Thursday, October 1, 2020
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Do US nuclear forces still rely on floppy disks?

Posted on Sunday, 27 October, 2019 | Comment icon 11 comments

Nuclear operations on floppy disk - what could possibly go wrong ? Image Credit: YouTube / Seeker
A few years ago it was revealed that US Strategic Command used floppy disks for its nuclear operations.
Given the sensitivity and critical importance of the United States' nuclear forces, it would be reasonable to assume that such systems are controlled by state-of-the-art computer technology.

Back in 2014 however, eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (or SACCS), which is used by America's nuclear forces to send emergency messages from command centers to the field, was still using 8-inch floppy disks.

This antiquated disk format was first introduced in 1972 and has been obsolete for decades, so why would the United States be using something like this for its nuclear operations of all things ?

It is not actually all that uncommon for long-lived systems to be using obsolete formats, mainly due to the cost of repeatedly upgrading to newer machines after spending large amounts of money developing the software to work on the original computers.
While potentially more secure due to their offline nature however, such machines are notoriously difficult to repair because replacement components haven't been produced in years.

Fortunately though, the US military has actually been working to modernize its computer systems and to phase out old floppy disks in favor of a modern and 'highly secure solid state digital storage solution' for sending messages between command centers and field forces.

While it is unclear whether or not the transition process is now complete, we can at least rest easy in knowing that the fate of the world no longer relies on the integrity of a few old 8-inch floppy disks.

You can find out more about how the old system worked in the video below.

Source: Engadget | Comments (11)

Tags: Nuclear, Floppy Disks

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by susieice on 27 October, 2019, 7:06
I haven't seen an 8" floppy in decades   Many are in UM that wouldn't even know what this is! You would think they would have at least used a 3 1/2. They held a little more.
Comment icon #3 Posted by third_eye on 27 October, 2019, 7:49
No money, use floppy...  ~
Comment icon #4 Posted by 'Walt' E. Kurtz on 27 October, 2019, 10:14
Anyone who remembers these I remember playing games like Xerox and digger on 8 inch discs :-)
Comment icon #5 Posted by RabidMongoose on 27 October, 2019, 13:23
The reason why the military stick with older technology is because they understand it, they understand its weaknesses, and they know they can rely on it. Its not classified information that the F-22 which began its initial design phase in the 1980s uses a 2mhz cpu from that era. The American government stockpiled several hundred of those processors for the production of the jet paying over $6 million per piece. The high price was because they required the manufacturer to open up a production line to make just those old cpus. The problem with current cpus is they are so complex no one can be su... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by weaselrunner on 27 October, 2019, 13:42
The military was surprised to find vacuum tubes used in the mig-25 and other soviet equipment. It's old but it works and less effected by emp effects than modern solid state electronics.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Jon the frog on 27 October, 2019, 14:53
I had an Atari 800 computer, and playing Encounter on a magnetic tape cassette  or Tunnel of doom on the TI99 ! It was so fun !  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Seti42 on 27 October, 2019, 17:18
NASA's probes and rovers use 'outdated' tech too. Sometimes old but solid and rigorously tested is better for critical stuff than the latest shiny new iProduct. If it does what it needs to do, securely and efficiently, it's good. That said, yeah...An upgrade to something solid state that isn't a consumer product might be a good idea. PS: I'd love to come upon a stack of pristine 8" floppies. I've wanted to do a small series of 70's and 80's cyberpunk inspired paintings on them for ages now...
Comment icon #9 Posted by S I N on 28 October, 2019, 0:07
So the military has this massive budget but it costs to much to upgrade ?
Comment icon #10 Posted by ThereWeAreThen on 28 October, 2019, 10:17
Behave ! Children may use this site.
Comment icon #11 Posted by highdesert50 on 29 October, 2019, 15:15
There are also legacy systems, written in what we might now describe as spaghetti code, that are complex. These can be easier to maintain than to rewrite especially so when iterative modifications have occurred over years and there is the potential of loosing some nuance.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:


'Jet suit' paramedics trialled in Lake District
Paramedics are hoping to use jet suits to quickly reach patients in some of the UK's most inaccessible areas.
Missing woman found alive floating in the sea
A woman who had been missing for two years has been found floating in the ocean and very much alive.
Man steals truck to attend 'alien rendezvous'
A man in Utah told police he had needed to 'get to the Colosseum to get on a flight with alien diplomats'.
Three lakes found beneath the surface of Mars
Scientists have confirmed the existence of a group of hidden lakes under the planet's south polar region.
Stories & Experiences
Ghost following me
9-18-2020 | Iowa
Mysterious glowing cube
8-23-2020 | Alabama
Black blob in my room/bed
7-23-2020 | Powell,TN U.S.
Transparent levitating ball
7-14-2020 | Santa Rosa, California
Grim reaper-like visitation
6-16-2020 | Canada
My monster catfish story
6-15-2020 | Dallas texas
Orb of light in room
5-9-2020 | USA/Texas/Waco
Not sleeping alone
5-9-2020 | Los Angeles

         More stories | Send us your story
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
NASA studies underwater 'white smoker' vents
Posted 4-17-2020 | 3 comments
Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor can teach us about possible habitats on other worlds.
10 strange things about our solar system
Posted 3-17-2020 | 0 comments
A look at some of the most mysterious things about our solar system.
Lizzie - Scotland's other loch monster
Posted 3-8-2020 | 0 comments
Amelia Dimoldenberg investigates the Loch Ness Monster's neighbor.
Adam Savage and Spot
Posted 2-14-2020 | 4 comments
Adam Savage tests out Boston Dynamics' impressive Spot robot.
NASA 2020: Are you ready ?
Posted 1-1-2020 | 3 comments
A look at what's coming up in the world of spaceflight this year.
 View: More videos
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 (c) 2001-2020
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ