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Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples'

This is a discussion on Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples' within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I stumbled on this quite by accident and have never heard it before. It appears on January 10 1970 that ...


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Old January 20th, 2012   #1
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Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples'

I stumbled on this quite by accident and have never heard it before.

It appears on January 10 1970 that the Soviet Navy may have laid by the article 20 nuclear torpedos in the Gulf of Naples. I find it very hard to believe once the cold war turned hot that the Soviets could control the torpedoes, it is from my understanding that most if not all torpedoes(at the time) would be wire guide from a submarine and the destruction radius would also just about guarantee the destruction of the deploying submarine.

Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples' - Europe - World - The Independent

During the cold war the RN, USN and SN all had nuclear depth bombs at one point or another, I suppose in theory they could work like a floating mine anchored to the sea bed and be remotely deployed later on, the US in1979 had this very type of non nuclear mine in its arsenal (CAPTOR).

If indeed the Soviets did lay such a mine field by all reports it is extremely unlikely it would be found now after all these years and fall into the hands of terrorist organisations, but in a worrying trend it appears North Korea are possibly developing such weapons, if they succeed would they pass on such information to the Iranians to develop their own weapons?

Report: North Korea Developing Nuclear Sea Mines | USNI Blog

Do you think the Soviets could actually have done something like this or about as remote Space Cowboys?

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Old January 20th, 2012   #2
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Originally Posted by t68 View Post
I stumbled on this quite by accident and have never heard it before.

It appears on January 10 1970 that the Soviet Navy may have laid by the article 20 nuclear torpedos in the Gulf of Naples. I find it very hard to believe once the cold war turned hot that the Soviets could control the torpedoes, it is from my understanding that most if not all torpedoes(at the time) would be wire guide from a submarine and the destruction radius would also just about guarantee the destruction of the deploying submarine.

Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples' - Europe - World - The Independent

During the cold war the RN, USN and SN all had nuclear depth bombs at one point or another, I suppose in theory they could work like a floating mine anchored to the sea bed and be remotely deployed later on, the US in1979 had this very type of non nuclear mine in its arsenal (CAPTOR).
Well, to say the least Mario Scaramella is a dubious character, hardly a reliable source. Just check his background.

The problems I have with the whole story include:
  1. Why were they placed there? The news accounts never answer that question.
  2. How would they be activated/controlled? No point putting them there unless you were sure that you could. Also, how long before the batteries die or sedimentation and encrustation makes the mines useless?
  3. Why 20? Seems 1 or 2 would be enough to sink every ship in the bay and destroy most the city. 20 conventional mines would make sense.
  4. The bay, like all major ports, is mapped with sonar every year for navigational purposes. Why were they never spotted? There would have been enough fear of bottom mines, rising mines, and CAPTOR style torpedoes to have cause the Italian to investigate, they had plenty of mine hunters. Also, does anyone on the board know what parts of the Bay of Naples has ever been dredged?
  5. Why take the risk? If the mines were discovered it would qualify as an Act of War and the diplomatic fallout would be devastating.

    At best all Soviet ships would have been barred from most of the world’s ports, sure most of their trade was with their allies, but their ships would not be able to refuel along the way. They would also have been barred from critical navigational routes such as the Bosphorous (locking the Black Sea fleet out of the Mediterranean Sea), Panama Canal, the English Channel, and probably the Suez Canal.

    More likely would be the above plus triggering a massive NATO buildup – the classic Soviet nightmare -- based on the assumption that no one would be that irresponsible unless they were preparing for an imminent attack.
So I would say it is definitely Space Cowboys.
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If indeed the Soviets did lay such a mine field by all reports it is extremely unlikely it would be found now after all these years and fall into the hands of terrorist organisations, but in a worrying trend it appears North Korea are possibly developing such weapons, if they succeed would they pass on such information to the Iranians to develop their own weapons?

Report: North Korea Developing Nuclear Sea Mines | USNI Blog
If we can’t find them, there is not much chance a terrorist group would without accurate navigation records, probably better than the dead recon navigation that a Soviet submarine of the day would be using could provide.

While a nuclear sea mine is simple in concept there are several problems that have to be addressed:
  • Control – How do you tell the mine when to detonate? The practical methods seem to be control from shore by wire or fiber optic, which can be accidentally severed, or as a nuclear tipped torpedo and detonate on arriving at a location.
  • Endurance – Basically battery life. How long can the mine wait for the detonation command and still follow it out.
A variant on the torpedo approach would be a suicide sub, which may be more applicable for North Korea and Iran because of the large size of their currently crude designs. You still have the communication problem if you need to make any last minute changes in your plans. And you nuclear weapon is under the control of some people with serious mental stability problems.
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Old January 21st, 2012   #3
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Originally Posted by t68 View Post
I stumbled on this quite by accident and have never heard it before.

It appears on January 10 1970 that the Soviet Navy may have laid by the article 20 nuclear torpedos in the Gulf of Naples. I find it very hard to believe once the cold war turned hot that the Soviets could control the torpedoes, it is from my understanding that most if not all torpedoes(at the time) would be wire guide from a submarine and the destruction radius would also just about guarantee the destruction of the deploying submarine.

Soviet navy 'left 20 nuclear warheads in Bay of Naples' - Europe - World - The Independent

During the cold war the RN, USN and SN all had nuclear depth bombs at one point or another, I suppose in theory they could work like a floating mine anchored to the sea bed and be remotely deployed later on, the US in1979 had this very type of non nuclear mine in its arsenal (CAPTOR).

If indeed the Soviets did lay such a mine field by all reports it is extremely unlikely it would be found now after all these years and fall into the hands of terrorist organisations, but in a worrying trend it appears North Korea are possibly developing such weapons, if they succeed would they pass on such information to the Iranians to develop their own weapons?

Report: North Korea Developing Nuclear Sea Mines | USNI Blog

Do you think the Soviets could actually have done something like this or about as remote Space Cowboys?

Space Cowboys - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Um im pretty sure the russians had space based nuclear missiles at some point atleast on a temporary basis. I know they built and im pretty sure they deployed a cannon armed space station or satelite.........give me a sec ill look it up.
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Old January 21st, 2012   #4
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Um im pretty sure the russians had space based nuclear missiles at some point atleast on a temporary basis. I know they built and im pretty sure they deployed a cannon armed space station or satelite.........give me a sec ill look it up.
Under the outer space treaty which came into force in 1967 and signed by the US, UK, SU it bars members of the treaty from nuclear and weapons of mass destruction or install them on the moon or other celestial body (space stations).But it does allow for weapons of self defence such as the Salyut 3 gun and personnel sidearm’s, if the spacecraft came down in uninhabitated area and the astronauts needed a defence from feral animals.

When the US developed the space shuttle program one of the fears the Soviet Union had was that the shuttle could be used drop bombs on Moscow and thus had bearing on the starting point of the USSR version of the Space Shuttle (Buran).

Outer Space Treaty

I haven’t read all of this yet but you can decide if it is wise or not.

The Space Review: Still crazy after four decades: The case for withdrawing from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty
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Old January 21st, 2012   #5
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Under the outer space treaty which came into force in 1967 and signed by the US, UK, SU it bars members of the treaty from nuclear and weapons of mass destruction or install them on the moon or other celestial body (space stations).But it does allow for weapons of self defence such as the Salyut 3 gun and personnel sidearm’s, if the spacecraft came down in uninhabitated area and the astronauts needed a defence from feral animals.

When the US developed the space shuttle program one of the fears the Soviet Union had was that the shuttle could be used drop bombs on Moscow and thus had bearing on the starting point of the USSR version of the Space Shuttle (Buran).

Outer Space Treaty

I haven’t read all of this yet but you can decide if it is wise or not.

The Space Review: Still crazy after four decades: The case for withdrawing from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty
Let me put it to you this way. Laws like treaties only work if you either have the ability and will to enforce them or if both side just do as they agree'd.

Plus sense only the US, UK, and the USSR agree's to this.....its pretty much meaningless now.

And sense in space a steel ball bearing is a powerful weapon illogical.

BUT then again what about hacking of satelites?
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Old January 21st, 2012   #6
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Let me put it to you this way. Laws like treaties only work if you either have the ability and will to enforce them or if both side just do as they agree'd.

Plus sense only the US, UK, and the USSR agree's to this.....its pretty much meaningless now.

And sense in space a steel ball bearing is a powerful weapon illogical.

BUT then again what about hacking of satelites?
The Outer Space Treaty prohibited the militarisation of weapons of mass destruction in outer space (launch platforms) to attack from orbit to the ground. As you will know that does not include reconnaissance satellites (spy) it is a military satellite which gathers information for ground based systems to be used with accuracy.

All the majors have in there arsenals ASAT weapons that could either kill or disable an opponents satellite systems, using either Anti-sat missile, lasers to blind or launching a killer satellites(IStrebitel Sputnik) which co-orbits with your opponents satellite then explodes close enough to kill it. But as you have pointed out third countries have been able to exploit the internet and hack into the guidance systems and control the satellites. All these are ground based systems and do not infringe on the actual treaty itself. If one country decided to place arms in outer space then it will be like waving a red flag at a bull you know the outcome of that.

The Outer Space Treaty which was formed by the three founding countries in 1967(US, UK, SU) has expanded to 975 signatures from around the globe.
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Old January 23rd, 2012   #7
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Let me put it to you this way. Laws like treaties only work if you either have the ability and will to enforce them or if both side just do as they agree'd.

Plus sense only the US, UK, and the USSR agree's to this.....its pretty much meaningless now.
Most states have signed & ratified the treaty since. Only two important states, Iran & DPRK, have signed but not ratified. According to norms of the international law if you have signed but not ratified you still have to comply with the treaty in "good faith (pacta sunt servanda)"even though you are not legally bound by it.

If we are to agree that treaties only work if you have will & enforcement capability then it implies that states only conclude a treaty when they have both these elements in their favor. The conclusion of Outer Space Treat & subsequent joining by other states thus suggest that there was & is a strong will amongst its signatories on not to put WMDs in outer-space. Hence the treat "remains affective."

Since the provisions of Outer Space Treaty are agreed to & practiced by all states & have become international norm, no derogation from it by any state would be allowed (jus cogens).

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And sense in space a steel ball bearing is a powerful weapon illogical.

BUT then again what about hacking of satelites?
Unfortunately this is not part of the Outer-Space Treaty & thus the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty awaits at the Conference on Disarmament (leading forum of states on arms control & disarmament) in Geneva.
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