December 1961 Radio-Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Electronics,
published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
The era of nuclear weapons
of course began in August of 1945 when they effectively ended World War II,
but it wasn't until around 1955 that another country - the
U.S.S.R. - developed a deployable thermonuclear bomb. Even before that happened,
the U.S. Department of Defense began planning for systems to detect and ultimately
disable enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)
and aircraft-delivered nuclear bombs. The
nuclear arms race
had begun, and continues to this day. Now, there are five countries recognized as
weapons, three countries declaring (but not verified) possession, and one country
implying possession. A somewhat insane concept dubbed "Mutual Assured Destruction"
(MAD) asserts that if everyone can strike and counterstrike with equal capability,
that will prevent nuclear warfare because the aggressor will suffer as significantly
as the victim. This 1961 Bell Telephone Labs promotion in Radio−Electronics
magazine introduced one of the early concepts for intercepting inbound ICBMs. The
most familiar and successful system, developed under the name of
Initiative (SDI, aka "Star Wars") is the current incarnation.
Bell Telephone Laboratories - How Do You Stop an ICBM?
More than 450,000 pounds of thrust lifts
the U. S. Army's Nike Zeus missile skyward in a cloud of vapor. The Nike Zeus missile
being developed for the project by the Douglas Aircraft Company will be designed
to intercept ballistic missiles traveling over 15,000 miles per hour, and destroy
them at a safe distance from the defended area.
How do you stop an ICBM?
How do you detect, track, intercept - and destroy within minutes-an ICBM that
is moving through outer space ten times faster than a bullet?
Bell Telephone Laboratories may have designed the answer: Nike Zeus, a fully
automated system designed to intercept and destroy all types of ballistic missiles
- not only ICBM's but also IRBM's launched from land, sea or air. The system is
now under development for the Army Ordnance Missile Command.
Radically new radar techniques are being developed for Nike Zeus. There will
be an acquisition radar designed to detect the invading missile at great distances.
And a discrimination radar designed to distinguish actual war-heads from harmless
decoys that may be included to confuse our defenses.
The system tracks the ICBM or IRBM, then launches and tracks the Nike Zeus missile
and automatically steers it all the way to intercept the target. The entire engagement,
from detection to destruction, would take place within minutes and would span hundreds
Under a prime Army Ordnance contract with the Western Electric Company, Bell
Laboratories is charged with the development of the entire Nike Zeus system, with
assistance from many subcontractors. It is another example of the cooperation between
Bell Laboratories and Western Electric for the defense of America.
Bell Telephone Laboratories
World center of communications research and development
Posted January 20, 2022
- The Battle of
the Atoms - 4/1948 Radio News
The Transistor - 6/1952 Radio-Electronics
- 90-Mile Laboratory
for Telephone and Television, 6/1945 Radio News
Wire-Wrap, 10/53 Radio-Electronics
EDT Crystals, 10/47 Radio-Craft
- Germanium Refining,
5/54 Radio & TV News
- Crystal Timekeeping,
1/46 Radio News
Cable, 11/56 Radio & Television News
- Pipe Circuits,
11/48 Radio & Television News
Electron Tube, 6/54 Radio & Television News
Wire Bonding, 3/58 Radio News
Radio Relay Stations, 8/52 Radio & Television News
6/56 Radio & Television News
Cards, 3/55 Radio & Television News
Communications, 10/55 Radio & Television News
Devices, 2/58 Radio & TV News
Adventure in Silicon, 5/55 Radio & Television News
- Pipes of Progress,
6/55 Radio & Television News
Project Echo, 11/60 Electronics World
Type-O Carrier System, October 1952 Radio-Electronics
Electron Microscope, 4/1952 Radio-Electronics
- Thermistor, 11/1946 Radio-Craft
Germanium Crystal, 1/1954 Radio-Electronics
Antenna, 5/46 Radio-Craft
- Quality Control, 6/46
Radio News Article
Radio-Relay, 10/51 Radio & TV News
Battery, 7/54 Radio & Television News
Germanium Transistors, 1/54 Radio & Television News
Magnetron, 10/45 Radio News
The Cableman, 10/49 Radio & Television News
Coaxial Cable, 12/49 Radio & Television News
Whiskers, 12/55 Radio & Television News
Contact Inspection, 7/55 Radio & Television News
10th Anniversary, 6/58 Radio & Television News
Wrapping, 10/53 Radio & Television News
Diode Amplifier, 11/58 Radio News
Nobel Prize Winners, 2/57 Radio & Television News
Diode Speeds Voices, 8/58 Popular Electronics
Microwave Relays, 7/59 Electronics World