America's Next Subway System Won't Carry Passengers

If the U.S. Air Force has its wish, America's next subway system won't be built in a city and won't carry passengers (not human ones anyway). Robert Beckhusen reports on plans for a "mobile doomsday train."
March 19, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The Air Force wants to upgrade its aging nuclear missiles and the hundreds of underground silos that hold them," says Beckhusen. "One idea it’s exploring: the construction of a sprawling network of underground subway tunnels to shuttle the missiles around like a mobile doomsday train. As one does."

"As first reported by Inside Defense, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will award several study contracts next month worth up to $3 million each to research the idea. A broad agency announcement from the Air Force describes the hair-raising concept, intended to keep the weapons secure through 2075, as a system of tunnels where nuclear missiles are shuttled around on rails or some undefined 'trackless' system."

"The project would likely be gigantic, expensive and take decades to build — all things that cut against cut against these relatively lean times at the Pentagon," cautions Beckhusen. But other options for replacing the U.S.’ silo-launched nuclear arsenal of 420 Minuteman III ballistic missiles seem equally costly and complex.

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Published on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Wired
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