Digital upgrade: Air Force has stopped using floppy disks to manage U.S. nuclear launch system
The US Air Force is stepping out of the past and into the present by ditching floppy disks, which have been used for nuclear weapons deployment since the 1970s.
The US Strategic Command claims that the drives have been replaced with a “highly-secure solid-state digital storage solution,” which will work with the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS).
The system is old but impervious to outside tampering via resources such as the internet- which makes it superb.
“You can’t hack something that doesn’t have an IP address. It’s a very unique system — it is old and it is very good,” 595th Strategic Communications Squadron Lt. Colonel Jason Rossi told C4ISRNET.
SACCS runs on an IBM Series/1 computer dating back to the 1970s, and the DoD has updated data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals.
The job has afforded young Airmen a valuable skill- learning to use old-school equipment.
“I have guys in here who have circuits, diodes, and resistors memorized,” Rossi said. “They use a TO [technical order] to make sure they’re right, but these guys have been doing it for so long, when the parts come in, they can tell you what’s wrong just based on a fault code or something. That level of expertise is very hard to replace. It’s not sexy work. It’s soldering irons and micro-miniature microscopes.”
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