Diamonds in the Sky: A Scenario in Three Scenes

by Carl H. Builder

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A speculative scenario describes how nonnuclear weapons for strategic intercontinental warfare might be deliberately developed and introduced by the Soviets. Its purpose is to stimulate thinking about nonnuclear strategic weapons, not to predict them. It is not based on fact or evidence: An SS-17 launch monitored in the Aleutians was analyzed and determined to have an unusual trajectory and to give off hundreds of sparkling objects. Subsequent analysis of the sparkler patterns showed that on the ground they would be rectangles, probably threatening even the most internal U.S. airbases with destruction of exposed planes. Protecting airbases necessitated buying fewer planes. The Air Force countered with two nonnuclear payloads for Minuteman, one that could threaten Soviet aircraft and one with precision guided charges, thus beginning the nonnuclear strategic arms race of the twenty-first century.

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