New Video Highlights Missile Control System At F.E. Warren Air Force Base
More than likely because of the recent Hawaii Missile Alert scare, this video shows how an antiquated system is still used to operate the U.S. land based ICBMs: Minuteman Missiles. There are over 400 of these thermonuclear missiles scattered around the United States, but 150 are located here in Wyoming.
What is even more shocking is the computer system that operates the missiles. The computer is early 90's technology, but some of the tech, which includes the guidance system, is from the 1970s. They use a trackball, not a mouse (reminiscent of the old Atari 2600). The system also runs on 8-inch floppy disks. For those that don't remember this form of disk storage, it's mostly used for text documents. Each floppy holds a maximum of 250 kilobytes, which is equal to one low-res photo or an 8-bit song.
The computer has 100 megabyte hard drive and runs on 16 megabytes of RAM. The average smartphone is about 100 times faster and more powerful nowadays.
According to Air Force personnel, they use no WiFi, no bluetooth and no cloud-based systems. Although the technology is older than most of the technicians operating it, it does make the system a lot more difficult to hack.