemically propelled vehicle. To
make that trip, about 60 metric tons of LOX-LH2 propellant would be burned. A comparable OTV would need to
employ 5 VF-200 engines powered by a 1 MW solar array. To do the same job, such OTV would need to expend
only about 8 metric tons of argon propellant. Total mass of such electric OTV would be in the range of 49 t
(outbound & return fuel: 9 t, hardware: 6 t, cargo 34 t). The OTV transit times can be reduced by carrying lighter
loads and/or expending more argon propellant with VASIMR throttled down to lower Isp. For instance, an empty
OTV on the return trip to Earth covers the distance in about 23 days at optimal specific impulse of 5,000 s
(50 kN·s/kg) or in about 14 days at Isp of 3,000 s (30 kN·s/kg). The total mass of the NASA specs' OTV (including
structure, solar array, fuel tank, avionics, propellant and cargo) was assumed to be 100 metric tons (98.4 long tons;
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 151

110 short tons)[19] allowing almost double the cargo capacity compared to chemically propelled vehicle but requiring
even bigger solar arrays (or other source of power) capable of providing 2 MW.
As of October 2010, Ad Astra Rocket Company is working toward utilizing VASIMR technology for space tug
missions to help "clean up the ever-growing problem of space trash." They hope to have a first-generation
commercial offering by 2014.[20]

[1] Billings, Lee (September 29, 2009). "A Rocket for the 21st Century" (http:/ / seedmagazine. com/ content/ article/
a_rocket_for_the_21st_century/ ). Seed. . Retrieved September 30, 2009.
[2] Noelle Stapinsky (May 13, 2010), Nautel’s space oddity (RF generator for Ad Astra) (http:/ / www. canadianmanufacturing. com/ plant/
features/ industry/ article. jsp?content=20100513_153743_3324), Canadian Manufacturing,
[3] Jared P. Squire, et al. (February 13–17, 2005). "Principal VASIMR Results and Present Objectives" (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/
TimSTAIF2005. pdf). Space Technology and Applications International Forum. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[4] Jared P. Squire, et al. (September 5–6, 2008). "VASIMR Performance Measurements at Powers Exceeding 50 kW and Lunar Robotic
Mission Applications" (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/ ISGLP_JPSquire2008. pdf). International Interdisciplinary Symposium on Gaseous
and Liquid Plasmas. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[5] "International Space Station Mission" (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/ aarc/ VASIMRISS). Ad Astra Rocket Company. 2011. . Retrieved
2011-02-08. "The VX-200 will provide the critical data set to build the VF-200-1, the first flight unit, to be tested in space aboard the
International Space Station (ISS). It will consist of two 100 kW units with opposite magnetic dipoles, resulting in a zero-torque magnetic
system. The electrical energy will come from ISS at low power level, be stored in batteries and used to fire the engine at 200 kW."
[6] "Executive summary" (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/ EXECUTIVE SUMMARY240110. pdf). Ad Astra Rocket Company. 24 January
2010. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[7] Jared P. Squire, et al. (9–12 January 2006). "Recent Improvements In Ionization Costs And Ion Cyclotron Heating Efficiency In The
VASIMR Engine" (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/ AIAA2006. pdf). AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit. . Retrieved
[8] Jared P. Squire, et al. (September 17–20, 2007). "High Power VASIMR Experiments using Deuterium, Neon and Argon" (http:/ / www.
adastrarocket. com/ Jared_IEPC07. pdf). International Electric Propulsion Conference. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[9] Frederick W. Elliott, et al. (11–14 July 2004). "An Overview of the High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPEP) Project" (ftp:/ / ftp. grc. nasa.
gov/ users/ ep/ ion/ publications/ 2004/ onsite/ aiaa-2004-3453. pdf). AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit. .
Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[10] Press release (October 24, 2008). "VASIMR VX-200 first stage achieves full power rating." (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/
Release241008. pdf). Ad Astra Rocket Company. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[11] Press release (September 30, 2009). "VASIMR VX-200 reaches 200 kW power milestone." (http:/ / www. adastrarocket. com/
Release_200kW_01Oct2009Final. pdf). Ad Astra Rocket Company. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[12] Benwl (December 15, 2010). "Video of VASIMR VX-200 firing for 25 seconds at full power rating." (http:/ / www. youtube. com/
watch?v=BRS26DcQhq0). Ad Astra Rocket Company. . Retrieved 2011-01-04.
[13] VASIMR VX-200 Performance and Near-term SEP Capability for Unmanned Mars Flight (http:/ / spirit. as. utexas. edu/ ~fiso/ telecon/
Glover_1-19-11/ Glover_1-19-11. pdf), Tim Glover, Future in Space Operations (FISO) Colloquium, 2011-01-19, accessed 2011-01-31.
[14] - NASA Administrator Hails Agreement with Ad Astra (Dec. 17, 2008) (http:/ / www. nasa. gov/ home/ hqnews/ 2008/ dec/
HQ_08-332_VASMIR_engine. html)
[15] Lindsay, Clark (2011-02-07). "RLV and Space Transport News" (http:/ / www. hobbyspace. com/ nucleus/ index. php?itemid=27038). .
Retrieved 2011-02-08. "About 100 NASA people are now working with AAR on the project. AAR is negotiating with NASA for a launcher and
the leading contender currently is Orbital Science's Taurus II. The VASIMR system will provide re-boost for the station plus it can also offer
access to its 50 kWh batteries when not in operation. The thruster can fire for up to 15 minutes at 200 kW. The lab prototype has exceeded
thruster output by a factor of two over the requirements set for the ISS version."
[16] Aviation Week - Vasimr Prototype Makes New Strides (Jun 16, 2010) (http:/ / www. aviationweek. com/ aw/ generic/ story. jsp?id=news/
asd/ 2010/ 06/ 16/ 12. xml& channel=space)
[17] Morring, Frank (2010). "Commercial Route". Aviation Week & Space Technology (McGraw Hill) 172 (6): 20–23.
[18] Irene Klotz (7 August 2008). "Plasma Rocket May Be Tested at Space Station" (http:/ / dsc. discovery. com/ news/ 2008/ 08/ 07/
plasma-rocket. html). Discovery News. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[19] Jared P. Squire, et al. (September 17–20, 2007). "Projected Lunar Cargo Capabilities of High-Power VASIMR Propulsion" (http:/ / www.
adastrarocket. com/ Tim_IEPC07. pdf). International Electric Propulsion Conference. . Retrieved 2010-02-27.
[20] Rocket Company Launches Stock Offering (http:/ / www. ticotimes. net/ Business-Real-Estate/
Rocket-Company-Launches-Stock-Offering_Friday-October-01-2010), TicoTimes (San Jose, Costa Rica), 2010-10-01, accessed 2010-10-02.

Additional resources
Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket 152

• Franklin R. Chang Díaz (November 2000). "The VASIMR Rocket" (

SciAm2000.pdf). Scientific American. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
• Johnson Space Center via (23 January 2006). "Agreement to Commercialize Advanced NASA
Rocket Concept; Former Astronaut Franklin-Chang Diaz to Lead Effort" (
viewpr.html?pid=18828). Press release. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
• Reuters (14 August 2007). "Plasma rocket breaks endurance record" (
ns?id=dn12064). New Scientist. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
• Erica Naone (25 September 2007). "Rocket scientist Franklin Chang Diaz talks about finding the power and
propulsion required to colonize space" ( Technology
Review. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
• Sandra Upson (June 2009). "Rockets For The Red Planet" (
space-flight/rockets-for-the-red-planet/0). IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
• Lisa Grossman (24 July 2009). "Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars" (http://www. New
Scientist. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
• David Shiga (5 October 2009). "Rocket company tests world's most powerful ion engine" (http://www.
New Scientist. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
• Mark Carreau (16 June 2010). "Vasimr Prototype Makes New Strides" (
generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/06/16/12.xml&headline=Vasimr Prototype
Makes New Strides). Aviation Week. Retrieved 2010-06-17.

External links
• Ad Astra Rocket Company (
• Comparison between the different types of rocket propulsion - Astra Rocket Company's technology section (http:/
• Video about the VASIMR rocket on the Science Channel [[Brink (television series)|Brink (http://science.]]
NASA documents
• Technical Paper: Rapid Mars Transits with Exhaust-Modulated Plasma Propulsion (PDF) (http://ston.jsc.nasa.
• Variable-Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (Tech Brief) (
• Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory: VASIMR (
• Propulsion Systems of the Future (
Plateau–Rayleigh instability 153

Plateau–Rayleigh instability
The Plateau–Rayleigh instability, often just called the Rayleigh instability, explains why and how a falling stream
of fluid breaks up into smaller packets with the same volume but less surface area. It is related to the
Rayleigh–Taylor instability. This fluid instability is exploited in the design of a particular type of ink jet technology
whereby a jet of liquid is perturbed into a steady stream of droplets.
The driving force of the Plateau–Rayleigh instability is that liquids, by virtue of their surface tensions, tend to
minimize their surface area. A considerable amount of work has been done recently on the final pinching profile by
attacking it with self similar solutions.

The Plateau–Rayleigh instability is named for Joseph Plateau and Lord Rayleigh. In 1873, Plateau found
experimentally that a vertically falling stream of water will break up into drops if its length is greater than about 3.13
to 3.18 times its diameter.[1] Later, Rayleigh showed theoretically that a vertically falling column of non-viscous
liquid with a circular cross-section should break up into drops if its length exceeded its circumference, or Pi times its
Plateau–Rayleigh instability 154

The explanation of this instability begins with the
existence of tiny perturbations in the stream.[3] [4] These
are always present, no matter how smooth the stream is. If
the perturbations are resolved into sinusoidal components,
we find that some components grow with time while
others decay with time. Among those that grow with time,
some grow at faster rates than others. Whether a
component decays or grows, and how fast it grows is
entirely a function of its wave number (a measure of how
many peaks and troughs per centimeter) and the radius of
the original cylindrical stream. The diagram to the right
shows an exaggeration of a single component.

By assuming that all possible components exist initially in

roughly equal (but minuscule) amplitudes, the size of the
final drops can be predicted by determining by wave
number which component grows the fastest. As time
progresses, it is the component whose growth rate is
maximum that will come to dominate and will eventually
be the one that pinches the stream into drops.[5]

Although a thorough understanding of how this happens

requires a mathematical development (see references[3] [5]
), the diagram can provide a conceptual understanding.
Intermediate stage of a jet breaking into drops. Radii of curvature
Observe the two bands shown girdling the stream—one at
in the axial direction are shown. Equation for the radius of the
a peak and the other at a trough of the wave. At the stream is , where is the radius of
trough, the radius of the stream is smaller, hence the unperturbed stream, is the amplitude of the perturbation,
according to the Young–Laplace equation (discussed is distance along the axis of the stream, and is the wave
above) the pressure due to surface tension is increased.
Likewise at the peak the radius of the stream is greater
and, by the same reasoning, pressure due to surface tension is reduced. If this were the only effect, we would expect
that the higher pressure in the trough would squeeze liquid into the lower pressure region in the peak. In this way we
see how the wave grows in amplitude over time.

But the Young-Laplace equation is influenced by two separate radius components. In this case one is the radius,
already discussed, of the stream itself. The other is the radius of curvature of the wave itself. The fitted arcs in the
diagram show these at a peak and at a trough. Observe that the radius of curvature at the trough is, in fact, negative,
meaning that, according to Young-Laplace, it actually decreases the pressure in the trough. Likewise the radius of
curvature at the peak is positive and increases the pressure in that region. The effect of these components is opposite
the effects of the radius of the stream itself.

The two effects, in general, do not exactly cancel. One of them will have greater magnitude than the other,
depending upon wave number and the initial radius of the stream. When the wave number is such that the radius of
curvature of the wave dominates that of the radius of the stream, such components will decay over time. When the
effect of the radius of the stream dominates that of the curvature of the wave, such components grow exponentially
with time.
When all the math is done, it is found that unstable components (that is, components that grow over time) are only
those where the product of the wave number with the initial radius is less than unity ( ). The component
Plateau–Rayleigh instability 155

that grows the fastest is the one whose wave number satisfies the equation:[5]

Water dripping from a faucet/tap

A special case of this is the formation of small droplets when water is
dripping from a faucet/tap. When a segment of water begins to separate
from the faucet, a neck is formed and then stretched. If the diameter of
the faucet is big enough, the neck doesn't get sucked back in, and it
undergoes a Plateau–Rayleigh instability and collapses into a small

[1] Retardation of Plateau–Rayleigh Instability: A Distinguishing Characteristic Among
Perfectly Wetting Fluids (http:/ / arxiv. org/ abs/ math/ 9701214) by John McCuan.
Retrieved 1/19/2007.
[2] See page 23 of this pdf (http:/ / sundoc. bibliothek. uni-halle. de/ diss-online/ 05/
05H104/ t3. pdf) Retrieved 1/19/2007.
[3] Pierre-Gilles de Gennes; Françoise Brochard-Wyart; David Quéré (2002). Capillary
and Wetting Phenomena — Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves. Springer.
ISBN 0-387-00592-7.
Water dropping from a tap.
[4] White, Harvey E. (1948). Modern College Physics. van Nostrand.
ISBN 0442294018.
[5] John W. M. Bush (May 2004). "MIT Lecture Notes on Surface Tension, lecture 5" (http:/ / web. mit. edu/ 1. 63/ www/ Lec-notes/
Surfacetension/ Lecture5. pdf) (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. . Retrieved April 1, 2007.

External links
• Plateau–Rayleigh Instability – a 3D lattice kinetic Monte Carlo simulation (
• Savart–Plateau–Rayleigh instability of a water column – Adaptive numerical simulation (http://gfs.sourceforge.
• An MIT lecture on falling fluid jets, including the Plateau -Rayleigh instability (
www/Lec-notes/Surfacetension/Lecture5.pdf) Pdf form, quite mathematical.
Nuclear weapons testing 156

Nuclear weapons testing

Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine the
effectiveness, yield and explosive capability of nuclear weapons.
Throughout the twentieth century, most nations that have developed
nuclear weapons have tested them. Testing nuclear weapons can yield
information about how the weapons work, as well as how the weapons
behave under various conditions and how structures behave when
subjected to nuclear explosions. Additionally, nuclear testing has often
been used as an indicator of scientific and military strength, and many
tests have been overtly political in their intention; most nuclear
weapons states publicly declared their nuclear status by means of a Preparation for an underground nuclear test at the
nuclear test. Nevada Test Site in the 1980s. Visible in the
photograph are the test monitoring equipment, as
The first nuclear weapon was detonated as a test by the United States at well as the subsidence craters created by previous
the Trinity site on July 16, 1945, with a yield approximately equivalent underground nuclear tests.

to 20 kilotons. The first hydrogen bomb, codenamed "Mike", was

tested at the Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands on November 1 (local date) in 1952, also by the United States.
The largest nuclear weapon ever tested was the "Tsar Bomba" of the Soviet Union at Novaya Zemlya on October 30,
1961, with an estimated yield of around 50 megatons.

In 1963, all nuclear and many non-nuclear states signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, pledging to refrain from testing
nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, or in outer space. The treaty permitted underground nuclear testing.
France continued atmospheric testing until 1974, China continued up until 1980.
Underground Tests in the United States continued until 1992 (its last nuclear testing), the Soviet Union in 1990, the
United Kingdom in 1991, and both China and France in 1996. After adopting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in
1996, all of these states have pledged to discontinue all nuclear testing. Non-signatories India and Pakistan last tested
nuclear weapons in 1998.
The most recent nuclear test was announced by North Korea on May 25, 2009.
Nuclear weapons testing 157

Types of nuclear weapons tests

Nuclear weapons tests have historically
been broken into categories (by treaties)
reflecting the medium or location of the test:
atmospheric, underwater, and underground.
• Atmospheric testing designates
explosions which take place in or above
the atmosphere. Generally these have
occurred as devices detonated on towers,
balloons, barges, islands, or dropped
from airplanes. A limited number of high
altitude nuclear explosions have also
been conducted, generally fired from
rockets. Nuclear explosions which are
close enough to the ground to draw dirt
and debris into their mushroom cloud can
generate large amounts of nuclear fallout
due to irradiation of the debris. High
altitude nuclear explosions can generate
an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), and
Four major types of nuclear testing: 1. atmospheric, 2. underground, 3.
exoatmospheric, and 4. underwater.
charged particles resulting from the blast
can cross hemispheres to create an
auroral display.

• Underwater testing results from nuclear devices being detonated underwater, usually moored to a ship or a barge
(which is subsequently destroyed by the explosion). Tests of this nature have usually been conducted to evaluate
the effects of nuclear weapons against naval vessels (such as in Operation Crossroads), or to evaluate potential
sea-based nuclear weapons (such as nuclear torpedoes or depth-charges). Underwater tests close to the surface can
disperse large amounts of radioactive water and steam, contaminating nearby ships or structures.
• Underground testing refers to nuclear tests which are conducted under the surface of the earth, at varying depths.
Underground nuclear testing made up the majority of nuclear tests by the United States and the Soviet Union
during the Cold War; other forms of nuclear testing were banned by the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. When
the explosion is fully contained, underground nuclear testing emits a negligible amount of fallout. However,
underground nuclear tests can "vent" to the surface, producing considerable amounts of radioactive debris as a
consequence. Underground testing can result in seismic activity depending on the yield of the nuclear device and
the composition of the medium it is detonated in, and generally result in the creation of subsidence craters.[1] In
1976, the United States and the USSR agreed to limit the maximum yield of underground tests to 150 kt with the
Threshold Test Ban Treaty.
Separately from these designations, nuclear tests are also often categorized by the purpose of the test itself. Tests
which are designed to garner information about how (and if) the weapons themselves work are weapons related
tests, while tests designed to gain information about the effects of the weapons themselves on structures or
organisms are known as weapons effects tests. Additional types of nuclear tests are possible as well (such as nuclear
tests which are also part of anti-ballistic missile testing).
Nuclear-weapons-related testing which purposely results in no yield is known as subcritical testing or cold testing,
referring to the lack of a creation of a critical mass of fissile material. Additionally, there have been simulations of
nuclear tests using conventional explosives (such as the Minor Scale U.S. test in 1985).
Nuclear weapons testing 158

The first nuclear weapons test was conducted in Alamogordo, New
Mexico, on July 16, 1945, during the Manhattan Project, and given the
codename "Trinity". The test was originally to confirm that the
implosion-type nuclear weapon design was feasible, and to give an
idea of what the actual size and effects of a nuclear explosion would be
before they were used in combat against Japan. While the test gave a
good approximation of many of the explosion's effects, it did not give
an appreciable understanding of nuclear fallout, which was not well
understood by the project scientists until well after the atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The United States conducted six nuclear tests before the Soviet Union
developed their first atomic bomb (RDS-1) and tested it on August 29,
1949. Neither country had very many nuclear weapons to spare at first,
and so testing was relatively infrequent (when the U.S. used two
The first nuclear test, "Trinity", took place on
weapons for Operation Crossroads in 1946, they were detonating over July 16, 1945.
20% of their current arsenal). However, by the 1950s the United States
had established a dedicated test site on its own territory (Nevada Test
Site) and was also using a site in the Marshall Islands (Pacific Proving Grounds) for extensive nuclear testing.

The early tests were used primarily to discern the military effects of nuclear weapons (Crossroads had involved the
effect of nuclear weapons on a navy, and how they functioned underwater) and to test new weapon designs. During
the 1950s these included new hydrogen bomb designs, which were tested in the Pacific, and also new and improved
fission weapon designs. The Soviet Union also began testing on a limited scale, primarily in Kazakhstan. During the
later phases of the Cold War, though, both countries developed accelerated testing programs, testing many hundreds
of bombs over the last half of the twentieth century.
Nuclear tests can involve many hazards. A number of these were
illustrated in the U.S. Castle Bravo test in 1954. The weapon design
tested was a new form of hydrogen bomb, and the scientists
underestimated how vigorously some of the weapon materials would
react. As a result, the explosion – with a yield of 15 Mt – was over
twice what was predicted. Aside from this problem, the weapon also
In 1954 the Castle Bravo fallout plume spread
dangerous levels of radiation over an area over
generated a large amount of radioactive nuclear fallout, more than had
100 miles long, including inhabited islands. been anticipated, and a change in the weather pattern caused the fallout
to be spread in a direction which had not been cleared in advance. The
fallout plume spread high levels of radiation for over a hundred miles, contaminating a number of populated islands
in nearby atoll formations (though they were soon evacuated, many of the islands' inhabitants suffered from radiation
burns and later from other effects such as increased cancer rate and birth defects), as well as a Japanese fishing boat
(Daigo Fukuryū Maru). One member of the boat's crew died from radiation sickness after returning to port, and it
was feared that the radioactive fish they had been carrying had made it into the Japanese food supply.
Nuclear weapons testing 159

Bravo was the worst U.S. nuclear accident, but many of its component
problems – unpredictably large yields, changing weather patterns,
unexpected fallout contamination of populations and the food supply –
occurred during other atmospheric nuclear weapons tests by other
countries as well. Concerns over worldwide fallout rates eventually led
to the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which limited signatories to
underground testing. Not all countries stopped atmospheric testing, but
because the United States and the Soviet Union were responsible for
roughly 86% of all nuclear tests their compliance cut the overall level Because of concerns about worldwide fallout
substantially. France continued atmospheric testing until 1974, and levels, the Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed in
1963. Above are the per capita thyroid doses (in
People's Republic of China until 1980.
rads) in the continental United States resulting
Almost all new nuclear powers have announced their possession of from all exposure routes from all atmospheric
nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site
nuclear weapons with a nuclear test. The only acknowledged nuclear
from 1951-1962.
power which claims never to have conducted a test was South Africa
(see Vela Incident), which has since dismantled all of its weapons.
Israel is widely thought to possess a sizeable nuclear arsenal, though it has never tested, unless they were involved in
Vela. Experts disagree on whether states can have reliable nuclear arsenals – especially ones using advanced
warhead designs, such as hydrogen bombs and miniaturized weapons – without testing, though all agree that it is
very unlikely to develop significant nuclear innovations without testing. One other approach is to use
supercomputers to conduct "virtual" testing, but codes need to be validated against test data.

Some nuclear tests have been for peaceful purposes. These peaceful
nuclear explosions were used to evaluate whether nuclear explosions
could be used for non-military purposes such as digging canals and
artificial harbors, or to stimulate oil and gas fields. The tests were
eventually abandoned for economic, political, and environmental

Nuclear testing has also been used for clearly political purposes. The
most explicit example of this was the detonation of the largest nuclear
bomb ever created, the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba, by the Soviet Union
The Sedan test of 1962 was an experiment by the in 1961. This weapon was too large to be practically used against an
United States in using nuclear weapons to
enemy target, and it is not thought that any were manufactured except
excavate large amounts of earth.
the one detonated in the test.

There have been many attempts to limit the number and size of nuclear tests; the most far-reaching was the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996, which was not ratified by the United States. Nuclear testing has since
become a controversial issue in the United States, with a number of politicians saying that future testing might be
necessary to maintain the aging warheads from the Cold War. Because nuclear testing is seen as furthering nuclear
arms development, many are also opposed to future testing as an acceleration of the arms race.
Nuclear weapons testing 160

Nuclear testing by country

The nuclear powers have conducted at least 2,000 nuclear test explosions (numbers are approximated, as some test
results have been disputed):
• United States: 1,054 tests by official count (involving at least
1,151 devices, 331 atmospheric tests), most at Nevada Test Site and
the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands, with 10 other
tests taking place at various locations in the United States, including
Amchitka Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, and New Mexico (see
Nuclear weapons and the United States for details).[3]
Over 2,000 nuclear explosions have been
• Soviet Union: 715 tests (involving 969 devices) by official conducted, in over a dozen different sites around
count,[4] most at Semipalatinsk Test Site and Novaya Zemlya, and a the world.
few more at various sites in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and
• France: 210 tests by official count (50 atmospheric, 160
underground[5] ), 4 atomic atmospheric tests at C.E.S.M. near
Reggane, 13 atomic underground tests at C.E.M.O. near In Ekker in
the then-French Algerian Sahara, and nuclear atmospheric tests at
Fangataufa and nuclear undersea tests Moruroa in French Polynesia.
Additional atomic and chemical warfare tests took place in the
"Baker Shot", part of Operation Crossroads, a
secret base B2-Namous, near Ben Wenif, other tests involving
nuclear test by the United States at Bikini Atoll in
rockets and missiles at C.I.E.E.S, near Hammaguir, both in the 1946
• United Kingdom: 45 tests (21 in Australian territory, including 9 in mainland South Australia at Maralinga
and Emu Field, some at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean, plus many others in the United States as part of
joint test series)[6]
• China: 45 tests (23 atmospheric and 22 underground, at Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base, in Malan,
Xinjiang)[7] [8]
• India: 6 underground tests (including the first one in 1974), at Pokhran.
• Pakistan: 6 underground tests, at Ras Koh Hills, Chagai District and Kharan Desert, Kharan District in
Balochistan Province.
• North Korea: two tests at Hwadae-ri.
Additionally, there may have been at least three alleged but unacknowledged nuclear explosions (see list of alleged
nuclear tests). Of these, the only one taken seriously as a possible nuclear test is the Vela Incident, a possible
detection of a nuclear explosion in the Indian Ocean in 1979.
From the first nuclear test in 1945 until tests by Pakistan in 1998, there was never a period of more than 22 months
with no nuclear testing. June 1998 to October 2006 was the longest period since 1945 with no acknowledged nuclear
Nuclear weapons testing 161

Compensation for victims

Over 500 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests were conducted at various sites around the world from 1945 to 1980.
As public awareness and concern mounted over the possible health hazards associated with exposure to the nuclear
fallout, various studies were done to assess the extent of the hazard. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/
National Cancer Institute study claims that nuclear fallout might have led to approximately 11,000 excess deaths,
most caused by thyroid cancer linked to exposure to iodine-131.[9]
• United States: As of March 2009, the U.S. is the only nation that compensates nuclear test victims. Since the
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990, more than $1.38 billion in compensation has been approved. The
money is going to people who took part in the tests, notably at the Nevada Test Site, and to others exposed to the
radiation.[10] [11]
• France: In March 2009, the French Government offered to compensate victims for the first time and legislation is
being drafted which would allow payments to people who suffered health problems related to the tests. The
payouts would be available to victims' descendants and would include Algerians, who were exposed to nuclear
testing in the Sahara in 1960. However, victims say the eligibility requirements for compensation are too
• Britain: There is no formal British government compensation program. However, nearly 1,000 veterans of
Christmas Island nuclear tests in the 1950s are planning to sue the Ministry of Defense for negligence. They say
they suffered health problems and were not warned of potential dangers before the experiments.[10]
• Russia: Decades later, Russia offered compensation to veterans who were part of the 1954 Totsk test. However,
there was no compensation to civilians sickened by the Totsk test. Anti-nuclear groups say there has been no
government compensation for other nuclear tests.[10]
Nuclear weapons testing 162

• China: China has undertaken highly secretive atomic tests in remote deserts in a Central Asian border province.
Anti-nuclear activists say there is no known government program for compensating victims.[10]

Milestone nuclear explosions

The following list is of milestone nuclear explosions. In addition to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, the first nuclear test of a given weapon type for a country is included, and tests which were otherwise
notable (such as the largest test ever). All yields (explosive power) are given in their estimated energy equivalents in
kilotons of TNT (see megaton). Putative tests (like Vela Incident) have not been included.

Date Name Yield Country Significance


1945-07-16 Trinity 19 USA First fission device test, first plutonium implosion detonation

1945-08-06 Little Boy 15 USA Bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, first detonation of an enriched uranium gun-type device,
first use of a nuclear device in military combat

1945-08-09 Fat Man 21 USA Bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, last use of a nuclear device in military combat

1946-07-01 Test Able 23 USA Bikini Atoll; the Crossroads tests were the fourth and fifth nuclear explosions conducted
by the United States. Their purpose was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on
naval ships. They were the first of many nuclear tests held in the Marshall Islands, and the
1946-07-25 Test Baker 23 USA first to be publicly announced beforehand and observed by an invited audience, including a
large press corps.

1949-08-29 RDS-1 22 USSR First fission weapon test by the USSR

1951-05-09 Test George 225 USA "George" shot was physics experiment relating to the hydrogen bomb.

1952-10-03 Hurricane 25 UK First fission weapon test by the UK

1952-11-01 Ivy Mike 10,400 USA First cryogenic fusion fuel "staged" thermonuclear weapon, primarily a test device and not

1953-08-12 Joe 4 400 USSR First fusion weapon test by the USSR (not "staged")

1954-03-01 Castle Bravo 15,000 USA First dry fusion fuel "staged" thermonuclear weapon; a serious nuclear fallout accident

1955-11-22 RDS-37 1,600 USSR First "staged" thermonuclear weapon test by the USSR (deployable)

1957-11-08 Grapple X 1,800 UK First (successful) "staged" thermonuclear weapon test by the UK

1960-02-13 Gerboise Bleue 70 France First fission weapon test by France

1961-10-31 Tsar Bomba 57,000 USSR Largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested—scaled down from its initial 100 Mt design by

1964-10-16 596 22 PR First fission weapon test by the People's Republic of China

1967-06-17 Test No. 6 3,300 PR First "staged" thermonuclear weapon test by the People's Republic of China

1968-08-24 Canopus 2,600 France First "staged" thermonuclear test by France

1974-05-18 Smiling 12 India First fission nuclear explosive test by India


1998-05-11 Pokhran-II [12] India First potential fusion/boosted weapon test by India; first deployable fission weapon test by

1998-05-28 Chagai-I Pakistan First fission weapon test by Pakistan

Nuclear weapons testing 163

2006-10-09 2006 North ~1 North First fission plutonium-based device tested by North Korea; likely resulted as a fizzle
Korean Korea
nuclear test

2009-05-25 2009 North 5–15 North First successful fission device tested by North Korea
Korean Korea
nuclear test

"Staging" refers to whether it was a "true" hydrogen bomb of the so-called Teller-Ulam configuration or simply a
form of a boosted fission weapon. For a more complete list of nuclear test series, see List of nuclear tests. Some
exact yield estimates, such as that of the Tsar Bomba and the tests by India and Pakistan in 1998, are somewhat
contested among specialists.

[1] For an overview of the preparations and considerations used in underground nuclear testing, see ""Underground Nuclear Weapons Testing"
(" (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ wmd/ systems/ nuke-testing. htm). . Retrieved 2006-10-19. For a longer and more
technical discussion, see U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (October 1989) (PDF). The Containment of Underground Nuclear
Explosions (http:/ / www. nv. doe. gov/ library/ publications/ historical/ OTA-ISC-414. pdf). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing
Office. .
[2] Kirsch, Scott (2005). Proving grounds: Project Plowshare and the unrealized dream of nuclear earthmoving. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers
University Press. ISBN 0-8135-3666-9.
[3] "Gallery of U.S. Nuclear Tests" (http:/ / nuclearweaponarchive. org/ Usa/ Tests/ index. html). . Retrieved
[4] "Soviet Nuclear Test Summary" (http:/ / nuclearweaponarchive. org/ Russia/ Sovtestsum. html). . Retrieved
[5] "N° 3571.- Rapport de MM. Christian Bataille et Henri Revol sur les incidences environnementales et sanitaires des essais nucléaires
effectués par la France entre 1960 et 1996 (Office d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques)" (http:/ / www. assemblee-nationale.
fr/ rap-oecst/ essais_nucleaires/ i3571. asp). . Retrieved 2010-10-21.
[6] "UK/US Agreement" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070607112924/ http:/ / www. awe. co. uk/ main_site/ about_awe/ history/ timeline/
1958/ index. html). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. awe. co. uk/ main_site/ about_awe/ history/ timeline/ 1958/
index. html) on 2007-06-07. . Retrieved 2010-10-21.
[7] Nuclear Weapons (http:/ / www. fas. org/ nuke/ guide/ china/ nuke/ index. html), see also Nuclear Weapons Test List (http:/ / www. fas. org/
nuke/ guide/ china/ nuke/ tests. htm)
[8] "Chinese Nuclear Tests Allegedly Cause 750,000 Deaths" (http:/ / www. theepochtimes. com/ n2/ content/ view/ 14535/ ) Epoch Times.
March 30, 2009.
[9] Exposure of the American Population to Radioactive Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests (http:/ / books. nap. edu/ catalog.
[10] What governments offer to victims of nuclear tests (http:/ / abcnews. go. com/ International/ wireStory?id=7159303)
[11] Radiation Exposure Compensation System: Claims to Date Summary of Claims Received by 06/11/2009 (http:/ / www. usdoj. gov/ civil/
omp/ omi/ Tre_SysClaimsToDateSum. pdf)
[12] [2010 test] Kakodkar says Pokhran-II tests fully successful], 24 September 2009
[13] Pakistan Nuclear Weapons (http:/ / www. fas. org/ nuke/ guide/ pakistan/ nuke/ ). Federation of American Scientists. December 11, 2002

• Gusterson, Hugh. Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War. Berkeley, CA: University of
California Press, 1996.
• Hacker, Barton C. Elements of Controversy: The Atomic Energy Commission and Radiation Safety in Nuclear
Weapons Testing, 1947-1974. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994.
• Schwartz, Stephen I. Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. Washington, D.C.:
Brookings Institution Press, 1998.
• Weart, Spencer R. Nuclear Fear: A History of Images. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.
Nuclear weapons testing 164

External links
• Video archive of US, Soviet, UK, Chines and French Nuclear Testing (
php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=39) at (
• Maps of sites tested (
• "We're all Downwinders Now" (
• Terrible Beauty: A-Bomb Tests (
terrible-beauty-a-bomb-tests) - slideshow by Life magazine
• Atomic Veterans History Project (United States) (
• Australian government database of nuclear explosions and tests (
nuclear-explosion.jsp) Australian
• Australian Nuclear Fallout Strontium 90 survey 1957-58 Child bones (
reports/sr90pubrep.pdf) Australian
• Australia's program of testing for Strontium 90, between 1957 and 1978, samples of childrens bones taken at
autopsy ( Australian
• The Bombing of the Monte Bello Islands ( Western
• Silent Storm - Film about CSIRO scientist Hedley Marston's top-secret fallout experiments (http://www. Australian
• Ionising Radiation and Health (
• Oklahoma Geological Survey Nuclear Explosion Catalog (
index.html) lists 2,199 explosions by date, country, location, yield etc.
• Table of Known Nuclear Tests Worldwide, from NRDC (
• Gallery of U.S. nuclear tests ( (with detailed
descriptions of each test series)
• Gallery and short descriptions of UK nuclear tests (
• Account of fallout from Nevada Test Site in 1955 (
• Soviet Nuclear Test Summary (
• Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal (
• Nuclear Testing ( at Nuclear
• Film footage of nuclear artillery test (
• What About Radiation on Bikini Atoll? (
• Nevada Desert Experience Nevada Desert Experience (
• Western States Legal Foundation (
• The Nuclear Weapon Archive (
• United Nations Leadup to Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 22 September 1995 General Conference
• Time-lapse map of the 2053 confirmed nuclear explosions since 1945 (
• Annotated bibliography for nuclear weapons testing from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues (http://
Earthquake 165

An earthquake (also known as a quake,
tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden
release of energy in the Earth's crust that
creates seismic waves. The seismicity or
seismic activity of an area refers to the
frequency, type and size of earthquakes
experienced over a period of time.
Earthquakes are measured with a
seismometer; a device that also records is
called a seismograph. The moment
magnitude (or the related and mostly
obsolete Richter magnitude) of an
earthquake is conventionally reported, with Global earthquake epicenters, 1963–1998

magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being

mostly imperceptible and magnitude 7
causing serious damage over large areas.
Intensity of shaking is measured on the
modified Mercalli scale. The depth of the
earthquake also matters: the more shallow
the earthquake, the more damage to
structures (all else being equal).[1]

At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest

themselves by shaking and sometimes
displacing the ground. When a large
earthquake epicenter is located offshore, the
seabed sometimes suffers sufficient
displacement to cause a tsunami. The
shaking in earthquakes can also trigger Global plate tectonic movement

landslides and occasionally volcanic


In its most generic sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event—whether a natural phenomenon
or an event caused by humans—that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of
geological faults, but also by volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests. An earthquake's point of
initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. The term epicenter refers to the point at ground level directly above
the hypocenter.
Earthquake 166

Naturally occurring earthquakes

Tectonic earthquakes occur anywhere in the earth where there is sufficient
stored elastic strain energy to drive fracture propagation along a fault plane. In
the case of transform or convergent type plate boundaries, which form the
largest fault surfaces on earth, they move past each other smoothly and
aseismically only if there are no irregularities or asperities along the boundary
that increase the frictional resistance. Most boundaries do have such asperities
and this leads to a form of stick-slip behaviour. Once the boundary has locked,
continued relative motion between the plates leads to increasing stress and
therefore, stored strain energy in the volume around the fault surface. This
continues until the stress has risen sufficiently to break through the asperity,
suddenly allowing sliding over the locked portion of the fault, releasing the
stored energy. This energy is released as a combination of radiated elastic
strain seismic waves, frictional heating of the fault surface, and cracking of the
rock, thus causing an earthquake. This process of gradual build-up of strain
and stress punctuated by occasional sudden earthquake failure is referred to as
the Elastic-rebound theory. It is estimated that only 10 percent or less of an
earthquake's total energy is radiated as seismic energy. Most of the
earthquake's energy is used to power the earthquake fracture growth or is
converted into heat generated by friction. Therefore, earthquakes lower the
Earth's available elastic potential energy and raise its temperature, though
these changes are negligible compared to the conductive and convective flow
of heat out from the Earth's deep interior.[2]

Fault types

Earthquake fault types

There are three main types of fault that may cause an earthquake: normal, reverse (thrust) and strike-slip. Normal and
reverse faulting are examples of dip-slip, where the displacement along the fault is in the direction of dip and
movement on them involves a vertical component. Normal faults occur mainly in areas where the crust is being
extended such as a divergent boundary. Reverse faults occur in areas where the crust is being shortened such as at a
convergent boundary. Strike-slip faults are steep structures where the two sides of the fault slip horizontally past
each other; transform boundaries are a particular type of strike-slip fault. Many earthquakes are caused by movement
on faults that have components of both dip-slip and strike-slip; this is known as oblique slip.

Earthquakes away from plate boundaries

Where plate boundaries occur within continental lithosphere, deformation is spread out over a much larger area than
the plate boundary itself. In the case of the San Andreas fault continental transform, many earthquakes occur away
from the plate boundary and are related to strains developed within the broader zone of deformation caused by major
irregularities in the fault trace (e.g., the “Big bend” region). The Northridge earthquake was associated with
movement on a blind thrust within such a zone. Another example is the strongly oblique convergent plate boundary
between the Arabian and Eurasian plates where it runs through the northwestern part of the Zagros mountains. The
deformation associated with this plate boundary is partitioned into nearly pure thrust sense movements perpendicular
to the boundary over a wide zone to the southwest and nearly pure strike-slip motion along the Main Recent Fault
close to the actual plate boundary itself. This is demonstrated by earthquake focal mechanisms.[3]
All tectonic plates have internal stress fields caused by their interactions with neighbouring plates and sedimentary
loading or unloading (e.g. deglaciation[4] ). These stresses may be sufficient to cause failure along existing fault
Earthquake 167

planes, giving rise to intraplate earthquakes.[5]

Shallow-focus and deep-focus earthquakes

The majority of tectonic earthquakes originate at the ring of fire in depths not exceeding tens of kilometers.
Earthquakes occurring at a depth of less than 70 km are classified as 'shallow-focus' earthquakes, while those with a
focal-depth between 70 and 300 km are commonly termed 'mid-focus' or 'intermediate-depth' earthquakes. In
subduction zones, where older and colder oceanic crust descends beneath another tectonic plate, deep-focus
earthquakes may occur at much greater depths (ranging from 300 up to 700 kilometers).[6] These seismically active
areas of subduction are known as Wadati-Benioff zones. Deep-focus earthquakes occur at a depth where the
subducted lithosphere should no longer be brittle, due to the high temperature and pressure. A possible mechanism
for the generation of deep-focus earthquakes is faulting caused by olivine undergoing a phase transition into a spinel

Earthquakes and volcanic activity

Earthquakes often occur in volcanic regions and are caused there, both by tectonic faults and the movement of
magma in volcanoes. Such earthquakes can serve as an early warning of volcanic eruptions, as during the Mount St.
Helens eruption of 1980.[8] Earthquake swarms can serve as markers for the location of the flowing magma
throughout the volcanoes. These swarms can be recorded by seismometers and tiltmeters (a device that measures
ground slope) and used as sensors to predict imminent or upcoming eruptions.[9]

Rupture dynamics
A tectonic earthquake begins by an initial rupture at a point on the fault surface, a process known as nucleation. The
scale of the nucleation zone is uncertain, with some evidence, such as the rupture dimensions of the smallest
earthquakes, suggesting that it is smaller than 100 m while other evidence, such as a slow component revealed by
low-frequency spectra of some earthquakes, suggest that it is larger. The possibility that the nucleation involves
some sort of preparation process is supported by the observation that about 40% of earthquakes are preceded by
foreshocks. Once the rupture has initiated it begins to propagate along the fault surface. The mechanics of this
process are poorly understood, partly because it is difficult to recreate the high sliding velocities in a laboratory. Also
the effects of strong ground motion make it very difficult to record information close to a nucleation zone.[10]
Rupture propagation is generally modelled using a fracture mechanics approach, likening the rupture to a
propagating mixed mode shear crack. The rupture velocity is a function of the fracture energy in the volume around
the crack tip, increasing with decreasing fracture energy. The velocity of rupture propagation is orders of magnitude
faster than the displacement velocity across the fault. Earthquake ruptures typically propagate at velocities that are in
the range 70–90 % of the S-wave velocity and this is independent of earthquake size. A small subset of earthquake
ruptures appear to have propagated at speeds greater than the S-wave velocity. These supershear earthquakes have all
been observed during large strike-slip events. The unusually wide zone of coseismic damage caused by the 2001
Kunlun earthquake has been attributed to the effects of the sonic boom developed in such earthquakes. Some
earthquake ruptures travel at unusually low velocities and are referred to as slow earthquakes. A particularly
dangerous form of slow earthquake is the tsunami earthquake, observed where the relatively low felt intensities,
caused by the slow propagation speed of some great earthquakes, fail to alert the population of the neighbouring
coast, as in the 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake.[10]
Earthquake 168

Earthquake clusters
Most earthquakes form part of a sequence, related to each other in terms of location and time.[11] Most earthquake
clusters consist of small tremors that cause little to no damage, but there is a theory that earthquakes can recur in a
regular pattern.[12]

An aftershock is an earthquake that occurs after a previous earthquake, the mainshock. An aftershock is in the same
region of the main shock but always of a smaller magnitude. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the
aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock. Aftershocks
are formed as the crust around the displaced fault plane adjusts to the effects of the main shock.[11]

Earthquake swarms
Earthquake swarms are sequences of earthquakes striking in a specific area within a short period of time. They are
different from earthquakes followed by a series of aftershocks by the fact that no single earthquake in the sequence is
obviously the main shock, therefore none have notable higher magnitudes than the other. An example of an
earthquake swarm is the 2004 activity at Yellowstone National Park.[13]

Earthquake storms
Sometimes a series of earthquakes occur in a sort of earthquake storm, where the earthquakes strike a fault in
clusters, each triggered by the shaking or stress redistribution of the previous earthquakes. Similar to aftershocks but
on adjacent segments of fault, these storms occur over the course of years, and with some of the later earthquakes as
damaging as the early ones. Such a pattern was observed in the sequence of about a dozen earthquakes that struck the
North Anatolian Fault in Turkey in the 20th century and has been inferred for older anomalous clusters of large
earthquakes in the Middle East.[14] [15]

Size and frequency of occurrence

There are around 500,000 earthquakes each year. About 100,000 of these can actually be felt.[16] [17] Minor
earthquakes occur nearly constantly around the world in places like California and Alaska in the U.S., as well as in
Guatemala. Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, the Azores in Portugal, Turkey, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, and
Japan, but earthquakes can occur almost anywhere, including New York City, London, and Australia.[18] Larger
earthquakes occur less frequently, the relationship being exponential; for example, roughly ten times as many
earthquakes larger than magnitude 4 occur in a particular time period than earthquakes larger than magnitude 5. In
the (low seismicity) United Kingdom, for example, it has been calculated that the average recurrences are: an
earthquake of 3.7 - 4.6 every year, an earthquake of 4.7 - 5.5 every 10 years, and an earthquake of 5.6 or larger every
100 years.[19] This is an example of the Gutenberg-Richter law.
The number of seismic stations has increased from about 350 in 1931
to many thousands today. As a result, many more earthquakes are
reported than in the past, but this is because of the vast improvement in
instrumentation, rather than an increase in the number of earthquakes.
The USGS estimates that, since 1900, there have been an average of 18
major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0-7.9) and one great earthquake
(magnitude 8.0 or greater) per year, and that this average has been
relatively stable.[21] In recent years, the number of major earthquakes
The Messina earthquake and tsunami took as
per year has decreased, though this probably a statistical fluctuation many as 200,000 lives on December 28, 1908 in
rather than a systematic trend. More detailed statistics on the size and Sicily and Calabria.
frequency of earthquakes is available from the USGS.[22]
Earthquake 169

Most of the world's earthquakes (90%, and 81% of the largest) take place in the 40,000-km-long, horseshoe-shaped
zone called the circum-Pacific seismic belt, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, which for the most part bounds the
Pacific Plate.[23] [24] Massive earthquakes tend to occur along other plate boundaries, too, such as along the
Himalayan Mountains.[25]
With the rapid growth of mega-cities such as Mexico City, Tokyo and Tehran, in areas of high seismic risk, some
seismologists are warning that a single quake may claim the lives of up to 3 million people.[26]

Induced seismicity
While most earthquakes are caused by movement of the Earth's tectonic plates, human activity can also produce
earthquakes. Four main activities contribute to this phenomenon: constructing large dams and buildings, drilling and
injecting liquid into wells, and by coal mining and oil drilling.[27] Perhaps the best known example is the 2008
Sichuan earthquake in China's Sichuan Province in May; this tremor resulted in 69,227 fatalities and is the 19th
deadliest earthquake of all time. The Zipingpu Dam is believed to have fluctuated the pressure of the fault 1650 feet
(503 m) away; this pressure probably increased the power of the earthquake and accelerated the rate of movement for
the fault.[28] The greatest earthquake in Australia's history was also induced by humanity, through coal mining. The
city of Newcastle was built over a large sector of coal mining areas. The earthquake spawned from a fault that
reactivated due to the millions of tonnes of rock removed in the mining process.[29]

Measuring and locating earthquakes

Earthquakes can be recorded by seismometers up to great distances, because seismic waves travel through the whole
Earth's interior. The absolute magnitude of a quake is conventionally reported by numbers on the Moment magnitude
scale (formerly Richter scale, magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas), whereas the felt magnitude is
reported using the modified Mercalli intensity scale (intensity II-XII).
Every tremor produces different types of seismic waves, which travel through rock with different velocities:
• Longitudinal P-waves (shock- or pressure waves)
• Transverse S-waves (both body waves)
• Surface waves—(Rayleigh and Love waves)
Propagation velocity of the seismic waves ranges from approx. 3 km/s up to 13 km/s, depending on the density and
elasticity of the medium. In the Earth's interior the shock- or P waves travel much faster than the S waves (approx.
relation 1.7 : 1). The differences in travel time from the epicentre to the observatory are a measure of the distance
and can be used to image both sources of quakes and structures within the Earth. Also the depth of the hypocenter
can be computed roughly.
In solid rock P-waves travel at about 6 to 7 km per second; the velocity increases within the deep mantle to
~13 km/s. The velocity of S-waves ranges from 2–3 km/s in light sediments and 4–5 km/s in the Earth's crust up to
7 km/s in the deep mantle. As a consequence, the first waves of a distant earth quake arrive at an observatory via the
Earth's mantle.
Rule of thumb: On the average, the kilometer distance to the earthquake is the number of seconds between the P and
S wave times 8.[30] Slight deviations are caused by inhomogeneities of subsurface structure. By such analyses of
seismograms the Earth's core was located in 1913 by Beno Gutenberg.
Earthquakes are not only categorized by their magnitude but also by the place where they occur. The world is
divided into 754 Flinn-Engdahl regions (F-E regions), which are based on political and geographical boundaries as
well as seismic activity. More active zones are divided into smaller F-E regions whereas less active zones belong to
larger F-E regions.
Earthquake 170

Effects of earthquakes
The effects of earthquakes include, but are not limited to, the

Shaking and ground rupture

Shaking and ground rupture are the main effects created by
earthquakes, principally resulting in more or less severe damage to
buildings and other rigid structures. The severity of the local effects
depends on the complex combination of the earthquake magnitude, the
1755 copper engraving depicting Lisbon in ruins
distance from the epicenter, and the local geological and
and in flames after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake,
geomorphological conditions, which may amplify or reduce wave which killed an estimated 60,000 people. A
propagation.[31] The ground-shaking is measured by ground tsunami overwhelms the ships in the harbor.

Specific local geological, geomorphological, and geostructural features can induce high levels of shaking on the
ground surface even from low-intensity earthquakes. This effect is called site or local amplification. It is principally
due to the transfer of the seismic motion from hard deep soils to soft superficial soils and to effects of seismic energy
focalization owing to typical geometrical setting of the deposits.
Ground rupture is a visible breaking and displacement of the Earth's surface along the trace of the fault, which may
be of the order of several metres in the case of major earthquakes. Ground rupture is a major risk for large
engineering structures such as dams, bridges and nuclear power stations and requires careful mapping of existing
faults to identify any likely to break the ground surface within the life of the structure.[32]

Landslides and avalanches

Earthquakes, along with severe storms, volcanic activity, coastal wave attack, and wildfires, can produce slope
instability leading to landslides, a major geological hazard. Landslide danger may persist while emergency personnel
are attempting rescue.[33]

Earthquakes can cause fires by damaging electrical power or gas lines.
In the event of water mains rupturing and a loss of pressure, it may also
become difficult to stop the spread of a fire once it has started. For
example, more deaths in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake were
caused by fire than by the earthquake itself.[34]

Soil liquefaction
Soil liquefaction occurs when, because of the shaking, water-saturated
granular material (such as sand) temporarily loses its strength and Fires of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
transforms from a solid to a liquid. Soil liquefaction may cause rigid
structures, like buildings and bridges, to tilt or sink into the liquefied deposits. This can be a devastating effect of
earthquakes. For example, in the 1964 Alaska earthquake, soil liquefaction caused many buildings to sink into the
ground, eventually collapsing upon themselves.[35]
Earthquake 171

Tsunamis are long-wavelength, long-period sea waves produced by the
sudden or abrupt movement of large volumes of water. In the open
ocean the distance between wave crests can surpass 100 kilometers (62
miles), and the wave periods can vary from five minutes to one hour.
Such tsunamis travel 600-800 kilometers per hour (373–497 miles per
hour), depending on water depth. Large waves produced by an
earthquake or a submarine landslide can overrun nearby coastal areas
in a matter of minutes. Tsunamis can also travel thousands of
kilometers across open ocean and wreak destruction on far shores
The tsunami of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
hours after the earthquake that generated them.[36]

Ordinarily, subduction earthquakes under magnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale do not cause tsunamis, although some
instances of this have been recorded. Most destructive tsunamis are caused by earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 or

A flood is an overflow of any amount of water that reaches land.[37] Floods occur usually when the volume of water
within a body of water, such as a river or lake, exceeds the total capacity of the formation, and as a result some of the
water flows or sits outside of the normal perimeter of the body. However, floods may be secondary effects of
earthquakes, if dams are damaged. Earthquakes may cause landslips to dam rivers, which collapse and cause
The terrain below the Sarez Lake in Tajikistan is in danger of catastrophic flood if the landslide dam formed by the
earthquake, known as the Usoi Dam, were to fail during a future earthquake. Impact projections suggest the flood
could affect roughly 5 million people.[39]
Earthquake 172

Tidal forces
Research work has shown a robust correlation between small tidally induced forces and non-volcanic tremor
activity.[40] [41] [42] [43]

Human impacts
Earthquakes may lead to disease, lack of basic necessities, loss of life,
higher insurance premiums, general property damage, road and bridge
damage, and collapse or destabilization (potentially leading to future
collapse) of buildings. Earthquakes can also precede volcanic
eruptions, which cause further problems; for example, substantial crop
damage, as in the "Year Without a Summer" (1816).[44]

Major earthquakes
One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred on 23
January 1556 in the Shaanxi province, China, killing more than
830,000 people (see 1556 Shaanxi earthquake).[45] Most of the
population in the area at the time lived in yaodongs, artificial caves in
loess cliffs, many of which collapsed during the catastrophe with great
loss of life. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake, with death toll estimated
to be between 240,000 to 655,000, is believed to be the largest Damaged infrastructure, one week after the 2007
earthquake of the 20th century by death toll.[46] Peru earthquake

The largest earthquake that has been measured on a seismograph

reached 9.5 magnitude, occurring on 22 May 1960.[16] [17] Its epicenter was near Cañete, Chile. The energy released
was approximately twice that of the next most powerful earthquake, the Good Friday Earthquake, which was
centered in Prince William Sound, Alaska.[47] [48] The ten largest recorded earthquakes have all been megathrust
earthquakes; however, of these ten, only the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake is simultaneously one of the deadliest
earthquakes in history.

Earthquakes that caused the greatest loss of life, while powerful, were deadly because of their proximity to either
heavily populated areas or the ocean, where earthquakes often create tsunamis that can devastate communities
thousands of miles away. Regions most at risk for great loss of life include those where earthquakes are relatively
rare but powerful, and poor regions with lax, unenforced, or nonexistent seismic building codes.

To predict the likelihood of future seismic activity, geologists and other scientists examine the rock of an area to
determine if the rock appears "strained." Studying the faults of an area to study the buildup time it takes for the fault
to build up stress sufficient for an earthquake also serves as an effective prediction technique.[49] Measurements of
the amount of accumulated strain energy on the fault each year, time passed since the last major temblor, and the
energy and power of the last earthquake are made.[49] Together the facts allow scientists to determine how much
pressure it takes for the fault to generate an earthquake. Though this method is useful, it has only been implemented
on California's San Andreas Fault.[49]
Today, there are ways to protect and prepare possible sites of earthquakes from severe damage, through the
following processes: earthquake engineering, earthquake preparedness, household seismic safety, seismic retrofit
(including special fasteners, materials, and techniques), seismic hazard, mitigation of seismic motion, and earthquake
prediction. Seismic retrofitting is the modification of existing structures to make them more resistant to seismic
Earthquake 173

activity, ground motion, or soil failure due to earthquakes. With better understanding of seismic demand on
structures and with our recent experiences with large earthquakes near urban centers, the need of seismic retrofitting
is well acknowledged. Prior to the introduction of modern seismic codes in the late 1960s for developed countries
(US, Japan etc.) and late 1970s for many other parts of the world (Turkey, China etc.),[50] many structures were
designed without adequate detailing and reinforcement for seismic protection. In view of the imminent problem,
various research work has been carried out. Furthermore, state-of-the-art technical guidelines for seismic assessment,
retrofit and rehabilitation have been published around the world - such as the ASCE-SEI 41[51] and the New Zealand
Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE)'s guidelines.[52]


Pre-Middle Ages
From the lifetime of the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras in the 5th
century BCE to the 14th century CE, earthquakes were usually
attributed to "air (vapors) in the cavities of the Earth."[53] Thales of
Miletus, who lived from 625-547 (BCE) was the only documented
person who believed that earthquakes were caused by tension between
the earth and water.[53] Other theories existed, including the Greek
philosopher Anaxamines' (585-526 BCE) beliefs that short incline
episodes of dryness and wetness caused seismic activity. The Greek
philosopher Democritus (460-371BCE) blamed water in general for
earthquakes.[53] Pliny the Elder called earthquakes "underground
thunderstorms."[53] An image from a 1557 book

Earthquakes in culture

Mythology and religion

In Norse mythology, earthquakes were explained as the violent struggling of the god Loki. When Loki, god of
mischief and strife, murdered Baldr, god of beauty and light, he was punished by being bound in a cave with a
poisonous serpent placed above his head dripping venom. Loki's wife Sigyn stood by him with a bowl to catch the
poison, but whenever she had to empty the bowl the poison dripped on Loki's face, forcing him to jerk his head away
and thrash against his bonds, which caused the earth to tremble.[54]
In Greek mythology, Poseidon was the cause and god of earthquakes. When he was in a bad mood, he struck the
ground with a trident, causing earthquakes and other calamities. He also used earthquakes to punish and inflict fear
upon people as revenge.[55]
In Japanese mythology, Namazu (鯰) is a giant catfish who causes earthquakes. Namazu lives in the mud beneath
the earth, and is guarded by the god Kashima who restrains the fish with a stone. When Kashima lets his guard fall,
Namazu thrashes about, causing violent earthquakes.
Earthquake 174

Popular culture
In modern popular culture, the portrayal of earthquakes is shaped by the memory of great cities laid waste, such as
Kobe in 1995 or San Francisco in 1906.[56] Fictional earthquakes tend to strike suddenly and without warning.[56]
For this reason, stories about earthquakes generally begin with the disaster and focus on its immediate aftermath, as
in Short Walk to Daylight (1972), The Ragged Edge (1968) or Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1998).[56] A
notable example is Heinrich von Kleist's classic novella, The Earthquake in Chile, which describes the destruction of
Santiago in 1647. Haruki Murakami's short fiction collection, After the Quake, depicts the consequences of the Kobe
earthquake of 1995.
The most popular single earthquake in fiction is the hypothetical "Big One" expected of California's San Andreas
Fault someday, as depicted in the novels Richter 10 (1996) and Goodbye California (1977) among other works.[56]
Jacob M. Appel's widely anthologized short story, A Comparative Seismology, features a con artist who convinces an
elderly woman that an apocalyptic earthquake is imminent.[57] In Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay, one of the stories
in Jim Shepard's Like You'd Understand, Anyway, the "Big One" leads to an even more devastating tsunami.
In the film 2012 (2009), solar flares (geologically implausibly) affecting the Earth's core caused massive
destabilization of the Earth's crust layers. This created destruction planet-wide with earthquakes and tsunamis,
foreseen by the Mayan culture and myth surrounding the last year noted in the Mesoamerican calendar - 2012.
Contemporary depictions of earthquakes in film are variable in the manner in which they reflect human
psychological reactions to the actual trauma that can be caused to directly afflicted families and their loved ones.[58]
Disaster mental health response research emphasizes the need to be aware of the different roles of loss of family and
key community members, loss of home and familiar surroundings, loss of essential supplies and services to maintain
survival.[59] [60] Particularly for children, the clear availability of caregiving adults who are able to protect, nourish,
and clothe them in the aftermath of the earthquake, and to help them make sense of what has befallen them has been
shown even more important to their emotional and physical health than the simple giving of provisions.[61] As was
observed after other disasters involving destruction and loss of life and their media depictions, such as those of the
2001 World Trade Center Attacks or Hurricane Katrina—and has been recently observed in the 2010 Haiti
Earthquake, it is also important not to pathologize the reactions to loss and displacement or disruption of
governmental administration and services, but rather to validate these reactions, to support constructive
problem-solving and reflection as to how one might improve the conditions of those affected.[62]

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[12] "Repeating Earthquakes" (http:/ / earthquake. usgs. gov/ research/ parkfield/ repeat. php). United States Geological Survey. January 29,
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[27] Madrigal, Alexis (4 June 2008). "Top 5 Ways to Cause a Man-Made Earthquake" (http:/ / blog. wired. com/ wiredscience/ 2008/ 06/
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[29] Brendan Trembath (January 9, 2007). "Researcher claims mining triggered 1989 Newcastle earthquake" (http:/ / www. abc. net. au/ am/
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[33] "Natural Hazards - Landslides" (http:/ / www. usgs. gov/ hazards/ landslides/ ). USGS. . Retrieved 2008-09-15.
[34] "The Great 1906 San Francisco earthquake of 1906" (http:/ / earthquake. usgs. gov/ regional/ nca/ 1906/ 18april/ index. php). USGS. .
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[35] "Historic Earthquakes -1946 Anchorage Earthquake" (http:/ / earthquake. usgs. gov/ regional/ states/ events/ 1964_03_28. php). USGS. .
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[36] Noson, Qamar, and Thorsen (1988). Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Information Circular 85. Washington State
Earthquake Hazards.
[37] MSN Encarta Dictionary. Flood (http:/ / encarta. msn. com/ encnet/ features/ dictionary/ DictionaryResults. aspx?refid=1861612277).
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[38] "Notes on Historical Earthquakes" (http:/ / www. quakes. bgs. ac. uk/ earthquakes/ historical/ historical_listing. htm). British Geological
Survey. . Retrieved 2008-09-15.
[39] "Fresh alert over Tajik flood threat" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ asia-pacific/ 3120693. stm). BBC News. 2003-08-03. . Retrieved
[40] Thomas, Amanda M.; Bürgmann, Roland; Nadeau, Robert M. (December 24, 2009). "Tremor-tide correlations and near-lithostatic pore
pressure on the deep San Andreas fault" (http:/ / www. nature. com/ nature/ journal/ v462/ n7276/ full/ nature08654. html). Nature 462 (7276):
pp. 1048–1051. doi:10.1038/nature08654. PMID 20033046. . Retrieved December 29, 2009
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[42] Tamrazyan, Gurgen P. (1967). "Tide-forming forces and earthquakes". ICARUS (Elsevier) 7: pp. 59–65
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[43] Tamrazyan, Gurgen P. (1968). "Principal Regularities in the Distribution of Major Earthquakes Relative to Solar and Lunar Tides and Other
Cosmic Forces". ICARUS (Elsevier) 9: pp. 574–592
[44] "Facts about The Year Without a Summer" (http:/ / www. discoverychannel. co. uk/ earth/ year_without_summer/ facts/ index. shtml).
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[45] " Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths (http:/ / earthquake. usgs. gov/ earthquakes/ world/ most_destructive. php)". U.S. Geological
[46] Spignesi, Stephen J. [2005] (2005). Catastrophe!: The 100 Greatest Disasters of All Time. ISBN 0806525584
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General references
• Donald Hyndman, David Hyndman (2009). "Chapter 3: Earthquakes and their causes" (
com/?id=8jg5oRWHXmcC&pg=PT54&q=). Natural Hazards and Disasters (2nd ed.). Brooks/Cole: Cengage
Learning. ISBN 0495316679.

External links

• How to survive an earthquake - Guide for children and youth (
• Earthquakes (—an educational booklet by Kaye M. Shedlock & Louis C.
• The Severity of an Earthquake (
• USGS Earthquake FAQs (
• IRIS Seismic Monitor ( - maps all earthquakes in the past five years.
• Latest Earthquakes in the World ( - maps all earthquakes
in the past week.
• Earthquake Information from the Deep Ocean Exploration Institute (
do?pid=12460), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
• Geo.Mtu.Edu (—How to locate an earthquake's epicenter
• Photos/images of historic earthquakes (
Earthquake 177

• ( Answers to FAQs about Earthquakes and

Earthquake Preparedness
• Interactive guide: Earthquakes (,5860,1121610,00.html) - an educational
presentation by Guardian Unlimited
• Geowall (—an educational 3D presentation system for
looking at and understanding earthquake data
• Virtual Earthquake ( - educational site explaining
how epicenters are located and magnitude is determined
• CBC Digital Archives—Canada's Earthquakes and Tsunamis (
• Earthquakes Educational Resources - dmoz (
• USGS: Earthquakes for Kids (

Seismological data centers

• International Seismological Centre (ISC) (
• European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) (
• Global Seismic Monitor at GFZ Potsdam (
• Global Earthquake Report–chart (
• Earthquakes in Iceland during the last 48 hours (
• Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Italy (
• Portuguese Meteorological Institute (Seismic activity during the last month) (

• Earthquake Information of Japan, Japan Meteorological Agency (
• International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (IISEE) (
• Building Research Institute (
• Database for the damage of world earthquake, ancient period (3000 BC) to year of 2006 (http://iisee.kenken.go.
jp/utsu/)- Building Research Institute (Japan) (建築研究所) in Japanese
• Seismic activity in last 7 days - Weathernews Inc. (, indicated with circled
shindo (震度)) scale, magnitude (M) and its location.
• Weathernews Inc, Global web site (

New Zealand
• GeoNet - New Zealand Earthquake Report (latest and recent quakes) (

United States
• The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center (
• Southern California Earthquake Data Center (
• The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) (
• Broadband Seismic Data Collection Center, San Diego, California (ANZA network) (
• Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country ( An Earthquake
Science and Preparedness Handbook produced by SCEC
Earthquake 178

• Recent earthquakes in California and Nevada (

• Seismograms for recent earthquakes via REV, the Rapid Earthquake Viewer (
• Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) (, earthquake database and
• IRIS Seismic Monitor ( - world map of recent earthquakes
• SeismoArchives ( - seismogram archives of significant earthquakes of the world

Seismic scales
• The European Macroseismic Scale (

Scientific information
• "Earthquake Magnitudes and the Gutenberg-Richter Law" ( SimScience (http:// Archived from the original (
Earthquakes/GutenbergRichter.html) on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-14.
• Hiroo Kanamori, Emily E. Brodsky (June 2001). "The Physics of Earthquakes" (
bypassSSO=1). Physics Today 54 (6): 34. doi:10.1063/1.1387590.

• Reports on China Sichuan earthquake 12/05/2008 (
• Kashmir Relief & Development Foundation (KRDF) (
• ( of the moon or the planets affect
seismicity: from USGS
• ( Earthquake Solar flares and Moon
Phase related study by Dr A Rajagopal Kamath
• PBS NewsHour - Predicting Earthquakes (
• USGS–Largest earthquakes in the world since 1900 (
• The Destruction of Earthquakes ( - a list of the worst
earthquakes ever recorded
• Los Angeles Earthquakes plotted on a Google map (
• the EM-DAT International Disaster Database (
• Earthquake Newspaper Articles Archive (
• (
• ( official PETSAAF system, which relies on strange or atypical
animal behavior to predict earthquakes.
• A series of earthquakes in southern Italy - 23 November 1980, Gesualdo (
• Recent Quakes WorldWide (
• Real-time earthquakes on Google Map, Australia and rest of the world (
• Earthquake Information ( - detailed statistics and integrated with Google Maps and
Google Earth
• Kharita - INGV portal for Digital Cartography ( - Last
earthquakes recorded by INGV Italian Network (with Google Maps)
Earthquake 179

• Kharita - INGV portal for Digital Cartography ( - Italian

Seismicity by region 1981-2006 (with Google Maps)
• Earthquakes In The Last Week (
• Interactive world map, showing recent earthquakes (day/week/month) (
maptrigtime.php)–Quake-Catcher Network, BOINC

A tsunami (Japanese: 津波 Japanese
pronunciation: [tsɯnami], lit. "harbor wave";[1]
English pronunciation: /tsuːˈnɑːmi/
tsoo-NAH-mee) or English
pronunciation: /suːˈnɑːmi/ soo-NAH-mee) is a
series of water waves (called a tsunami
wave train[3] ) caused by the displacement
of a large volume of a body of water,
usually an ocean, though it can occur in
large lakes. Tsunamis are a frequent
occurrence in Japan; approximately 195
events have been recorded.[4] Owing to the
immense volumes of water and the high
energy involved, tsunamis can devastate
Tsunami striking Thailand on December 26, 2004
coastal regions.

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear
devices), landslides and other mass movements, meteorite ocean impacts or similar impact events, and other
disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami.
The Greek historian Thucydides was the first to relate tsunami to submarine earthquakes,[5] [6] but the understanding
of a tsunami's nature remained slim until the 20th century and is the subject of ongoing research. Many early
geological, geographical, and oceanographic texts refer to tsunamis as "seismic sea waves."
Some meteorological conditions, such as deep depressions that cause tropical cyclones, can generate a storm surge,
called a meteotsunami, which can raise tides several metres above normal levels. The displacement comes from low
atmospheric pressure within the centre of the depression. As these storm surges reach shore, they may resemble
(though are not) tsunamis, inundating vast areas of land.
Tsunami 180

Etymology and history

The term tsunami comes from the Japanese, meaning "harbor" (tsu,
津) and "wave" (nami, 波). (For the plural, one can either follow
ordinary English practice and add an s, or use an invariable plural as in
the Japanese.[7] )
Tsunami are sometimes referred to as tidal waves. In recent years, this
term has fallen out of favor, especially in the scientific community,
because tsunami actually have nothing to do with tides. The
once-popular term derives from their most common appearance, which
is that of an extraordinarily high tidal bore. Tsunami and tides both Lisbon earthquake and tsunami in 1755.

produce waves of water that move inland, but in the case of tsunami
the inland movement of water is much greater and lasts for a longer
period, giving the impression of an incredibly high tide. Although the
meanings of "tidal" include "resembling"[8] or "having the form or
character of"[9] the tides, and the term tsunami is no more accurate
because tsunami are not limited to harbours, use of the term tidal wave
is discouraged by geologists and oceanographers.

There are only a few other languages that have a native word for this
disastrous wave. In the Tamil language, the word is aazhi peralai. In The Russians of Pavel Lebedev-Lastochkin in
Japan, with their ships tossed inland by a tsunami,
the Acehnese language, it is ië beuna or alôn buluëk[10] (Depending on
meeting some Japanese in 1779.
the dialect. Note that in the fellow Austronesian language of Tagalog, a
major language in the Philippines, alon means "wave".) On Simeulue
island, off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, in the Defayan language the word is smong, while in the
Sigulai language it is emong.[11]

As early as 426 B.C. the Greek historian Thucydides inquired in his book History of the Peloponnesian War about
the causes of tsunami, and was the first to argue that ocean earthquakes must be the cause.[5] [6]
The cause, in my opinion, of this phenomenon must be sought in the earthquake. At the point where its
shock has been the most violent the sea is driven back, and suddenly recoiling with redoubled force,
causes the inundation. Without an earthquake I do not see how such an accident could happen.[12]
The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (Res Gestae 26.10.15-19) described the typical sequence of a tsunami,
including an incipient earthquake, the sudden retreat of the sea and a following gigantic wave, after the 365 A.D.
tsunami devastated Alexandria.[13] [14]

Generation mechanisms
The principal generation mechanism (or cause) of a tsunami is the displacement of a substantial volume of water or
perturbation of the sea.[15] This displacement of water is usually attributed to either earthquakes, landslides, volcanic
eruptions, or more rarely by meteorites and nuclear tests.[16] [17] The waves formed in this way are then sustained by
gravity. It is important to note that tides do not play any part in the generation of tsunamis, hence referring to
tsunamis as 'tidal waves' is inaccurate.
Tsunami 181

Seismicity generated tsunamis

Tsunamis can be generated when the sea floor abruptly deforms and vertically displaces the overlying water.
Tectonic earthquakes are a particular kind of earthquake that are associated with the earth's crustal deformation;
when these earthquakes occur beneath the sea, the water above the deformed area is displaced from its equilibrium
position.[18] More specifically, a tsunami can be generated when thrust faults associated with convergent or
destructive plate boundaries move abruptly, resulting in water displacement, owing to the vertical component of
movement involved. Movement on normal faults will also cause displacement of the seabed, but the size of the
largest of such events is normally too small to give rise to a significant tsunami.

Drawing of tectonic plate Overriding plate bulges under Plate slips, causing The energy released
boundary before earthquake. strain, causing tectonic uplift. subsidence and releasing produces tsunami waves.
energy into water.

Tsunamis have a small amplitude (wave height) offshore, and a very long wavelength (often hundreds of kilometers
long), which is why they generally pass unnoticed at sea, forming only a slight swell usually about 300 millimetres
(12 in) above the normal sea surface. They grow in height when they reach shallower water, in a wave shoaling
process described below. A tsunami can occur in any tidal state and even at low tide can still inundate coastal areas.
On April 1, 1946, a magnitude-7.8 (Richter Scale) earthquake occurred near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. It
generated a tsunami which inundated Hilo on the island of Hawai'i with a 14 metres (46 ft) high surge. The area
where the earthquake occurred is where the Pacific Ocean floor is subducting (or being pushed downwards) under
Examples of tsunami at locations away from convergent boundaries include Storegga about 8,000 years ago, Grand
Banks 1929, Papua New Guinea 1998 (Tappin, 2001). The Grand Banks and Papua New Guinea tsunamis came
from earthquakes which destabilized sediments, causing them to flow into the ocean and generate a tsunami. They
dissipated before traveling transoceanic distances.
The cause of the Storegga sediment failure is unknown. Possibilities include an overloading of the sediments, an
earthquake or a release of gas hydrates (methane etc.)
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake (Mw 9.5) (19:11 hrs UTC), 1964 Alaska earthquake (Mw 9.2), and 2004 Indian Ocean
earthquake (Mw 9.2) (00:58:53 UTC) are recent examples of powerful megathrust earthquakes that generated
tsunamis (known as teletsunamis) that can cross entire oceans. Smaller (Mw 4.2) earthquakes in Japan can trigger
tsunamis (called local and regional tsunamis) that can only devastate nearby coasts, but can do so in only a few
In the 1950s, it was discovered that larger tsunamis than had previously been believed possible could be caused by
giant landslides. These phenomena rapidly displace large water volumes, as energy from falling debris or expansion
transfers to the water at a rate faster than the water can absorb. Their existence was confirmed in 1958, when a giant
landslide in Lituya Bay, Alaska, caused the highest wave ever recorded, which had a height of 524 metres (over
1700 feet). The wave didn't travel far, as it struck land almost immediately. Two people fishing in the bay were
killed, but another boat amazingly managed to ride the wave. Scientists named these waves megatsunami.
Scientists discovered that extremely large landslides from volcanic island collapses can generate megatsunami, that
can travel trans-oceanic distances.
Tsunami 182

While everyday wind waves have a wavelength (from crest to crest) of
about 100 metres (330 ft) and a height of roughly 2 metres (6.6 ft), a
tsunami in the deep ocean has a wavelength of about 200 kilometres
(120 mi). Such a wave travels at well over 800 kilometres per hour
(500 mph), but owing to the enormous wavelength the wave oscillation
at any given point takes 20 or 30 minutes to complete a cycle and has
an amplitude of only about 1 metre (3.3 ft).[19] This makes tsunamis When the wave enters shallow water, it slows
difficult to detect over deep water. Ships rarely notice their passage. down and its amplitude (height) increases.

As the tsunami approaches the coast and the waters become shallow,
wave shoaling compresses the wave and its velocity slows below
80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). Its wavelength diminishes to less
than 20 kilometres (12 mi) and its amplitude grows enormously. Since
the wave still has such a long wavelength, the tsunami may take
minutes to reach full height. Except for the very largest tsunamis, the
approaching wave does not break (like a surf break), but rather appears
The wave further slows and amplifies as it hits
like a fast moving tidal bore.[20] Open bays and coastlines adjacent to
land. Only the largest waves crest.
very deep water may shape the tsunami further into a step-like wave
with a steep-breaking front.

When the tsunami's wave peak reaches the shore, the resulting temporary rise in sea level is termed run up. Run up is
measured in metres above a reference sea level.[20] A large tsunami may feature multiple waves arriving over a
period of hours, with significant time between the wave crests. The first wave to reach the shore may not have the
highest run up.[21]
About 80% of tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean, but are possible wherever there are large bodies of water,
including lakes. They are caused by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic explosions, and bolides.

If the first part of a tsunami to reach land is a trough—called a drawback—rather than a wave crest, the water along
the shoreline recedes dramatically, exposing normally submerged areas.
A drawback occurs because the water propagates outwards with the trough of the wave at its front. Drawback begins
before the wave arrives at an interval equal to half of the wave's period. Drawback can exceed hundreds of metres,
and people unaware of the danger sometimes remain near the shore to satisfy their curiosity or to collect fish from
the exposed seabed.

Scales of intensity and magnitude

As with earthquakes, several attempts have been made to set up scales of tsunami intensity or magnitude to allow
comparison between different events.[22]

Intensity scales
The first scales used routinely to measure the intensity of tsunami were the Sieberg-Ambraseys scale, used in the
Mediterranean Sea and the Imamura-Iida intensity scale, used in the Pacific Ocean. The latter scale was modified by
Soloviev, who calculated the Tsunami intensity I according to the formula
Tsunami 183

where is the average wave height along the nearest coast. This scale, known as the Soloviev-Imamura tsunami
intensity scale, is used in the global tsunami catalogues compiled by the NGDC/NOAA and the Novosibirsk
Tsunami Laboratory as the main parameter for the size of the tsunami.

Magnitude scales
The first scale that genuinely calculated a magnitude for a tsunami, rather than an intensity at a particular location
was the ML scale proposed by Murty & Loomis based on the potential energy.[22] Difficulties in calculating the
potential energy of the tsunami mean that this scale is rarely used. Abe introduced the tsunami magnitude scale ,
calculated from,

where h is the maximum tsunami-wave amplitude (in m) measured by a tide gauge at a distance R from the
epicenter, a, b & D are constants used to make the Mt scale match as closely as possible with the moment magnitude

Warnings and predictions

Drawbacks can serve as a brief warning. People who observe drawback
(many survivors report an accompanying sucking sound), can survive
only if they immediately run for high ground or seek the upper floors
of nearby buildings. In 2004, ten-year old Tilly Smith of Surrey,
England, was on Maikhao beach in Phuket, Thailand with her parents
and sister, and having learned about tsunamis recently in school, told
her family that a tsunami might be imminent. Her parents warned
others minutes before the wave arrived, saving dozens of lives. She
credited her geography teacher, Andrew Kearney.

In the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami drawback was not reported on the
African coast or any other eastern coasts it reached. This was because
the wave moved downwards on the eastern side of the fault line and
upwards on the western side. The western pulse hit coastal Africa and
other western areas.
One of the deep water buoys used in the DART
A tsunami cannot be precisely predicted, even if the magnitude and tsunami warning system

location of an earthquake is known. Geologists, oceanographers, and

seismologists analyse each earthquake and based on many factors may or may not issue a tsunami warning.
However, there are some warning signs of an impending tsunami, and automated systems can provide warnings
immediately after an earthquake in time to save lives. One of the most successful systems uses bottom pressure
sensors that are attached to buoys. The sensors constantly monitor the pressure of the overlying water column. This
is deduced through the calculation:

P = the overlying pressure in newtons per metre square,
ρ = the density of the seawater= 1.1 x 103 kg/m3,
g = the acceleration due to gravity= 9.8 m/s2 and
h = the height of the water column in metres.
Hence for a water column of 5,000 m depth the overlying pressure is equal to
Tsunami 184

or about 5500 tonnes-force per square metre.

Regions with a high tsunami risk typically use tsunami warning systems to warn the population before the wave
reaches land. On the west coast of the United States, which is prone to Pacific Ocean tsunami, warning signs indicate
evacuation routes. In Japan, the community is well-educated about earthquakes and tsunamis, and along the Japanese
shorelines the tsunami warning signs are reminders of the natural hazards together with a network of warning sirens,
typically at the top of the cliff of surroundings hills.[24]
The Pacific Tsunami Warning System is based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. It monitors Pacific Ocean seismic activity. A
sufficiently large earthquake magnitude and other information triggers a tsunami warning. While the subduction
zones around the Pacific are seismically active, not all earthquakes generate tsunami. Computers assist in analysing
the tsunami risk of every earthquake that occurs in the Pacific Ocean and the adjoining land masses.

Tsunami hazard sign at Bamfield, A tsunami warning sign on a The monument to the victims of Tsunami memorial
British Columbia seawall in Kamakura, Japan, tsunami at Laupahoehoe, Hawaii in Kanyakumari
2004. beach

As a direct result of the Indian Ocean tsunami, a re-appraisal of the

tsunami threat for all coastal areas is being undertaken by national
governments and the United Nations Disaster Mitigation Committee. A
tsunami warning system is being installed in the Indian Ocean.
Computer models can predict tsunami arrival, usually within minutes
of the arrival time. Bottom pressure sensors relay information in real
time. Based on these pressure readings and other seismic information
and the seafloor's shape (bathymetry) and coastal topography, the
models estimate the amplitude and surge height of the approaching
tsunami. All Pacific Rim countries collaborate in the Tsunami Warning
System and most regularly practice evacuation and other procedures.
In Japan, such preparation is mandatory for government, local
authorities, emergency services and the population.

Some zoologists hypothesise that some animal species have an ability

to sense subsonic Rayleigh waves from an earthquake or a tsunami. If A seawall at Tsu, Japan
correct, monitoring their behavior could provide advance warning of
earthquakes, tsunami etc. However, the evidence is controversial and is not widely accepted. There are
unsubstantiated claims about the Lisbon quake that some animals escaped to higher ground, while many other
animals in the same areas drowned. The phenomenon was also noted by media sources in Sri Lanka in the 2004
earthquake.[25] [26]
Indian Ocean It is possible that certain animals (e.g., elephants)
Tsunami 185

may have heard the sounds of the tsunami as it approached the coast.
The elephants' reaction was to move away from the approaching noise.
By contrast, some humans went to the shore to investigate and many
drowned as a result.
It is not possible to prevent a tsunami. However, in some
tsunami-prone countries some earthquake engineering measures have
been taken to reduce the damage caused on shore. Japan, where
tsunami science and response measures first began following a disaster
in 1896, has produced ever-more elaborate countermeasures and
response plans.[27] That country has built many tsunami walls of up to
4.5 metres (15 ft) to protect populated coastal areas. Other localities
have built floodgates and channels to redirect the water from incoming Tsunami Evacuation Route signage along U.S.
tsunami. However, their effectiveness has been questioned, as tsunami Route 101, in Washington

often overtop the barriers. For instance, the Okushiri, Hokkaidō

tsunami which struck Okushiri Island of Hokkaidō within two to five minutes of the earthquake on July 12, 1993
created waves as much as 30 metres (100 ft) tall—as high as a 10-story building. The port town of Aonae was
completely surrounded by a tsunami wall, but the waves washed right over the wall and destroyed all the
wood-framed structures in the area. The wall may have succeeded in slowing down and moderating the height of the
tsunami, but it did not prevent major destruction and loss of life.[28]

Natural factors such as shoreline tree cover can mitigate tsunami effects. Some locations in the path of the 2004
Indian Ocean tsunami escaped almost unscathed because trees such as coconut palms and mangroves absorbed the
tsunami's energy. In one striking example, the village of Naluvedapathy in India's Tamil Nadu region suffered only
minimal damage and few deaths because the wave broke against a forest of 80,244 trees planted along the shoreline
in 2002 in a bid to enter the Guinness Book of Records.[29] Environmentalists have suggested tree planting along
tsunami-prone seacoasts. Trees require years to grow to a useful size, but such plantations could offer a much
cheaper and longer-lasting means of tsunami mitigation than artificial barriers.


Natural barriers
A report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests that the tsunami of 26th
December 2004 caused less damage in the areas where natural barriers were present, such as mangroves, coral reefs
or coastal vegetation. A Japanese study of this tsunami in Sri Lanka used satellite imagery modelling to establish the
parameters of coastal resistance as a function of different types of trees.[30]

As a weapon
There have been studies and at least one attempt to create tsunami waves as a weapon. In World War II, the New
Zealand Military Forces initiated Project Seal, which attempted to create small tsunamis with explosives in the area
of today's Shakespeare Regional Park; the attempt failed.[31]
Tsunami 186

[1] "Tsunami Terminology" (http:/ / nthmp-history. pmel. noaa. gov/ terms. html). NOAA. . Retrieved 2010-07-15.
[2] Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 736. ISBN 0582053838. entry "tsunami"
[3] Fradin, Judith Bloom and Dennis Brindell (2008). Witness to Disaster: Tsunamis (http:/ / shop. nationalgeographic. com/ product/ 977/ 4389/
971. html). Witness to Disaster. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. pp. 42, 43. .
[4] "" (http:/ / www. answers. com/ topic/ tsunami). . Retrieved 2010-08-24.
[5] Thucydides: “A History of the Peloponnesian War”, 3.89.1–4 (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ cgi-bin/ ptext?lookup=Thuc. + 3. 89. 1)
[6] Smid, T. C. (Apr., 1970). 'Tsunamis' in Greek Literature. 17 (2nd ed.). pp. 100–104.
[7] [a. Jap. tsunami, tunami, f. tsu harbour + nami waves.— Oxford English Dictionary]
[8] "Tidal", The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 11 November 2008.
(http:/ / dictionary. reference. com/ browse/ tidal)
[9] -al. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved November 11, 2008, (http:/ / dictionary. reference. com/
browse/ -al)
[10] "" (http:/ / www. acehrecoveryforum. org/ en/ index. php?action=ARFNews& no=73).
2007-11-06. . Retrieved 2010-08-24.
[11] (http:/ / www. jtic. org/ en/ jtic/ images/ dlPDF/ Lipi_CBDP/ reports/ SMGChapter3. pdf)
[12] Thucydides: “A History of the Peloponnesian War”, 3.89.5 (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ cgi-bin/ ptext?lookup=Thuc. + 3. 89. 1)
[13] Kelly, Gavin (2004). "Ammianus and the Great Tsunami". The Journal of Roman Studies 94 (141): 141–167. doi:10.2307/4135013.
JSTOR 4135013.
[14] Stanley, Jean-Daniel & Jorstad, Thomas F. (2005), " The 365 A.D. Tsunami Destruction of Alexandria, Egypt: Erosion, Deformation of
Strata and Introduction of Allochthonous Material (http:/ / gsa. confex. com/ gsa/ 2005AM/ finalprogram/ abstract_96386. htm)"
[15] Haugen K, Løvholt F, Harbitz C, K; Lovholt, F; Harbitz, C (2005). "Fundamental mechanisms for tsunami generation by submarine mass
flows in idealised geometries". Marine and Petroleum Geology 22 (1-2): 209–217. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2004.10.016.
[16] Margaritondo, G (2005). "Explaining the physics of tsunamis to undergraduate and non-physics students". European Journal of Physics 26
[17] Voit, S.S (1987). "Tsunamis". Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 19 (1): 217–236. doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.19.010187.001245.
[18] "How do earthquakes generate tsunamis?" (http:/ / www. geophys. washington. edu/ tsunami/ general/ physics/ earthquake. html). University
of Washington. .
[19] (http:/ / earthsci. org/ education/ teacher/ basicgeol/ tsumami/ tsunami. html), Tsunamis
[20] "Life of a Tsunami" (http:/ / walrus. wr. usgs. gov/ tsunami/ basics. html). Western Coastal & Marine Geology. United States Geographical
Survey. 22 October 2008. . Retrieved 2009-09-09.
[21] Prof. Stephen A. Nelson (28-Jan-2009). "Tsunami" (http:/ / www. tulane. edu/ ~sanelson/ geol204/ tsunami. htm). Tulane University. .
Retrieved 2009-09-09.
[22] Gusiakov V.. "Tsunami Quantification: how we measure the overall size of tsunami (Review of tsunami intensity and magnitude scales)"
(http:/ / www. ngdc. noaa. gov/ hazard/ data/ presentations/ jtc/ gusiakov. pdf). . Retrieved 2009-10-18.
[23] Abe K. (1995). Estimate of Tsunami Run-up Heights from Earthquake Magnitudes (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=5YjaGdQOJIwC&
pg=PA21& dq=abe+ magnitude+ scale+ tsunami+ 1981& q=abe magnitude scale tsunami 1981). ISBN 9780792334835. . Retrieved
[24] Chanson, H. (2010). Tsunami Warning Signs on the Enshu Coast of Japan (http:/ / espace. library. uq. edu. au/ view/ UQ:203103). Shore &
Beach, Vol. 78, No. 1, pp. 52-54. ISSN 0037 4237.
[25] Lambourne, Helen (2005-03-27). "Tsunami: Anatomy of a disaster" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ world/ south_asia/ 4269847. stm).
BBC. .
[26] Kenneally, Christine (2004-12-30). "Surviving the Tsunami: What Sri Lanka's animals knew that humans didn't" (http:/ / www. slate. com/
id/ 2111608). Slate Magazine. .
[27] http:/ / content. hks. harvard. edu/ journalistsresource/ pa/ society/ health/ tsunami-japan/
[28] "1993年7月12日 北海道南西沖地震" (http:/ / library. skr. jp/ 19930712_nanseioki. htm) (in Japanese). .
[29] Raman, Sunil (2005-03-27). "Tsunami villagers give thanks to trees" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ sci/ tech/ 4381395. stm). BBC. .
[30] (http:/ / www. spotimage. com/ web/ en/ 3272-satellite-imagery-and-modelling-show-how-forests-cushion-the-impact-of-tsunamis. php)
Satellite imagery and modelling show how forests cushion the impact of tsunamis
[31] "The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Part 2". Inset to The New Zealand Herald: p. 9. 3 March 2010.
Tsunami 187

• IOC Tsunami Glossary ( by the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC) at the International Tsunami Information Centre (
itic/) (ITIC) of UNESCO
• Tsunami Terminology ( at NOAA
• ( tsunamis: tsunamis travel fast but not at infinite
speed. retrieved March 29, 2005.
• Dudley, Walter C. & Lee, Min (1988: 1st edition) Tsunami! ISBN 0-8248-1125-9 website (http://www.tsunami.
• Iwan, W.D., editor, 2006, Summary report of the Great Sumatra Earthquakes and Indian Ocean tsunamis of
December 26, 2004 and March 28, 2005: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, EERI Publication #2006-06,
11 chapters, 100 page summary, plus CD-ROM with complete text and supplementary photographs, EERI Report
2006-06. ISBN 1-932884-19-X website (
• Kenneally, Christine (December 30, 2004). "Surviving the Tsunami." Slate. website (
• Lambourne, Helen (March 27, 2005). "Tsunami: Anatomy of a disaster." BBC News. website (
• Macey, Richard (January 1, 2005). "The Big Bang that Triggered A Tragedy," The Sydney Morning Herald, p
11—quoting Dr Mark Leonard, seismologist at Geoscience Australia.
• The NOAA's page on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (
• Tappin, D; 2001. Local tsunamis. Geoscientist. 11–8, 4–7.
• Girl, 10, used geography lesson to save lives (
• Philippines warned to prepare for Japan's tsunami (

External links
• Animation of DART tsunami detection system (
• Can HF Radar detect Tsunamis? ( – University of
Hamburg HF-Radar.
• Envirtech Tsunami Warning System ( – Based on seabed
seismics and sea level gauges.
• ( The highest tsunami was caused by rockfall
• IOC Tsunami Glossary ( by the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC) at the International Tsunami Information Centre (
itic/) (ITIC) of UNESCO
• How to survive a tsunami ( – Guide for children and youth
• International Centre for Geohazards (ICG) (
• ITSU ( – Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning System.
• Jakarta Tsunami Information Centre (
• National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program ( Coordinated U.S. Federal/State
• NOAA Center for Tsunami Research (NCTR) (
• NOAA Tsunami ( – General description of tsunamis and the United States
agency NOAA's role
Tsunami 188

• NOVA: Wave That Shook The World ( – Site and special report shot
within days of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
• Pacific Tsunami Museum (
• Science of Tsunami Hazards journal (
• Tsunami scientific publications list (
• Scientific American Magazine (January 2006 Issue) Tsunami: Wave of Change (
cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=000CDB86-32E0-13A8-B2E083414B7F0000) What we can learn from the
Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.
• Social & Economic Costs of Tsunamis in the United States (
?goal=weather&file=events/tsunami/) from "NOAA Socioeconomics" website initiative
• Tsunami Centers ( – United States National Weather Service.
• Tsunami database with detailed statistics (
• Interactive map of recent and historical tsunami events ( with
links to graphics, animations and data
• Tsunami Warning ( – Tsunami warnings via mobile phone.
• Tsunamis and Earthquakes (
• USGS: Surviving a tsunami ( (United States)
• Impact of Tsunami on groundwater resources ( IGRAC International
Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre
• Tsunami Surges on Dry Coastal Plains: Application of Dam Break Wave Equations (http://espace.library.uq., Coastal Engineering Journal, 48 4: 355-370

Images, video, and animations

• Amateur Camcorder Video Streams of the December 26, 2004 tsunami that hit Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia
(search on tsunamis) (
• Animation of 1960 tsunami originating outside coast of Chile (
• Animations of actual and simulated tsunami events ( from the NOAA
Center for Tsunami Research
• CBC Digital Archives – Canada's Earthquakes and Tsunamis (
• Computer-generated animation of a tsunami (
• Origin of a Tsunami - animation showing how the shifting of continental plates in the Indian Ocean created the
catastrophe of December 26, 2004. (
• Photos ( and Videos (
videos.asp) of Humanitarian Assistance to Tsunami-hit areas by the Singapore Armed Forces
• Tsunami Aftermath in Penang (
and Kuala Muda, Kedah (
• Satellite Images of Tsunami Affected Areas ( High
resolution satellite images showing the effects of the 2004 tsunami on the affected areas in Indonesia, Thailand
and Nicobar island of India.
• The Survivors - A moving travelogue full of stunning images along the tsunami ravaged South-Western Coast of
India ( (Unavailable)
• Animations of tsunami propagation model results ( for actual tsunami
Tsunami 189

• 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (

p=F78585C6FE0C11CA&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=81) at YouTube
• Raw Video: Tsunami Slams Northeast Japan (, a video of
the 2011 Sendai (Japan) earthquake tsunami by Associated Press at YouTube, showing the wave from an 8.8
magnitude tsunami engulfing a town and farmlands.

Weapon of mass destruction

A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of
humans (and other life forms) and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures
(e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general. The scope and application of the term has evolved and been disputed,
often signifying more politically than technically. Coined in reference to aerial bombing with chemical explosives, it
has come to distinguish large-scale weaponry of other technologies, such as chemical, biological, radiological, or
nuclear. This differentiates the term from more technical ones such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
weapons (CBRN).

Early uses of the term

The first use of the term "weapon of mass destruction" on record is by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of
Canterbury, in 1937 in reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain:

“ Who can think at this present time without a sickening of the heart of the appalling slaughter, the suffering, the manifold misery brought by
war to Spain and to China? Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new
weapons of mass destruction?

At that time, there were no nuclear weapons; biological weapons were already being researched by Japan (see Unit
731),[2] and chemical weapons had seen wide use, most notably in World War I.
Following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and progressing through the Cold War, the term came
to refer more to non-conventional weapons. The application of the term to specifically nuclear and radiological
weapons is traced by William Safire to the Russian phrase "Оружие массового поражения" - oruzhiye massovogo
He credits James Goodby (of the Brookings Institution) with tracing what he considers the earliest known
English-language use soon after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (although it is not quite verbatim):
a communique from a November 15, 1945, meeting of Harry Truman, Clement Attlee and Mackenzie King
(probably drafted by Vannevar Bush– or so Bush claimed in 1970) referred to "weapons adaptable to mass
That exact phrase, says Safire, was also used by Bernard Baruch in 1946 (in a speech at the United Nations probably
written by Herbert Bayard Swope).[3] The same phrase found its way into the UN resolution to create the Atomic
Energy Commission (predecessor of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)), which used the wording
"... atomic weapons and of all other weapons adaptable to mass destruction".
An exact use of this term was given in a lecture "Atomic Energy as an Atomic Problem" by J. Robert Oppenheimer.
The lecture was delivered to the Foreign Service and the State Department, on September 17, 1947. The lecture is
reprinted in The Open Mind (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955).
"It is a very far reaching control which would eliminate the rivalry between nations in this field, which
would prevent the surreptitious arming of one nation against another, which would provide some
cushion of time before atomic attack, and presumably therefore before any attack with weapons of mass
destruction, and which would go a long way toward removing atomic energy at least as a source of
Weapon of mass destruction 190

conflict between the powers".

The term was also used in the introduction to the hugely influential US Government Document known as NSC-68
written in April 1950.[4]
During a televised presentation about the Cuban Missile Crisis on 22 October 1962, John F. Kennedy made reference
to "offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction.[5] "
An early use of the exact phrase in an international treaty was in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, however no
definition was provided.

Evolution of its use

During the Cold War, the term "weapons of mass destruction" was primarily a reference to nuclear weapons. At the
time, in the West the euphemism "strategic weapons" was used to refer to the American nuclear arsenal, which was
presented as a necessary deterrent against nuclear or conventional attack from the Soviet Union (see Mutual Assured
The term "weapons of mass destruction" continued to see periodic use throughout this time, usually in the context of
nuclear arms control; Ronald Reagan used it during the 1986 Reykjavík Summit, when referring to the 1967 Outer
Space Treaty.[6] Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, used the term in an 1989 speech to the United Nations,
using it primarily in reference to chemical arms.[7]
The end of the Cold War reduced U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons as a deterrent, causing it to shift its focus to
disarmament. This period coincided with an increasing threat to U.S. interests from Islamic nations and independent
Islamic groups. With the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and 1991 Gulf War, Iraq's nuclear, biological, and chemical
weapons programs became a particular concern of the first Bush Administration.[8] Following the war, Bill Clinton
and other western politicians and media continued to use the term, usually in reference to ongoing attempts to
dismantle Iraq's weapons programs.<citation needed>
After the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, an increased fear of non-conventional weapons
and asymmetrical warfare took hold of the United States and other Western powers. This fear reached a crescendo
with the 2002 Iraq disarmament crisis and the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that became
the primary justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, no WMD were found in Iraq.
Because of its prolific use during this period, the American Dialect Society voted "weapons of mass destruction"
(and its abbreviation, "WMD") the word of the year in 2002,[9] and in 2003 Lake Superior State University added
WMD to its list of terms banished for "Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness".[10]

Definitions of the term

United States

The most widely used definition of "weapons of mass destruction" is that of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons
(NBC) although there is no treaty or customary international law that contains an authoritative definition. Instead,
international law has been used with respect to the specific categories of weapons within WMD, and not to WMD as
a whole.
The acronyms NBC (for nuclear, biological and chemical) or CBR (chemical, biological, radiological) are used with
regards to battlefield protection systems for armored vehicles, because all three involve insidious toxins that can be
carried through the air and can be protected against with vehicle air filtration systems.
However, there is an argument that nuclear and biological weapons do not belong in the same category as chemical
and "dirty bomb" radiological weapons, which have limited destructive potential (and close to none, as far as
Weapon of mass destruction 191

property is concerned), whereas nuclear and biological weapons have the unique ability to kill large numbers of
people with very small amounts of material, and thus could be said to belong in a class by themselves.
The NBC definition has also been used in official U.S. documents, by the U.S. President,[11] [12] the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency,[13] the U.S. Department of Defense,[14] [15] and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.[16]
Other documents expand the definition of WMD to also include radiological or conventional weapons. The U.S.
military refers to WMD as:
Chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons capable of a high order of destruction or causing
mass casualties and exclude the means of transporting or propelling the weapon where such means is a
separable and divisible part from the weapon. Also called WMD.[17]
The significance of the words separable and divisible part of the weapon is that missiles such as the Pershing II and
the SCUD are considered weapons of mass destruction, while aircraft capable of carrying bombloads are not.
In 2004, the United Kingdom's Butler Review recognized the "considerable and long-standing academic debate
about the proper interpretation of the phrase ‘weapons of mass destruction’". The committee set out to avoid the
general term but when using it, employed the definition of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which
defined the systems which Iraq was required to abandon:
• "Nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any sub-systems or components or any research,
development, support or manufacturing facilities relating to [nuclear weapons].
• Chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all
research,development,support and manufacturing facilities.
• Ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production
Chemical weapons expert Gert G. Harigel considers only nuclear weapons true weapons of mass destruction,
because "only nuclear weapons are completely indiscriminate by their explosive power, heat radiation and
radioactivity, and only they should therefore be called a weapon of mass destruction". He prefers to call chemical
and biological weapons "weapons of terror" when aimed against civilians and "weapons of intimidation" for soldiers.
Testimony of one such soldier expresses the same viewpoint.[19] For a period of several months in the winter of
2002–2003, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz frequently used the term "weapons of mass terror,"
apparently also recognizing the distinction between the psychological and the physical effects of many things
currently falling into the WMD category.
Gustavo Bell Lemus, the Vice President of Colombia, at the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in
Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, quoted the Millennium Report of the UN Secretary-General to
the General Assembly, in which Kofi Annan said that small arms could be described as WMD because the fatalities
they cause "dwarf that of all other weapons systems – and in most years greatly exceed the toll of the atomic bombs
that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki".[20]
An additional condition often implicitly applied to WMD is that the use of the weapons must be strategic. In other
words, they would be designed to "have consequences far outweighing the size and effectiveness of the weapons
themselves".[21] The strategic nature of WMD also defines their function in the military doctrine of total war as
targeting the means a country would use to support and supply its war effort, specifically its population, industry,
and natural resources.
Within U.S. civil defense organizations, the category is now Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and
Explosive (CBRNE), which defines WMD as:
(1) Any explosive, incendiary, poison gas, bomb, grenade, or rocket having a propellant charge of more than
four ounces [113 g], missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce [7 g],
or mine or device similar to the above. (2) Poison gas. (3) Any weapon involving a disease organism. (4) Any
weapon that is designed to release radiation at a level dangerous to human life.
Weapon of mass destruction 192

For the general purposes of national defense,[22] US Code[23] defines a weapon of mass destruction as:
• any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant
number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of:
• toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors
• a disease organism
• radiation or radioactivity[24]
For the purposes of the prevention of weapons proliferation,[25] US Code defines weapons of mass destruction as
"chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and chemical, biological, and nuclear materials used in the manufacture
of such weapons."[26]

Criminal (Civilian)
For the purposes of US Criminal law concerning terrorism,[27] weapons of mass destruction are defined as:
• any destructive device defined as any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket having a
propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than
one-quarter ounce, mine, or device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses[28]
• any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination,
or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors
• any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector
• any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life[29]
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's definition is similar to that presented above from the terrorism statute:[30]
• any explosive or incendiary device, as defined in Title 18 USC, Section 921: bomb, grenade, rocket, missile,
mine, or other device with a charge of more than four ounces
• any weapon designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or
impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors
• any weapon involving a disease organism
• any weapon designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life
• any device or weapon designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury by causing a malfunction of or
destruction of an aircraft or other vehicle that carries humans or of an aircraft or other vehicle whose malfunction
or destruction may cause said aircraft or other vehicle to cause death or serious bodily injury to humans who may
be within range of the vector in its course of travel or the travel of its debris.
Indictments and convictions for possession and use of WMD such as truck bombs,[31] pipe bombs,[32] shoe
bombs,[33] cactus needles coated with botulin toxin,[34] etc. have been obtained under 18 USC 2332a.
The Washington Post reported on 30 March 2006: "Jurors asked the judge in the death penalty trial of Zacarias
Moussaoui today to define the term 'weapons of mass destruction' and were told it includes airplanes used as
missiles". Moussaoui was indicted and tried for the use of airplanes as WMD.
Weapon of mass destruction 193

The development and use of WMD is governed by international conventions and treaties, although not all countries
have signed and ratified them:
• Partial Test Ban Treaty
• Outer Space Treaty
• Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
• Seabed Arms Control Treaty
• Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
• Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)
• Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

WMD use, possession and access

Nuclear weapons
The only country to have used a nuclear weapon in war is the United
States, which dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. There are eight
countries that have declared they possess nuclear weapons and are
known to have tested a nuclear weapon, only five of which are
members of the NPT. The eight are People's Republic of China,
France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States
of America, and North Korea.
U.S. nuclear warheads, 1945–2002
Israel is considered by most analysts to have nuclear weapons
numbering in the low hundreds as well, but maintains an official policy
of nuclear ambiguity, neither denying nor confirming its nuclear status.
Iran is suspected by western countries of seeking nuclear weapons, a claim that it denies. While the truth is
unknown, the November 2007 NIE on Iran stated that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.[35]
South Africa developed a small nuclear arsenal in the 1980s but disassembled them in the early 1990s, making it the
only country to have fully given up an independently developed nuclear weapons arsenal. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and
Ukraine inherited stockpiles of nuclear arms following the break-up of the Soviet Union, but relinquished them to
the Russian Federation.
Countries with access to nuclear weapons through nuclear sharing agreements include Belgium, Germany, Italy, the
Netherlands, and Turkey. North Korea has claimed to have developed and tested nuclear devices. Although outside
sources have been unable to unequivocally support the state's claims, North Korea has officially been identified to
have nuclear weapons.
Weapon of mass destruction 194

United States politics

Due to the indiscriminate impact of WMDs, the fear of a WMD attack has shaped political policies and campaigns,
fostered social movements, and has been the central theme of many films. Support for different levels of WMD
development and control varies nationally and internationally. Yet understanding of the nature of the threats is not
high, in part because of imprecise usage of the term by politicians and the media.
Fear of WMD, or of threats diminished by the possession of WMD, has long been used to catalyze public support for
various WMD policies. They include mobilization of pro- and anti-WMD campaigners alike, and generation of
popular political support. The term WMD may be used as a powerful buzzword,[36] or to generate a culture of
fear.[37] It is also used ambiguously, particularly by not distinguishing among the different types of WMD.[38]
A television commercial called Daisy, promoting Democrat Lyndon Johnson's 1964 presidential candidacy, invoked
the fear of a nuclear war and was an element in Johnson's subsequent election.
More recently, the threat of potential WMD in Iraq was used by President George W. Bush to generate public
support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[39] [40] Broad reference to Iraqi WMD in general was seen as an element of
President Bush's arguments.[38]
As Paul Wolfowitz explained: "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction,
because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."[41] To date, however, Coalition forces have found mainly
degraded artillery shells.
There was almost no dissent on the issue. Molly Ivins wrote : "the ONLY (source) to report skeptically on the
administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the war? Knight-Ridder and its terrific
reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay.".[42]
On June 21, 2006, United States Senator Rick Santorum claimed that "We have found weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, chemical weapons." According to the Washington Post, he was referring to 500 such shells "that had been
buried near the Iranian border, and then long forgotten, by Iraqi troops during their eight-year war with Iran, which
ended in 1988." That night, "intelligence officials reaffirmed that the shells were old and were not the suspected
weapons of mass destruction sought in Iraq after the 2003 invasion of Iraq." The shells had been uncovered and
reported on in 2004.[43]
In 2004 Polish troops found nineteen 1980s-era rocket warheads, thwarting an attempt by militants to buy them at
$5000 each. Some of the rockets contained extremely deteriorated nerve agent.[44]

Media coverage of WMD

In 2004, the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) released a report[45] examining the
media’s coverage of WMD issues during three separate periods: India’s nuclear weapons tests in May 1998; the US
announcement of evidence of a North Korean nuclear weapons program in October 2002; and revelations about
Iran's nuclear program in May 2003. The CISSM report notes that poor coverage resulted less from political bias
among the media than from tired journalistic conventions. The report’s major findings were that:
1. Most media outlets represented WMD as a monolithic menace, failing to adequately distinguish between weapons
programs and actual weapons or to address the real differences among chemical, biological, nuclear, and
radiological weapons.
2. Most journalists accepted the Bush administration’s formulation of the “War on Terror” as a campaign against
WMD, in contrast to coverage during the Clinton era, when many journalists made careful distinctions between
acts of terrorism and the acquisition and use of WMD.
3. Many stories stenographically reported the incumbent administration’s perspective on WMD, giving too little
critical examination of the way officials framed the events, issues, threats, and policy options.
4. Too few stories proffered alternative perspectives to official line, a problem exacerbated by the journalistic
prioritizing of breaking-news stories and the “inverted pyramid” style of storytelling.
Weapon of mass destruction 195

In a separate study published in 2005,[46] a group of researchers assessed the effects reports and retractions in the
media had on people’s memory regarding the search for WMD in Iraq during the 2003 Iraq War. The study focused
on populations in two coalition countries (Australia and USA) and one opposed to the war (Germany). Results
showed that US citizens generally did not correct initial misconceptions regarding WMD, even following
disconfirmation; Australian and German citizens were more responsive to retractions. Dependence on the initial
source of information led to a substantial minority of Americans exhibiting false memory that WMD were indeed
discovered, while they were not. This led to three conclusions:
1. The repetition of tentative news stories, even if they are subsequently disconfirmed, can assist in the creation of
false memories in a substantial proportion of people.
2. Once information is published, its subsequent correction does not alter people's beliefs unless they are suspicious
about the motives underlying the events the news stories are about.
3. When people ignore corrections, they do so irrespective of how certain they are that the corrections occurred.
A poll conducted between June and September 2003 asked people whether they thought evidence of WMD had been
discovered in Iraq since the war ended. They were also asked which media sources they relied upon. Those who
obtained their news primarily from Fox News were three times as likely to believe that evidence of WMD had been
discovered in Iraq than those who relied on PBS and NPR for their news, and one third more likely than those who
primarily watched CBS.

Media source Respondents believing evidence of WMD had been found in Iraq

Fox 33%

CBS 23%

NBC 20%

CNN 20%

ABC 19%

Print media 17%


Based on a series of polls taken from June–September 2003.[47]

In 2006 Fox News reported the claims of two Republican lawmakers that WMDs had been found in Iraq,[48] based
upon unclassified portions of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center. Quoting from the report Senator
Rick Santorum said "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which
contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent". According to David Kay, who appeared before the US House Armed
Services Committee to discuss these badly corroded munitions, they were leftovers, many years old, improperly
stored or destroyed by the Iraqis.[49] Charles Duelfer agreed, stating on NPR's Talk of the Nation: "When I was
running the ISG – the Iraq Survey Group – we had a couple of them that had been turned in to these IEDs, the
improvised explosive devices. But they are local hazards. They are not a major, you know, weapon of mass
Later, wikileaks would show that these kind of WMDs continued to be found as the Iraqi occupation continued [51]
Many news agencies, including Fox News, reported the conclusions of the CIA that, based upon the investigation of
the Iraq Survey Group, WMDs have yet to be found in Iraq.[52] [53]
Weapon of mass destruction 196

Public perceptions of WMD

Awareness and opinions of WMD have varied during the course of their history. Their threat is a source of unease,
security, and pride to different people. The anti-WMD movement is embodied most in nuclear disarmament, and led
to the formation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
In order to increase awareness of all kinds of WMD, in 2004 the nuclear physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Joseph Rotblat inspired the creation of The WMD Awareness Programme [54] to provide trustworthy and up to date
information on WMD world wide.
In 1998 University of New Mexico's Institute for Public Policy released their third report[55] on US perceptions –
including the general public, politicians and scientists – of nuclear weapons since the break up of the Soviet Union.
Risks of nuclear conflict, proliferation, and terrorism were seen as substantial.
While maintenance of a nuclear US arsenal was considered above average in importance, there was widespread
support for a reduction in the stockpile, and very little support for developing and testing new nuclear weapons.
Also in 1998, but after the UNM survey was conducted, nuclear weapons became an issue in India's election of
March,[56] in relation to political tensions with neighboring Pakistan. Prior to the election the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) announced it would “declare India a nuclear weapon state” after coming to power.
BJP won the elections, and on May 14, three days after India tested nuclear weapons for the second time, a public
opinion poll reported that a majority of Indians favored the country’s nuclear build-up.
On April 15, 2004, the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) reported[57] that US citizens showed high
levels of concern regarding WMD, and that preventing the spread of nuclear weapons should be "a very important
US foreign policy goal", accomplished through multilateral arms control rather than the use of military threats.
A majority also believed the US should be more forthcoming with its biological research and its Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty commitment of nuclear arms reduction, and incorrectly thought the US was a party to
various non-proliferation treaties.
A Russian opinion poll conducted on August 5, 2005 indicated half the population believes new nuclear powers have
the right to possess nuclear weapons.[58] 39% believes the Russian stockpile should be reduced, though not fully

WMD in popular culture

Weapons of mass destruction and their related impacts have been a mainstay of popular culture since the beginning
of the Cold War, as both political commentary and humorous outlet.

Common hazard symbols

Symbol Unicode Image

Toxic symbol


Radioactive symbol


Biohazard symbol

Weapon of mass destruction 197

Radioactive weaponry/hazard symbol

The international radioactivity symbol (also known as trefoil) first appeared in 1946, at the
University of California, Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. At the time, it was rendered as
magenta, and was set on a blue background.[59]
It is drawn with a central circle of radius R, the blades having an internal radius of 1.5R and an
external radius of 5R, and separated from each other by 60°.[60] It is meant to represent a
radiating atom.
The International Atomic Energy Agency found, however, that the symbol is unintuitive and can be variously
interpreted by those uneducated in its meaning, and that its role as a hazard warning was compromised as it did not
clearly indicate "danger" to many non-Westerners and children who encountered it. As a result of research, a new
radiation hazard symbol was developed to be placed near the most dangerous parts of radiation sources featuring a
skull, someone running away, and using the color red rather than yellow as the background.[61]

Biological weaponry/hazard symbol

Developed by Dow Chemical company in the 1960s for their containment products.[62]
According to Charles Dullin, an environmental-health engineer who contributed to its

We wanted something that was memorable but meaningless, so we could educate people as to what it means.

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[37] "Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Overrated as a Threat to America: Newsroom: The Independent Institute" (http:/ / www. independent.
org/ newsroom/ article. asp?id=1256). 2004-01-28. . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[38] (https:/ / ssl. tnr. com/ p/ docsub. mhtml?i=20021007& s=easterbrook100702)
[39] "Weapons of mass deception – SourceWatch" (http:/ / www. sourcewatch. org/ index. php?title=Weapons_of_mass_deception). . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[40] "War Pimps, by Jeffrey St. Clair [Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in President Bush's War on Iraq, by John Stauber
and Sheldon Rampton]" (http:/ / www. theava. com/ 03/ 08-13-warpimps. html). 2003-08-13. . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[41] Qtd. in Associated Press, "Wolfowitz Comments Revive Doubts Over Iraq's WMD" (http:/ / www. usatoday. com/ news/ world/ iraq/
2003-05-30-wolfowitz-iraq_x. htm), USA Today, May 30, 2003, accessed May 8, 2007.
[42] "Newspaper Suicide" (http:/ / www. freepress. org/ columns/ display/ 1/ 2006/ 1338), The Free Press, March 23, 2006. Retrieved November
21, 2010.
[43] Post Store (2006-06-22). "Lawmakers Cite Weapons Found in Iraq –" (http:/ / www. washingtonpost. com/ wp-dyn/ content/ article/ 2006/
06/ 21/ AR2006062101837. html). . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[44] "Troops 'foil Iraq nerve gas bid'" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ world/ middle_east/ 3861197. stm). BBC. 2 July 2004. . Retrieved
[45] (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20041022050812/ http:/ / www. cissm. umd. edu/ documents/ WMDstudy_full. pdf) by Prof. Susan Moeller
[46] "Psychological Science – Journal Information" (http:/ / www. blackwellpublishing. com/ journal. asp?ref=0956-7976). . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[47] Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060210232719/ www. pipa. org/ OnlineReports/ Iraq/
IraqMedia_Oct03/ IraqMedia_Oct03_rpt. pdf), PIPA, October 2, 2003
[48] "Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq" (http:/ / www. foxnews. com/ story/ 0,2933,200499,00. html). Fox News. 2006-06-22. .
[49] Kay, David. "House Armed Services Committee Hearing", June 29, 2006
[50] Duelfer, Charles. Expert: Iraq WMD Find Did Not Point to Ongoing Program (http:/ / www. npr. org/ templates/ story/ story.
php?storyId=5504298) NPR. June 22, 2006
Weapon of mass destruction 199

[51] Noah Shachtman. WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results (http:/ / www. wired. com/ dangerroom/ 2010/
10/ wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/ ) Wired. October 23, 2010
[52] "CIA's Final Report: No WMD Found in Iraq" (http:/ / www. msnbc. msn. com/ id/ 7634313/ ). MSNBC. 2005-04-25. .
[53] "Iraq WMD Inspectors End Search, Find Nothing" (http:/ / www. foxnews. com/ story/ 0,2933,154574,00. html). Fox News. 2005-04-26. .
[54] http:/ / www. wmdawareness. org. uk/
[55] John Pike. "Sandia National Laboratories – News Releases" (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ wmd/ library/ news/ usa/ 1998/
980803-nuclear. htm). . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[56] John Pike. "17 Days in May – India Nuclear Forces" (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ wmd/ world/ india/ chron. htm).
. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[57] The Pipa/Knowledge Networks Polll (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20050929024408/ http:/ / www. pipa. org/ OnlineReports/ WMD/
WMDreport_04_15_04. pdf)
[58] Russian public opinion on nuclear weapons (2005-08-05). "Russian public opinion on nuclear weapons – Blog – Russian strategic nuclear
forces" (http:/ / russianforces. org/ eng/ blog/ archive/ 000580. shtml). . Retrieved 2010-08-05.
[59] "Origin of the Radiation Warning Symbol (Trefoil)" (http:/ / www. orau. org/ ptp/ articlesstories/ radwarnsymbstory. htm). .
[60] "Biohazard and radioactive Symbol, design and proportions" (http:/ / www. michigan. gov/ documents/ CIS_WSH_part476_54539_7. pdf). .
[61] Linda Lodding, " Drop it and Run! New Symbol Warns of Radiation Dangers and Aims to Save Lives (http:/ / www. iaea. org/ Publications/
Magazines/ Bulletin/ Bull482/ pdfs/ 18RadSymbol. pdf)," IAEA Bulletin 482 (March 2007): 70–72.
[62] "Biohazard Symbol History" (http:/ / www. hms. harvard. edu/ orsp/ coms/ BiosafetyResources/ History-of-Biohazard-Symbol. htm). .

• Chemical and Biological Weapons: Use in Warfare, Impact on Society and Environment (http://www., by Gert G. Harigel, 2001.

Further reading

Weapons of Mass Destruction was the 2001–2002 Debate Resolution (policy debate).
"Resolved: The United States federal government should establish a foreign policy significantly limiting the use of
weapons of mass destruction. (2001–2002)"

Definition and origin

• WMD: Where Did the Phrase Come from? (, by William Mallon, 2003,
History News Network.
• Definitions of WMD (, Monterey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation
Studies, September, 2004.
• WMD: Words of mass dissemination (, BBC News, February
12, 2003.
• What makes a weapon one of mass destruction? (,,7813-991589,00.
html), by Michael Evans, The Times, February 6, 2004.
Weapon of mass destruction 200

International law
• UN Resolution 687 (1991) (, FAS.
• Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Law (, by David P.
Fidler, February 2003.
• UN Security Council Resolutions (
• Non-Proliferation Under Security Council Resolution 1540 (
NonProliferation/NonProlif Res 1540.htm), by Duncan Currie, May 5, 2004
• A New U.N. Approach to International Security In An Age of Weapons of Mass Destruction (http://web.
un_approach_to_intl_security_parker_pate.htm), by Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker and Bryan Pate.
• FindLaw Forum: Weapons of mass destruction and international law's principle that civilians cannot be targeted
(, by Joanne Mariner,

• Media Coverage of Weapons of Mass Destruction (, by Susan D. Moeller, Center for International and
Security Studies at Maryland, 2004.
• Memory for fact, fiction, and misinformation (
asp?ref=0956-7976), by Stephan Lewandowsky, Werner G.K. Stritzke, Klaus Oberauer, and Michael Morales,
Psychological Science, 16(3): 190–195, 2005.
• BBC News article on easyJet ad campaign (

• Is All Fair in Biological Warfare? ( by Jacob Appel, Journal
of Medical Ethics, June 2009.

Public perceptions
• (,
The PIPA/Knowledge Networks Poll, April 15, 2004.

External links
• New Video: A World Without Nuclear Weapons (
• National Counterproliferation Center – Office of the Director of National Intelligence (http://www.counterwmd.
• ( Homeland Security Watch policy and current events resource
• Office of the Special Assistant for Chemical Biological Defense and Chemical Demilitarization Programs (http://, Official Department of Defense web site that provides information about the DoD
Chemical Biological Defense Program
• United Nations: Disarmament (
• US Department of State (
• Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) (
• Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) (
• Federation of American Scientists (FAS) (
• Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (
Weapon of mass destruction 201

• Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (http://digital.library.
• (
• Avoiding Armageddon (, PBS
• FAS assessment of countries that own weapons of mass destruction (
• Terrorism and the Threat From Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East (
• Iranian Chemical Attacks Victims ( (Payvand News
• Iran: 'Forgotten Victims' Of Saddam Hussein Era Await Justice (
• Comparison of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese translations (
• Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (
• The WMD Awareness Programme (, Inspired by the 1995 Nobel Peace
Prize winner Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat, The WMD Awareness Programme is dedicated to providing
trustworthy and up to date information on Weapons of Mass Destruction world wide.
• Radius Engineering International Inc. "Nuclear Weapons Effects" ( table.
pdf). In Radius Engineering International Inc (in en). Retrieved 20 december 2010. These tables describe the
effects of various nuclear blast sizes. All figures are for 15 mph (13 kn; 24 km/h) winds. Thermal burns represent
injuries to an unprotected person. The legend describes the data.
• Biological Weapons Effects (
id=54&Itemid=66) The types of organisms used in biological weapons and how they can be destroyed.
• Chemical Weapons Effects (
id=53&Itemid=67) The types of chemicals used in chemical weapons and how they can be destroyed.
• Gareth Porter, Documents linking Iran to nuclear weapons push may have been fabricated (
news/2008/IAEA_suspects_fraud_in_evidence_for_1109.html), TheRawStory, November 10, 2008
• Gareth Porter, The Iranian Nuke Forgeries: CIA Determines Documents were Fabricated (http://www., CounterPunch, December 29, 2009
Strategic Defense Initiative 202

Strategic Defense Initiative

Strategic Defense Initiative Organization

Agency overview

Formed 1984

Dissolved 1993 (renamed)

Superseding agency Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

Missile Defense Agency

Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was created by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use
ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The
initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic offense doctrine of mutual assured destruction
(MAD). The Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) was set up in 1984 within the United States
Department of Defense to oversee the Strategic Defense Initiative.
The ambitious initiative was "widely criticized as being unrealistic, even unscientific" as well as for threatening to
destabilize MAD and re-ignite "an offensive arms race".[2] It was soon derided as Star Wars, after the popular 1977
film by George Lucas. In 1987, the American Physical Society concluded that a global shield such as "Star Wars"
was not only impossible with existing technology, but that ten more years of research was needed to learn whether it
might ever be feasible.[3]
Under the administration of President Bill Clinton in 1993, its name was changed to the Ballistic Missile Defense
Organization (BMDO) and its emphasis was shifted from national missile defense to theater missile defense; and its
scope from global to more regional coverage. It was never truly developed or deployed, though certain aspects of
SDI research and technologies paved the way for some anti-ballistic missile systems of today. BMDO was renamed
to the Missile Defense Agency in 2002. This article covers defense efforts under the SDIO.
Space-related defense research and testing remains heavily-budgeted to this day, irrespective of the program names,
operative/reporting organizations, politics, or reports to the contrary in the press. Although it is difficult to compile
actual spending totals across the complete spectrum of space-based defense programs (including classified
"off-budget" "black projects"), the U.S. has certainly invested well over $100 billion on "SDI" and follow-on
programs, and holds a commanding lead over all current or potential future adversaries in the realm of space
Under the SDIO's Innovative Sciences and Technology Office, headed by physicist and engineer James A. Ionson,
Ph.D.,[4] the investment was predominantly made in basic research at national laboratories, universities, and in
industry, and these programs have continued to be key sources of funding for top research scientists in the fields of
high-energy physics, supercomputing/computation, advanced materials, and many other critical science and
Strategic Defense Initiative 203

engineering disciplines: funding which indirectly supports other research work by top scientists, and which would be
largely unavailable outside of the defense budget environment.


Bombers to ICBMs
Although the Germans put considerable effort into the first surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) after 1943, they did not
have enough time to develop operational-level weapons before the war ended.
Their research proved valuable to teams in the US and USSR, where missile programs slowly developed in the
immediate post-war era. As the cold war started, the Soviets found themselves facing massive USAF and RAF
bomber fleets they could not hope to counter in the air. In response they dramatically increased their efforts in SAM
development, deploying the SA-1 Guild system around Moscow as early as 1955.[5] This was followed by the
dramatically improved and semi-mobile SA-2 Guideline, a weapon that remains in service in the 2000s. Similar US
and UK weapons soon followed. By the late 1950s, as missiles developed both in quality and number, the ability for
the US air fleet to penetrate Soviet airspace was increasingly at risk.
In response, both sides increased their efforts to develop long-range missiles. The Soviets, with no effective bomber
force of their own, put considerable effort into their program and quickly brought their basic R-7 Semyorka system
into operation in 1959.[6] The US's SM-65 Atlas followed almost immediately thereafter.[7] These early examples
were useful only for attacking large targets like cities or ports, but their relative invulnerability and low cost provided
both sides with a credible force in an era of stiffening air defenses.

At first it appeared that the ICBM could be countered by systems similar to the ever-evolving SAMs already in
operation. The ICBM's high trajectory meant they became visible to defensive radars not long after being launched,
which meant that defensive systems would have time to prepare. Although they moved quickly in flight, early
re-entry systems slowed dramatically once they reached the lower atmosphere,[8] which gave time for a fast missile
to attack it. By the early 1960s both nations were working on their first anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems.
As ABMs were being developed, countermeasures were also being studied. As the systems generally used
long-range radars to find and track the incoming warheads, the simplest solution was to add radar reflectors and
other decoys to the launch. These took up little room or weight, but would make a radar return that looked like an
additional warhead. This would force the defender to use more ABMs to ensure the "right" object was hit, or wait
until they started to re-enter, when the lighter objects would slow down faster and leave the warhead racing ahead.
Neither option was particularly attractive in cost terms, generally requiring more and faster missiles.
A better understanding of EMP presented new problems; a warhead set off at high altitudes and long ranges from the
defensive missiles could blind the radars, making the incoming warheads only become visible at lower altitudes.
This would further reduce the amount of time the ABM system had to react.[9] Systems using non-obvious
approaches might be able to blind the radars in a sneak attack; the Soviets developed the R-36 with a system called
Fractional Orbital Bombardment System to allow attacks on US missile fields from low altitudes and/or from the
south, while the US relied on manned bombers for the same role.
Making matters worse was the continual increase in ICBM numbers. Even before the systems were ready for use, the
number of interceptor missiles needed to effectively deter an attack kept increasing. As the ABM systems were
expensive, it appeared the simplest way to defeat them was to simply make more ICBMs and deliberately start an
arms race the defender could not win.[10] The introduction of MIRV systems dramatically upset this in the favour of
the attack; missiles now carried several warheads that would be dispersed over wide areas, so now every new ICBM
built would require a small fleet of ABMs to counter it.[11] Both the US and USSR rushed to introduce new weapons
with MIRV systems, and the number of warheads in the world rapidly proliferated.[12]
Strategic Defense Initiative 204

Whether or not deploying an ABM system was worthwhile was a highly contentious issue.[13] The US scaled back
their plans significantly and their Sentinel Program aimed only to counter the small Chinese ICBM force, a limited
Soviet attack or an accidental launch. By the late 1960s, widespread efforts were underway to solve the problem
diplomatically instead of with more missiles. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed in 1972, placed limits on the
number of ABM systems, later followed by limits on the number of warheads. Both countries continued to deploy a
single ABM site; the US briefly deployed a single site under their Safeguard Program, while the Soviets deployed
A35/A135 missile defense system around Moscow.

Attack from above

Throughout the development of the ABM, another possibility existed that avoided most of these problems. If the
interceptors were placed in orbit, some of them could be positioned over the Soviet Union at all times. These would
fly "down hill" to attack the missiles, so they could be considerably smaller and cheaper than an interceptor that
needed to launch up from the ground. It was also much easier to track the ICBMs during launch, due to their huge
infrared signatures, and disguising these signatures would require the construction of large rockets instead of small
radar decoys. Moreover, each interceptor could kill one ICBM; MIRV had no effect. As long as the interceptor
missile was inexpensive, the advantage was on the side of the defense.
The US Air Force had studied these concepts under Project Defender as early as 1958,[14] which included work on
the "Ballistic Missile Boost Interceptor", or BAMBI. BAMBI interceptors would be deployed on a series of
satellites, and would be launched towards ICBMs as they climbed. As they approached the ICBM, they would open a
large metal net, which would destroy the missile on impact. Depending on assumptions about the accuracy of the
system and the number of missiles it would have to face, between 400 and 3,600 such satellites would be needed in
order to keep enough above the USSR at any one time.[15] The Air Force concluded that there was simply no way to
launch the required number of satellites, let alone have any way to service them. As their space logistical abilities
improved through the 1960s they continued to study the problem, but in each case the problem of increasing ICBM
numbers meant the numbers of interceptors needed grew to overwhelm any possible launch capability.
However, the introduction of the laser in the 1960s appeared to offer the possibility of a way out of the problem. The
amount of time needed to attack any one missile was known as the "dwell time",[16] and if a powerful laser had a
short dwell time, say 10 seconds, it would be able to attack multiple missiles during the minutes while the ICBM was
launching. Given current laser energies this was impractical, but the concept was studied throughout the 1960s and

X-ray laser
In 1979 Edward Teller contributed to a Hoover Institution publication where he claimed that the US would be facing
an emboldened USSR due to their work on civil defense. Two years later at a conference in Italy, he made the same
claims about their ambitions, but with a subtle change; now he claimed that the reason for their boldness was their
development of new space-based weapons. In fact, there was no evidence at all that such research was being carried
out, what had really changed was that Teller was now selling his latest nuclear weapon, the x-ray laser. Finding
limited success in his efforts to get funding for the project, his speech in Italy was a new attempt to create a missile
The new weapon was the result of a 1977 development by George Chapline, Jr. of Lawrence Livermore's
"O-Group". Livermore had been working on x-ray lasers for some time, but Chapline found a new solution that used
the massive release of x-rays from a nuclear warhead as the source of light for small baseball-bat sized lasing crystal
in the form of a metal rod.[18] The concept was first tried out in 1978s underground nuclear test "Diabolo Hawk" but
had failed. Peter Hagelstein, new to O Group, set about creating computer simulations of the system in order to
understand why. At first he demonstrated that Chapline's original calculations were simply wrong and the Diabolo
Hawk system could not possibly work. But as he continued his efforts, he found, to his dismay, that using heavier
Strategic Defense Initiative 205

metals appeared to make a machine that would work. Through 1979 a new test was planned to take advantage of his
work.[19] The follow-up test in November 1980s "Dauphin" appeared to be a success, and plans were made for a
major series of experiments in the early 1980s under "Excalibur".[20]
Since the lasing medium was fairly small, a single bomb could host a number of them and attack multiple ICBMs in
a single burst. The Soviet ICBM fleet had tens of thousands of warheads, but only about 1,400 missiles.[21] If each
satellite had two dozen lasers, two dozen satellites on-station would significantly blunt any attack. In Molniya orbits,
where the satellites would spend much of their time over the USSR, only a few dozen satellites would be needed, in
total. An article in Aviation Week and Space Technology described how the devices "... are so small that a single
payload bay on the space shuttle could carry to orbit a number sufficient to stop a Soviet nuclear weapons attack".[20]
Some time later Teller used similar language in a letter to Paul Nitze, who was preparing a new round of strategic
limitations talks, stating that "A single x-ray laser module the size of an executive desk... could potentially shoot
down the entire Soviet land-based missile force..."[22]
Livermore is just one of several major US weapons labs. Other labs had been working on ideas of their own, from
new space or ground-based missiles, to chemical lasers, to particle beam weapons. Angelo Codevilla argued for
similar funding for powerful chemical lasers as well.[20] None of these efforts were taken very seriously by members
of the Carter administration. In a meeting with Teller and Lowell Wood, a critic noted that the Soviets could easily
defeat the system by attacking the satellite, who's only defense was to destroy itself. They also pointed out that the
US public would be unlikely to accept nuclear bombs in space, regardless of the potential benefits. At the time Teller
was stymied by these arguments; the concept was later adapted to be popped-up from submarines based off the
Russian coast.

Initial impetus
In 1979 Ronald Reagan visited the NORAD command base under Cheyenne Mountain where he was first introduced
to the extensive tracking and detection systems extending throughout the world and into space. However, he was
struck by their comments that while they could track the attack down to the individual targets, there was nothing one
could do to stop it. Reagan felt that in the event of an attack this would place the president in a terrible position
between immediate counterattack or attempting to absorb the attack and maintain an upper hand in the post-attack
era. In the fall of 1979, at Reagan's request, Lieutenant General Daniel O. Graham conceived a concept he called the
High Frontier, an idea of strategic defense using ground- and space-based weapons theoretically possible because of
emerging technologies. It was designed to replace the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, a doctrine that
Reagan and his aides described as a suicide pact.[23]
The initial focus of the strategic defense initiative was a nuclear explosion-powered X-ray laser designed at
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by a scientist named Peter L. Hagelstein[24] who worked with a team
called 'O Group', doing much of the work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. O Group was headed by physicist
Lowell Wood, a protégé and friend of Edward Teller, the "father of the hydrogen bomb".
Ronald Reagan was told of Hagelstein's breakthrough by Teller in 1983, which prompted Reagan's March 23, 1983,
"Star Wars" speech. Reagan announced, "I call upon the scientific community who gave us nuclear weapons to turn
their great talents to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons
impotent and obsolete." This speech, along with Reagan's Evil Empire speech on March 8, 1983, in Florida, ushered
in the final major escalation in rhetoric of the Cold War prior to a thawing of relations in the mid- to late-1980s.
The concept for the space-based portion was to use lasers to shoot down incoming Soviet intercontinental ballistic
missiles (ICBMs) armed with nuclear warheads. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hans Bethe went to Livermore in
February 1983 for a two-day briefing on the X-ray laser, and "Although impressed with its scientific novelty, Bethe
went away highly skeptical it would contribute anything to the nation's defense."[25]
Strategic Defense Initiative 206

Project and proposals

In 1984, the Strategic Defense Initiative
Organization (SDIO) was established to
oversee the program, which was headed by
Lt. General James Alan Abrahamson USAF,
a past Director of the NASA Space Shuttle
program.[1] Research and development
initiated by the SDIO created significant
technological advances in computer
systems, component miniaturization, sensors
and missile systems that form the basis for
current systems.

Initially, the program focused on large scale

systems designed to defeat a Soviet President Reagan delivering the March 23, 1983 speech initiating SDI.
offensive strike. However, as the threat
diminished, the program shifted towards smaller systems designed to defeat limited or accidental launches.
By 1987, the SDIO had developed a national missile defense concept called the Strategic Defense System Phase I
Architecture. This concept consisted of ground and space based sensors and weapons, as well as a central battle
management system.[26] The ground-based systems operational today trace their roots back to this concept.
In his 1991 State of the Union Address George H. W. Bush shifted the focus of SDI from defense of North America
against large scale strikes to a system focusing on theater missile defense called Global Protection Against Limited
Strikes (GPALS).[27]
In 1993, the Clinton administration further shifted the focus to ground-based interceptor missiles and theater scale
systems, forming the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and closing the SDIO. Ballistic missile
defense was revived by the George W. Bush administration as the National Missile Defense (since renamed
"Ground-Based Midcourse Defense").
Strategic Defense Initiative 207

Ground-based programs

Extended Range Interceptor (ERINT)

The Extended Range Interceptor (ERINT) program was part of SDI's
Theater Missile Defense Program and was an extension of the Flexible
Lightweight Agile Guided Experiment (FLAGE), which included
developing hit-to-kill technology and demonstrating the guidance
accuracy of a small, agile, radar-homing vehicle.
FLAGE scored a direct hit against a MGM-52 Lance missile in flight,
at White Sands Missile Range in 1987. ERINT was a prototype missile
similar to the FLAGE, but it used a new solid-propellant rocket motor
that allowed it to fly faster and higher than FLAGE.
Under BMDO, ERINT was later chosen as the Patriot Advanced
Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile.[28]

Extended Range Interceptor (ERINT) launch

from White Sands Missile Range.

Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE)

Given concerns about the previous programs using nuclear-tipped
interceptors, in the 1980s the U.S. Army began studies about the
feasibility of hit-to-kill vehicles, where an interceptor missile would
destroy an incoming ballistic missile just by colliding with it head-on.
The Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) was the first hit-to-kill
system tested by the US Army, and also the first successful hit-to-kill
intercept of a mock ballistic missile warhead outside the Earth’s
The HOE used a Kinetic Kill Vehicle (KKV) to destroy a ballistic
4 m (13 ft) diameter web deployed by Homing
missile. The KKV was equipped with an infrared seeker, guidance
Overlay Experiment
electronics and a propulsion system. Once in space, the KKV could
extend a folded structure similar to an umbrella skeleton of 4 m (13 ft)
diameter to enhance its effective cross section. This device would destroy the ICBM reentry vehicle on collision.
Four test launches were conducted in 1983 and 1984 at Kwajalein Missile Range in the Republic of the Marshall
Islands. For each test a Minuteman missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying a
single mock re-entry vehicle targeted for Kwajalein lagoon more than 4000 miles (6400 km) away.
After test failures with the first three flight tests because of guidance and sensor problems, the fourth and final test on
June 10, 1984 was successful, intercepting the Minuteman RV with a closing speed of about 6.1 km/s at an altitude
of more than 160 km.[29]
Strategic Defense Initiative 208

Although the fourth test succeeded, the New York Times charged in August 1993 that the test had been rigged.
Investigations into this charge by the Department of Defense, headed John Deutch for Secretary of Defense Les
Aspin, and the General Accounting Office concluded that the test was a valid, successful test.[30]
This technology was later used by the SDI and expanded into the Exoatmospheric Reentry-vehicle Interception
System (ERIS) program.[31]

Exoatmospheric Reentry-vehicle Interception System (ERIS)

Developed by Lockheed as part of the ground-based interceptor portion of SDI, the Exoatmospheric Reentry-vehicle
Interception System (ERIS) began in 1985, with at least two tests occurring in the early 1990s. This system was
never deployed, but the technology of the system was used in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
system and the Ground Based Interceptor currently deployed as part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense
(GMD) system.[32]

Directed-energy weapon (DEW) programs

X-ray laser
An early focus of the project was toward a curtain of
X-ray lasers powered by nuclear explosions. The
curtain was to be deployed using a series of missiles
launched from submarines or, later on, satellites, during
the critical seconds following a Soviet attack. The
satellites would be powered by built-in nuclear
warheads – in theory, the energy from the warhead
detonation would be used to pump a series of laser
emitters in the missiles or satellites, allowing each
satellite to shoot down many incoming warheads
simultaneously. The attraction of this approach was that An artist's concept of a Space Laser Satellite Defense System, 1984.
(Not any one system specifically, just generalized concept artwork)
it was thought to be faster than an optical laser, which
could only shoot down warheads one at a time, limiting
the number of warheads each laser could destroy in the short time 'window' of an attack.

However, on March 26, 1983,[33] the first test, known as the Cabra event, was performed in an underground shaft
and resulted in marginally positive readings that could be dismissed as being caused by a faulty detector. Since a
nuclear explosion was used as the power source, the detector was destroyed during the experiment and the results
therefore could not be confirmed. Technical criticism[34] based upon unclassified calculations suggested that the
X-ray laser would be of at best marginal use for missile defense.[35] Such critics often cite the X-ray laser system as
being the primary focus of SDI, with its apparent failure being a main reason to oppose the program. However, the
laser was never more than one of the many systems being researched for ballistic missile defense.
Despite the apparent failure of the Cabra test, the long term legacy of the X-ray laser program is the knowledge
gained while conducting the research. A parallel developmental program advanced laboratory X-ray lasers[36] for
biological imaging and the creation of 3D holograms of living organisms. Other spin-offs include research on
advanced materials like SEAgel and Aerogel, the Electron-Beam Ion Trap facility for physics research, and
enhanced techniques for early detection of breast cancer.[37]
Strategic Defense Initiative 209

Chemical laser
Beginning in 1985, the Air Force tested an SDIO-funded deuterium fluoride laser
known as Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL) at White Sands
Missile Range. During a simulation, the laser successfully destroyed a Titan
missile booster in 1985, however the test setup had the booster shell pressurized
and under considerable compression loads. These test conditions were used to
simulate the loads a booster would be under during launch.[38] The system was
later tested on target drones simulating cruise missiles for the US Navy, with
some success. After the SDIO closed, the MIRACL was tested on an old Air SeaLite Beam Director, commonly
Force satellite for potential use as an Anti-satellite weapon, with mixed results. used as the output for the MIRACL.
The technology was also used to develop the Tactical High Energy Laser,
(THEL) which is being tested to shoot down artillery shells.[39]

During the mid to late 1980s a number of panel discussions on lasers and SDI took place at various laser
conferences.[40] Proceedings of these conferences include papers on the status of chemical and other high power
lasers at the time.
The Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser program uses a chemical laser which has successfully intercepted a
missile taking off,[41] so an offshoot of SDI could be said to have successfully implemented one of the key goals of
the program.

Neutral Particle Beam

In July 1989, the Beam Experiments Aboard a Rocket (BEAR) program launched a sounding rocket containing a
neutral particle beam (NPB) accelerator. The experiment successfully demonstrated that a particle beam would
operate and propagate as predicted outside the atmosphere and that there are no unexpected side-effects when firing
the beam in space. After the rocket was recovered, the particle beam was still operational.[42] According to the
BMDO, the research on neutral particle beam accelerators, which was originally funded by the SDIO, could
eventually be used to reduce the half-life of nuclear waste products using accelerator-driven transmutation
Strategic Defense Initiative 210

Laser and mirror experiments

The High Precision Tracking Experiment (HPTE), launched with
the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-51-G, was tested June 21,
1985 when a Hawaii-based low-power laser successfully tracked
the experiment and bounced the laser off of the HPTE mirror.
The Relay mirror experiment (RME), launched in February 1990,
demonstrated critical technologies for space-based relay mirrors
that would be used with an SDI directed-energy weapon system.
The experiment validated stabilization, tracking, and pointing
concepts and proved that a laser could be relayed from the ground
to a 60 cm mirror on an orbiting satellite and back to another
ground station with a high degree of accuracy and for extended

Launched on the same rocket as the RME, the Low-power

Atmospheric Compensation Experiment (LACE) satellite was
built by the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to
explore atmospheric distortion of lasers and real-time adaptive Technicians at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL),
compensation for that distortion. The LACE satellite also included work on the Low-powered Atmosphere Compensation
Experiment (LACE) satellite.
several other experiments to help develop and improve SDI
sensors, including target discrimination using background
radiation and tracking ballistic missiles using Ultra-Violet Plume Imaging (UVPI).[45] LACE was also used to
evaluate ground-based adaptive optics, a technique now used in civilian telescopes to remove atmospheric

Hypervelocity Rail Gun (CHECMATE)

Research into hypervelocity rail gun technology was done to build an information base about rail guns so that SDI
planners would know how to apply the technology to the proposed defense system. The SDI rail gun investigation,
called the Compact High Energy Capacitor Module Advanced Technology Experiment (CHECMATE), had been
able to fire two projectiles per day during the initiative. This represented a significant improvement over previous
efforts, which were only able to achieve about one shot per month. Hypervelocity rail guns are, at least conceptually,
an attractive alternative to a space-based defense system because of their envisioned ability to quickly shoot at many
targets. Also, since only the projectile leaves the gun, a railgun system can potentially fire many times before
needing to be resupplied.
A hypervelocity rail gun works very much like a particle accelerator insofar as it converts electrical potential energy
into kinetic energy imparted to the projectile. A conductive pellet (the projectile) is attracted down the rails by
electric current flowing through a rail. Through the magnetic forces that this system achieves, a force is exerted on
the projectile moving it down the rail. Railguns can generate muzzle-velocities in excess of 24 miles per second. At
this velocity, even a rifle-bullet sized projectile will penetrate the front armor of a main battle tank, let alone a thinly
protected missile guidance system.
Rail guns face a host of technical challenges before they will be ready for battlefield deployment. First, the rails
guiding the projectile must carry very high amperage and voltage. Each firing of the railgun produces tremendous
current flow (almost half a million amperes) through the rails, causing rapid erosion of the rail's surfaces (through
ohmic heating, and even vaporization of the rail-surface.) Early prototypes were essentially single-use weapons,
requiring complete replacement of the rails after each firing. Another challenge with the rail gun system is projectile
survivability. The projectiles experience acceleration force in excess of 100,000 g. In order to be effective, the fired
Strategic Defense Initiative 211

projectile must first survive the mechanical stress of firing, the thermal effects of a trip through the atmosphere at
many times the speed of sound, and then the subsequent impact with the target. In-flight guidance, if implemented,
would require the onboard guidance system to be built to the same standard of sturdiness as the main mass of the
In addition to being considered for destroying ballistic missile threats, rail guns were also being planned for service
in space platform (sensor and battle station) defense. This potential role reflected defense planner expectations that
the rail guns of the future would be capable of not only rapid fire, but also of multiple firings (on the order of tens to
hundreds of shots).[46]

Space-based programs

Space-Based Interceptor (SBI)

Groups of interceptors were to be housed in orbital modules. Hover testing was completed in 1988 and demonstrated
integration of the sensor and propulsion systems in the prototype SBI. It also demonstrated the ability of the seeker
to shift its aiming point from a rocket's hot plume to its cool body, a first for infrared ABM seekers. Final hover
testing occurred in 1992 using miniaturized components similar to what would have actually been used in an
operational interceptor. These prototypes eventually evolved into the Brilliant Pebbles program.[47]

Brilliant Pebbles
Brilliant Pebbles was a non-nuclear system of satellite-based
mini-missiles designed to use a high-velocity, watermelon-sized[48]
kinetic warhead.[49] It was designed to operate in conjunction with the
Brilliant Eyes sensor system and would have detected and destroyed
missiles without any external guidance. The project was conceived in
November 1986.[50]

John H. Nuckolls, director of Lawrence Livermore National

Laboratory from 1988 to 1994, described the system as “The crowning
achievement of the Strategic Defense Initiative”. Some of the Brilliant Pebbles concept artwork.
technologies developed for SDI were used in numerous later projects.
For example, the sensors and cameras that were developed for Brilliant Pebbles became components of the
Clementine mission and SDI technologies may also have a role in future missile defense efforts.[51]

Though regarded as one of the most capable SDI systems, the Brilliant Pebbles program was canceled in 1994 by the
Strategic Defense Initiative 212

Sensor programs
SDIO sensor research encompassed visible light, ultraviolet,
infrared, and radar technologies, and eventually led to the
Clementine mission though that mission occurred just after the
program transitioned to the BMDO. Like other parts of SDI, the
sensor system initially was very large-scale, but after the Soviet
threat diminished it was cut back.

Boost Surveillance and Tracking System (BSTS)

BSTS was part of the SDIO in the late '80s, and was designed to
assist detection of missile launches, especially during the boost
phase. However, once the SDI program shifted toward theater
missile defense in the early '90s, the system left SDIO control and
was transferred to the Air Force.[53]

Space Surveillance and Tracking System (SSTS)

SSTS was a system originally designed for tracking ballistic
missiles during their mid-course phase. It was designed to work in
conjunction with BSTS, but was later scaled down in favor of the Delta 183 launch vehicle lifts off, carrying the SDI
Brilliant Eyes program.[47] sensor experiment "Delta Star", on March 24, 1989.

Brilliant Eyes
Brilliant Eyes was a simpler derivative of the SSTS that focused on theater ballistic missiles rather than ICBMs and
was meant to operate in conjunction with the Brilliant Pebbles system.
Brilliant Eyes was renamed Space and Missile Tracking System (SMTS) and scaled back further under BMDO, and
in the late 1990s it became the low earth orbit component of the Air Force's Space Based Infrared System

Other sensor experiments

The Delta 183 program used a satellite known as Delta Star to test several sensor related technologies. Delta Star
carried an infrared imager, a long-wave infrared imager, an ensemble of imagers and photometers covering several
visible and ultraviolet bands as well as a laser detector and ranging device. The satellite observed several ballistic
missile launches including some releasing liquid propellant as a countermeasure to detection. Data from the
experiments led to advances in sensor technologies. Prior to the Reagan administration, software under the United
States Military Advancement for Technological Progress grant began development of a piece of software code
named Resolution Generator. Once Reagan was elected in 1981, the software and its code name were removed from
the defense budget. Not much else is known, but historians believe that it was the government's first attempt at
acquiring personal information from large corporate servers.[55]
Strategic Defense Initiative 213

In war-fighting, countermeasures can have a variety of
1. The immediate tactical action to reduce
vulnerability, such as chaff, decoys, and
2. Counter strategies which exploit a weakness of an
opposing system, such as adding more MIRV
warheads which are less expensive than the
interceptors fired against them.
3. Defense suppression. That is, attacking elements of
the defensive system.
Countermeasures of various types have long been a key
An artist's concept of a ground / space-based hybrid laser weapon,
part of warfighting strategy. However, with SDI they
attained a special prominence due to the system cost,
scenario of a massive sophisticated attack, strategic
consequences of a less-than-perfect defense, outer spacebasing of many proposed weapons systems, and political
Whereas the current U.S. NMD system is designed around a relatively limited and unsophisticated attack, SDI
planned for a massive attack by a sophisticated opponent. This raised significant issues about economic and technical
costs associated with defending against anti-ballistic missile defense countermeasures used by the attacking side.
For example, if it had been much cheaper to add attacking warheads than to add defenses, an attacker of similar
economic power could have simply outproduced the defender. This requirement of being "cost effective at the
margin" was first formulated by Paul Nitze in November, 1985.[56]
In addition, SDI envisioned many space-based systems in fixed orbits, ground-based sensors, command, control and
communications facilities, etc. In theory, an advanced opponent could have targeted those, in turn requiring
self-defense capability or increased numbers to compensate for attrition.
A sophisticated attacker having the technology to use decoys, shielding, maneuvering warheads, defense
suppression, or other countermeasures would have multiplied the difficulty and cost of intercepting the real
warheads. SDI design and operational planning had to factor in these countermeasures and the associated cost.
Strategic Defense Initiative 214

Controversy and criticism

SDI may have been first dubbed "Star Wars" by opponent Dr.
Carol Rosin, a consultant and former spokeswoman for Wernher
von Braun. However, Missile Defense Agency historians attribute
the term to a Washington Post article published March 24, 1983,
the day after the Star Wars speech, which quoted Democratic
Senator Ted Kennedy describing the proposal as "reckless Star
Wars schemes."[57] Some critics used that term derisively,
implying it was an impractical science fiction fantasy, but
supporters have adopted the usage as well on the grounds that
yesterday's science fiction is often tomorrow's engineering. In
comments to the media on March 7, 1986, Acting Deputy Director SDI wasn't just lasers; in this Kinetic Energy Weapon
of SDIO, Dr. Gerold Yonas, described the name "Star Wars" as an test, a seven gram Lexan projectile was fired from a
light gas gun at a velocity of 23,000 feet per second
important tool for Soviet disinformation and asserted that the
(7,000 meters per second or 15,682 miles per hour) at
nickname gave an entirely wrong impression of SDI.[58] this cast aluminum block.

Ashton Carter, a board member at MIT, assessed SDI for Congress

in 1984, saying there were a number of difficulties in creating an adequate missile defense shield, with or without
lasers. Carter said X-rays have a limited scope because they become diffused through the atmosphere, much like the
beam of a flashlight spreading outward in all directions. This means the X-rays needed to be close to the Soviet
Union, especially during the critical few minutes of the booster phase, in order for the Soviet missiles to be both
detectable to radar and targeted by the lasers themselves. Opponents disagreed, saying advances in technology, such
as using very strong laser beams, and by "bleaching" the column of air surrounding the laser beam, could increase
the distance that the X-ray would reach to successfully hit its target.

Physicist Hans Bethe, who worked with Edward Teller on both the nuclear bomb and the hydrogen bomb at Los
Alamos, claimed a laser defense shield was unfeasible. He said that a defensive system was costly and difficult to
build yet simple to destroy, and claimed that the Soviets could easily use thousands of decoys to overwhelm it during
a nuclear attack. He believed that the only way to stop the threat of nuclear war was through diplomacy and
dismissed the idea of a technical solution to the Cold War, saying that a defense shield could be viewed as
threatening because it would limit or destroy Soviet offensive capabilities while leaving the American offense intact.
In March 1984, Bethe coauthored a 106-page report for the Union of Concerned Scientists that concluded "the X-ray
laser offers no prospect of being a useful component in a system for ballistic missile defense."[59]
In response to this when Teller testified before Congress he stated that "instead of [Bethe] objecting on scientific and
technical grounds, which he thoroughly understands, he now objects on the grounds of politics, on grounds of
military feasibility of military deployment, on other grounds of difficult issues which are quite outside the range of
his professional cognizance or mine."
On June 28, 1985, David Lorge Parnas resigned from SDIO's Panel on Computing in Support of Battle Management,
arguing in 8 short papers that the software required by the Strategic Defense Initiative could never be made to be
trustworthy and that such a system would inevitably be unreliable and constitute a menace to humanity in its own
Strategic Defense Initiative 215

Treaty obligations
Another criticism of SDI was that it would require the United States to
modify, withdraw from, or violate previously ratified treaties. The
Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which requires "States Parties to the
Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects
carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass
destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such
SDI drew criticism from abroad as well. This
weapons in outer space in any other manner"[61] and would forbid the 1986 Socialist German Workers Youth graffiti in
US from pre-positioning in Earth orbit any devices powered by nuclear Kassel, West Germany says "Keinen Krieg der
weapons and any devices capable of "mass destruction". Only the Sterne! Stoppt SDI! SDAJ" or (No star wars!
nuclear-pumped X-ray laser would have violated this treaty since other
SDI systems would not utilize nuclear warheads.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and its subsequent protocol,[62] which limited missile defenses to one location per
country at 100 missiles each (which the USSR had and the US did not), would have been violated by SDI
ground-based interceptors. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires "Each of the Parties to the Treaty
undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at
an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and
effective international control." Many viewed favoring deployment of ABM systems as an escalation rather than
cessation of the nuclear arms race, and therefore a violation of this clause. On the other hand, many others did not
view SDI as an escalation.


SDI was criticized for potentially disrupting the strategic doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. MAD postulated
that intentional nuclear attack was inhibited by the certain ensuing mutual destruction. Even if a nuclear first strike
destroyed many of the opponent's weapons, sufficient nuclear missiles would survive to render a devastating
counter-strike against the attacker. The criticism was that SDI could have potentially allowed an attacker to survive
the lighter counter-strike, thus encouraging a first strike by the side having SDI. Another destabilizing scenario was
countries being tempted to strike first before SDI was deployed, thereby avoiding a disadvantaged nuclear posture.
Proponents of SDI argued that SDI development might instead cause the side that didn't have the resources to
develop SDI, to, rather than launching a suicidal nuclear first strike attack before the SDI system was deployed,
instead come to the bargaining table with the country that did have those resources, and, hopefully, agree to a real,
sincere disarmament pact that would drastically decrease all forces, both nuclear and conventional. Furthermore, the
MAD argument was criticized on the grounds that MAD only covered intentional, full-scale nuclear attacks by a
rational, non-suicidal opponent with similar values. It did not take into account limited launches, accidental launches,
rogue launches, or launches by non-state entities or covert proxies.
During the Reykjavik talks with Gorbachev in 1986, Ronald Reagan addressed Gorbachev's concerns about
imbalance by stating that SDI would be given to the Soviet Union to prevent the imbalance from occurring.
Gorbachev answered that he couldn't take this claim seriously.[63]
Strategic Defense Initiative 216

Non-ICBM delivery
Another criticism of SDI was that it would not be effective against non-space faring weapons, namely cruise
missiles, bombers, and non-conventional delivery methods. It was never intended to act as a defense against
non-space faring weapons.

Soviet View of SDI

The Soviet response to the SDI during the period March 1983 through
November 1985 provided indications of their view of the program both
as a threat and as an opportunity to weaken NATO. The SDI was seen
not only as a threat to the physical security of the Soviet Union but as
part of an effort by the United States to seize the strategic initiative by
neutralizing the military component of Soviet strategy. A major
objective of that strategy was the political separation of Western
Europe from the United States which the Soviets sought to facilitate by
SDI was high on Gorbachev's agenda at the
aggravating allied concern over the SDI's potential implications for
Geneva Summit, November 1985
European security and economic interests. The Soviet predisposition to
see deception behind the SDI was reinforced by their assessment of US
intentions and capabilities and the utility of military deception in furthering the achievement of political goals.[64]

Fiction and popular culture

Because of public awareness of the program and its controversial nature, SDI has been the subject of many fictional
and pop culture references. This is not intended to be a complete list of those references.
• The Japanese Heavy Metal band Loudness's song "S.D.I." is a criticism of the idea of this initiative inspiring
nuclear war.
• Dale Brown's novel Silver Tower details the adventures on and around a space station that employs an anti-ICBM
laser system called Skybolt against a Soviet invasion of Iran; it would reappear in the 2007 novel Strike Force and
the 2008 novel Shadow Command.
• Tom Clancy's novel The Cardinal of the Kremlin is based in part on a race between the USA and USSR to
complete laser-based SDI systems.
• Homer Hickam Jr's novel Back to the Moon used leftover SDI weapons, including the Homing Overlay
Experiment, in an attempt to kill the crew of shuttle Columbia.
• Whitley Streiber's novel Warday details how the Soviet Union launches a preemptive, limited nuclear attack on
the United States while it was deploying the Strategic Defense Initiative (called "Spiderweb" in the novel) out of
fears that the SDI would make the USA potentially invulnerable to Soviet missile attacks.
• In the Civilization series, there are several references to ICBM defense systems similar to SDI.
• The comedy movie Real Genius follows college physics prodigies who are unknowingly induced to develop a
space-based laser weapon system for the Air Force.
• In RoboCop, a brief satirical news story mentions how a Strategic Defense platform codenamed Peace,
malfunctioned in orbit, destroying a swathe of Southern California in the process.
• Spies Like Us follows two duped 'spies' who are told to launch a single Soviet missile towards the USA as part of
a black operation to demonstrate and justify the expense of SDI.
• In the 1993 Larry Bond novel Cauldron the GPALS system is depicted as having been deployed with the Brilliant
Pebbles weapons included. They are used to destroy all French and German military satellites covering an
invasion of Poland in the then-future of 1998.
Strategic Defense Initiative 217

• Frances Fitzgerald (2001). Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War. Simon &
Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0023-3.
• Broad, William J. (1985). Star Warriors: A penetrating look into the lives of the young scientists behind our space
age weaponry.. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7881-5115-0. (Reprint edition 1993; Diane Pub. Co.)
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[62] Protocol to the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic
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[63] CNN. Reagan-Gorbachev Transcripts (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080119172055/ http:/ / www. cnn. com/ SPECIALS/ cold. war/
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Strategic Defense Initiative 219

[64] Uchrinscko, Karl W, "Threat and Opportunity: The Soviet View of the Strategic Defense Initiative" (http:/ / oai. dtic. mil/ oai/
oai?verb=getRecord& metadataPrefix=html& identifier=ADA178649), Naval Postgraduate School, December 1986

External links
• Freedom of information act reading room - Strategic Defense Initiative (
• Missile Wars ( - A PBS Frontline report.
• Short History of SDI ( History of the Strategic Defense
Initiative (SDI), including the role of Total Quality Management (TQM) in its development
• Nuclear (
reagan_on-strategic-defense-iniative.htm) Ronald Reagan on the Strategic Defense Initiative
• Historical budgetary information (
• Possible Soviet Responses to the US Strategic Defense Initiative (
Article Sources and Contributors 220

Article Sources and Contributors

User:Rajah2770  Source:  Contributors: ArcAngel, JohnCD, MatthewVanitas, Rajah2770

Strategy  Source:  Contributors: A Macedonian, Aaron Kauppi, Addshore, Aff123a, Ahoerstemeier, Ailin82, Alansohn, Alberta74,
Alejandro Contreras R., Alexandru Stanoi, Alistairdavidson, Allen Moore, Alynna Kasmira, Ancheta Wis, Andreas Kaufmann, Andrewpmk, AndriuZ, Andrus Kallastu, Antandrus, AntiWhilst,
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Missile  Source:  Contributors: .:Ajvol:., 1 2 one, 400Hz100V, ACDCrocks14, Aaron Brenneman, Abb615, Aeonx, Ainlina, Ajraddatz,
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Wolfkeeper, Woody, Wysprgr2005, Yosri, Zhou Yu, Zhuuu, Zoogom, Zvika, ‫لیقع فشاک‬, రవిచంద్ర, 270 anonymous edits

Intercontinental ballistic missile  Source:  Contributors: .:Ajvol:.,, 1exec1, Abanamat, Abcx123, AceKingQueenJack,
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Xav71176, Yin61289, Youknowthatoneguy, Zedla, ZeroOne, रोहित रावत, 689 anonymous edits

Submarine  Source:  Contributors: (, -Midorihana-, -m-i-k-e-y-, ..Playa187.., 063092abcd, 159753umair, 1adrian1, 334a, 4wajzkd02, 52
Pickup,,, A. B., AHMartin, APRCooper, AVand, Aarchiba, Aaron Schulz, Aaronw, Abce2, Academic Challenger, Acdx, Adashiel, AdjustShift, Adresia, Adrian M.
H., Adrian roberts, Agent grey, Ahoerstemeier, Airportman92, Aitias, Alai, Alansohn, Aldis90, AlexPU, AlexPlank, Alexander Miseler, AlexiusHoratius, Alphachimp, Alureiter,
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Article Sources and Contributors 221

Katalaveno, Kate, Kbdank71, Keegan, Ken Gallager, Kesac, KevinQuimby, Kierant, Kikiller, Kingdon, Kingpin13, Kingturtle, Kinu, Kirill Lokshin, Kloh, Korath, Kornfan71, Kowey, Kralizec!,
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Communications satellite  Source:  Contributors: 96.149, A2Kafir, Aaaf-wiki, AbsolutDan, Acer, Adam850, Ahoerstemeier, AlainV,
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