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Self Destruct?

This is a discussion on Self Destruct? within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I know this is maybe stupid but I'm watching Alien again and I'm at the end where Ripley activates the ...


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Old May 1st, 2017   #1
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Self Destruct?

I know this is maybe stupid but I'm watching Alien again and I'm at the end where Ripley activates the ships self destruct and it got me thinking.
It seem's to be a recurring theme in Sci-fi films that huge spaceships have a self destruct function which when you think about it is pretty stupid as surely it could go wrong and just blow up at any time which would be annoying.

So my obvious question is has any real military vessel ever had a self destruct capacity as surely blowing up something like an aircraft carrier would take quite a large explosion which would take up quite a large space for something that's only going to be used once for a split second.

Again sorry if this is a silly question but as it's in so many fictional stories I thought I'd ask.

I'm re-watching the Alien series in preperation for the new film.
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Old May 1st, 2017   #2
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I know this is maybe stupid but I'm watching Alien again and I'm at the end where Ripley activates the ships self destruct and it got me thinking.
It seem's to be a recurring theme in Sci-fi films that huge spaceships have a self destruct function which when you think about it is pretty stupid as surely it could go wrong and just blow up at any time which would be annoying.

So my obvious question is has any real military vessel ever had a self destruct capacity as surely blowing up something like an aircraft carrier would take quite a large explosion which would take up quite a large space for something that's only going to be used once for a split second.

Again sorry if this is a silly question but as it's in so many fictional stories I thought I'd ask.

I'm re-watching the Alien series in preperation for the new film.
Not self destruct as in a sy-fi movie but I do recall early German submarines planting explosive on disabled submarines for scuttling purposes, don't now if it still happens or not.
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Old May 2nd, 2017   #3
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The idea that a carrier or any other large warship would have a self destruct system seems very much like fiction to me.

The nearest thing to self destruct, if a ship was crippled and needed to be scuttled, would be to set some timed charges in a weapons magazine or more realistically being scuttled by weapons fired from accompanying ships.

A more realistic question might be, where did the Sci-Fi writers (Star Trek, Alien, etc), get the idea for a self destruct system? Possibly from real life.

We've all seen film of rocket launches gone wrong where the rocket goes out of control and is self destructed so it doesn't cause damage to populated area, etc.

Self destruct system in a ship? No, can't see it. In a rocket or a missile? Yes.
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Old May 2nd, 2017   #4
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On the plus side self destruct does also come with the super tense countdown and the inevitable last second cancellation of the sequence.
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Old May 2nd, 2017   #5
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Originally Posted by PeterCrisp View Post
I know this is maybe stupid but I'm watching Alien again and I'm at the end where Ripley activates the ships self destruct and it got me thinking.
It seem's to be a recurring theme in Sci-fi films that huge spaceships have a self destruct function which when you think about it is pretty stupid as surely it could go wrong and just blow up at any time which would be annoying.

So my obvious question is has any real military vessel ever had a self destruct capacity as surely blowing up something like an aircraft carrier would take quite a large explosion which would take up quite a large space for something that's only going to be used once for a split second.

Again sorry if this is a silly question but as it's in so many fictional stories I thought I'd ask.

I'm re-watching the Alien series in preperation for the new film.
there's a scaled list of priorities to deal with if the ship/boat has been compromised

cyber/cipher in the broom closets and black curtain rooms gets high priority

depending on the system, then determines whether the relevant cipher systems has internal tools, or whether it comes under the euphemism of an "assisted" event

assisted events are where thermobarics, fuel, portable EOD is chucked into the box/room/space to accelerate the process

a further example of an assisted shot is where a visiting VIP gets trotted out to a gunnery range where a new weapon system is used to kill a notional target (eg APC/tank)

weapon goes off, hits target and there is a huuuge explosion way beyond what would normally be expected. thats because the team has added accelerant, expired EOD etc to the insides of the poor vehicle and thus "assisted" the shot

a similar thing is in place for black curtained rooms, but without the motivation of a VIP, but done out of necessity to make sure that nothing of use can be recovered in the event of an unsuccessful evacuation from the asset

- but there's no magic huge single switch of failure on large ships, I would imagine though that on a ship like a carrier, there are multiple bunkerages of oppportunity to go to if someone was intending to assist. aviation fuel, armouries with unsecured doors etc are all effects maximisers when lit up


etc etc etc....
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Old May 2nd, 2017   #6
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there's a scaled list of priorities to deal with if the ship/boat has been compromised

cyber/cipher in the broom closets and black curtain rooms gets high priority

depending on the system, then determines whether the relevant cipher systems has internal tools, or whether it comes under the euphemism of an "assisted" event

assisted events are where thermobarics, fuel, portable EOD is chucked into the box/room/space to accelerate the process

a further example of an assisted shot is where a visiting VIP gets trotted out to a gunnery range where a new weapon system is used to kill a notional target (eg APC/tank)

weapon goes off, hits target and there is a huuuge explosion way beyond what would normally be expected. thats because the team has added accelerant, expired EOD etc to the insides of the poor vehicle and thus "assisted" the shot

a similar thing is in place for black curtained rooms, but without the motivation of a VIP, but done out of necessity to make sure that nothing of use can be recovered in the event of an unsuccessful evacuation from the asset

- but there's no magic huge single switch of failure on large ships, I would imagine though that on a ship like a carrier, there are multiple bunkerages of oppportunity to go to if someone was intending to assist. aviation fuel, armouries with unsecured doors etc are all effects maximisers when lit up


etc etc etc....

That reminds a little about the USN EP-3E incident and hainan island incident, wonder how much usable equipment fell into Chinese hands?
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Old May 2nd, 2017   #7
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That reminds a little about the USN EP-3E incident and hainan island incident, wonder how much usable equipment fell into Chinese hands?
from the time that they lost control of where they were heading they should have been turning on the shredders, breaking out the fire axes and activating onboard electric magnets

CB90 would be better placed to answer - but there won't be much in the public domain anyway
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Old May 5th, 2017   #8
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The chances of unmanned systems falling into enemy hands are far greater than manned systems. In fact it has happened a few times already.

Simply blowing something up won't necessarily prevent valuable technology and information falling into the wrong hands.
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