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Russia Unveils 'Satan 2' Missile Powerful Enough To 'Wipe Out UK, France Or Texas' (telegraph.co.uk) 1028

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Telegraph: Russia has released the first image of its new nuclear missile, a weapon so powerful that it could wipe out nearly all of the United Kingdom or France. The RS-28 Sarmat thermonuclear-armed ballistic missile was commissioned in 2011 and is expected to come into service in 2018. The first images of the massive missile were declassified on Sunday and have now been published for the first time. It has been dubbed "Satan 2," as it will replace the RS-36M, the 1970s-era weapon referred to by Nato as the Satan missile. Sputnik, the Russian government-controlled news agency, reported in May that the missile could destroy an area "the size of Texas or France." Russian media report that the missile will weigh up to 10 tons with the capacity to carry up to 10 tons of nuclear cargo. With that type of payload, it could deliver a blast some 2,000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia reportedly tested a hypersonic warhead in April that is apparently intended for use on the Satan 2 missiles. The warhead is designed to be impossible to intercept because it does not move on a set trajectory.
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Russia Unveils 'Satan 2' Missile Powerful Enough To 'Wipe Out UK, France Or Texas'

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:03AM (#53152765)

    Remember when Putin said that the defense systems installed in Poland and Romania will be useless because they are working on "something else"?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:17AM (#53152825)

      Remind me, why are we picking a fight with Russia again?

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bucket_brigade ( 1079247 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:22AM (#53152837)

        Because having Russia dominate the world would be horrific?

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:31AM (#53152877) Journal

          Because a world dominated by the US is all peaches and cream?

          • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bucket_brigade ( 1079247 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:34AM (#53152889)

            In comparison, yes.

            • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:39AM (#53152909)

              Good thing comparisons don't change the fact that most of the world hates the USA and Russia equally, and don't excuse either being such assholes.

              • Re: Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:49AM (#53152955)

                Yip, hate America for that safe and technology loaded western lifestyle you all enjoy :-)

                I don't think you appreciate just how touch and go the events of WW2 were towards the end. Europe and the Pacific could be very different places to live today.

                • Re: Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:00AM (#53152993)

                  Yup it was touch and go whether america would join at all. Just had to wait until the old world powers had bankrupted themselves and destroyed their industry. It all worked out very nicely for the new world order.

                  • Re: Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @12:16PM (#53155075) Homepage

                    Yup it was touch and go whether america would join at all. Just had to wait until the old world powers had bankrupted themselves and destroyed their industry. It all worked out very nicely for the new world order.

                    The boon of having all the brightest displaced people move to the USA certainly didn't hurt either. The US was at that time, and still is, the safest place to be if you're worried about either terrorism or a real fighting war. The US reaped the benefits of importing a whole lot of german engineers and scientists for decades. Too bad we lost our balls at some point and are afraid of immigrants now.

                • Re: Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:18AM (#53153079)

                  You are an idiot if you think "that safe and technology loaded western lifestyle" has even meaning in the vast majority of the World.

                  America, as any dominating nation, fucks up the World to protect its interests. Don't be naive as to think America is doing everyone a favor or something like that.

                • Re: Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  Yep, thanks for NTSC, 110V AC, and most importantly feet and inches.

                  • Re: Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

                    by Guyle ( 79593 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:35AM (#53153407) Homepage

                    It's ATSC now, buddy.

                • Re: Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:04AM (#53153633)

                  Hell, without the Marshall Plan alone, I think Europe would be in one of three states right now:

                  - Annexed by Russia and presently in second world status, with the Iron Curtain still alive and well.
                  - Starting yet another world war, as if the first two weren't enough.
                  - Technologically even worse off than former Warsaw pact states are presently.

            • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

              by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:17AM (#53153285)

              So these are the only two options? Hoping the lesser evil wins? That is how the US got in this mess in the first place.

            • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Evtim ( 1022085 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:01AM (#53153593)

              How would you know? Seriously, this is not trolling. How many countries has Russia invaded for profit or global politics and how many did the USA? Who used nuclear bombs on civilians? When has Russia ruled the world so that we cab compare?

              It seems to me that the old-fashioned communists in Russia [and their modern day descendants] were much worse towards their population that towards foreigners, whereas USA seems to be the reverse. As I a neither American nor Russian, I prefer the Russian way.

              Russia warned many times after the end of the [first?] Cold War that the West is constantly moving goalposts and breaks agreements about military bases, NATO membership and the like.....sorry but the most serious Western analysts agree with this [Google it, it is true, the West admits they did not handle their victory from the Cold War very well].

              I am not fond of the Russians at all - at the end they occupied my country for half a century and installed totalitarian regime there but let's be a bit more realistic here...

              And finally - I am very sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I really hate the Western leaders hypocrisy and constant masking of blatant power grabs with words as "humanitarian", "democracy" and so on...in contrast Putin [although being also a liar, of course] appears way more honest in his motives and explanations - "you do this, I kick your ass" instead of "if you build that oil-pipe I'll bomb you for democracy". I mean just look at the name of this weapon - no masking, no rosy glasses, no BS. It is Satan, period. A similar weapon in USA will be called "peace maker" or "bringer of democracy"

              • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

                by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:31AM (#53154325)

                It seems to me that the old-fashioned communists in Russia [and their modern day descendants] were much worse towards their population that towards foreigners

                except for Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria.. and every other country that they were able to occupy.

                I don't know what kind of world revisionist history you've been smoking but if you can't tell the difference between what happened in western and eastern Europe after WW2 then there is no reason to discuss anything. No one can argue with that kind of crazy.

              • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:52AM (#53154501)

                How many countries has Russia invaded for profit or global politics and how many did the USA?

                In the history of the Russian Federation, which is less than 30 years old, we have seen the Russian military involved in the following conflicts:

                • War in Abkhazia (1992–93). Chewed off a chunk of Georgia.
                • Transnistria War (1992). Chewed off a chunk of Moldova.
                • Tajikistani Civil War (1992 - 1997).
                • Russo-Georgian War (2008). I think they chewed off another chunk of Georgia in this.
                • Ukraine (2014-ongoing). Currently a chunk of Ukraine is now part of Russia.
                • Syria (2015-ongoing).

                I left out the Russian military conflicts that were contained within Russian borders, for example the Second Chechnyan War between 1999 and 2009.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tinkerton ( 199273 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:17AM (#53153283)

          Because having Russia dominate the world would be horrific?

          That's indeed the kind of ideas that is now floating around. I rank it in the category of Iraq coming to kill us all, with the same combination of inflating the threat and at the same time regarding the opponent as a pushover. I think Colin Powell has made some sensible comments on that. Russia is paranoid about us, about NATO. We scare them. They are a small power, we're a big one that is surrounding them more and more, and then sabre rattling is a sensible response. You may think they're wrong but you should at least listen to what they're thinking. Apparently that is not happening at all, while the wartalk on this side is increasing, by politicians because it makes them popular,and by the military because of budgetary reasons. And that makes for very dangerous times.

        • Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine and a sliver of Georgia are the world? The USSR dominated far more of the world and we survived.

      • by readin ( 838620 )
        Remember during the debates when Obama made fun of Romney for saying Russia was a looming problem?
      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        Because its profitable for the military industrial complex. Same reason as last time. Its ok, they are probably doing it for the same reason. Stroke national penis....make money disappear. Politicians everywhere work basically the same.

  • Tzar Bomba (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Blank ( 172031 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:11AM (#53152797) Journal

    That is a big firecracker, but it is no Tsar Bomba [wikipedia.org]. The Tsar Bomba was tested in 1961, so the technological capability for high yield bombs is old news. Best bit about the Tsar Bomba: "In theory, the bomb had a maximum yield of 100 megatons if it were to have included a U-238 tamper, but because only one bomb was built, this theory was never demonstrated."

    Here is a short documentary film on the Tsar Bomba [youtube.com].

    • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      True but according to wiki, it weighed 27 tons. Getting a bomber over France or Texas is probably a bit more involved than firing a ballistic missile.

    • Re:Tzar Bomba (Score:4, Informative)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:12AM (#53153693) Homepage Journal

      Actually... This thing can potentially deliver up to 15 separate warheads, which could in aggregate sum up to 50 MT, which coincidentally was the approximate yield of the Tsar Bomba. However those warheads would have immensely more destructive capacity than the Tsar Bomba.

      The reason is simple geometry: the energy of an explosion is dissipated in three dimension, but people live on an approximately two dimensional surface; all that energy which goes down and up is wasted. To do more destruction, you need to find a way of distributing the energy of the attack across the surface of the Earth, which can easily be done by delivering two warheads of half the size, or even better ten warheads of 1/10 the size.

      This is what is behind the whole "area the size of France" thing. You couldn't do that with a single massive bomb, but ten smaller bombs might do the trick. Also note that terrain makes a difference -- as it did in the Nagasaki bombing, which missed its mark, causing the blast to be contained by the Urakami Valley. Southern France is extremely rugged, so it is unlikely that all of France could be destroyed by one of these things; however, there's no question that France as a country would be destroyed.

      • Re:Tzar Bomba (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:49AM (#53154475)

        Sure. But effectively destroying a country as an entity is one thing. "Wiping out an area the size of" a country is something else entirely. And the text specifies the latter. And I'm not even convinced that destroying a countries 15 largest cities would totally destroy it as a country. See, for example, the still very much in existence countries that had many of their cities wiped out in WW2.

        Importantly though, France and the UK have nukes of their own. And if you target the cities with your 15 nukes, you leave the weapons untouched. And if you target the weapons and facilities; not only are the cities untouched, but there's still the nuclear missile submarines that you can't target because you don't know where the hell they are.

  • No, they didn't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cirby ( 2599 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:17AM (#53152823)

    At least, they certainly didn't make a missile with that kind of damage potential.

    While it could throw a single 40 megaton warhead, it would more likely carry a handful of weapons topping out at about 50 megatons, total. Maybe.

    Which is a lot, but nowhere near big enough to "wipe out" a medium-sized country like France.

    They could pretty much destroy up to 15 separate cities with 300 kiloton airbursts (if the MIRV systems gives them that much spread and control, which it probably doesn't), but everything in between would be effectively untouched, and with a single weapon, most of Paris itself would only be lightly to moderately damaged. Modern high-efficiency weapons don't drop a lot of fallout in air burst mode, so that's not a consideration.

    If they used ground burst targeting, they could cause a lot of downwind fallout, but it would leave large areas untouched upwind.

    Forty to fifty megatons sounds like a lot, but when you compare it with how big the world is...

    • Re:No, they didn't. (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:25AM (#53152853)
      Actually most of the fallout comes from the fission products themselves. Modern nukes like a 300kT warhead from a MIRV are 2/3rds fission, mostly in the secondary. So the amount of radionuclides is almost proportional to yield and about the same between airburst and groundburst and it is a large.

      It would be more widely dispersed in the air however, and perhaps that's the difference.
      • Re:No, they didn't. (Score:5, Informative)

        by cirby ( 2599 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:49AM (#53152951)

        The thing about a modern fission-fusion device is that the fusion neutrons help "burn up" a lot of the primary. They've supposedly moved away from the heavy uranium tampers of the early weapons to help reduce fallout (while losing some efficiency), or have fine-tuned them so much that they're effectively being burned up completely in the detonation.

        As you mention, part of it's that the fallout that's left disperses over a very, very wide area.

    • Re:No, they didn't. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:55AM (#53154525) Journal

      "Wipe out" is indeed what it would do.

      Let's imagine this is a MIRV with 15 separate warheads, totaling 50 megatons, total (maybe). Let's imagine the targets are the following British cities: London, Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinborough, with the larger ones receiving two warheads.

      Britain would basically cease to exist as a nation. So much damage would be done the economy would be non-functional. All the transport links in the country flow through those now destroyed cities, and that infrastructure would be destroyed. Every single piece of modern electronics in the country and in neighbouring countries that was not EMP hardened would no longer work, and everything (especially the transportation system) depends on all this stuff working. The prevailing south west winds would ensure that enough fallout would end up on surrounding areas adding to the casualties, and areas with nearby nuclear power stations would receive a lot of extra fallout. Just feeding the survivors with a barely functioning transportation system would be a logistical nightmare - ground transportation would be difficult thanks most of the major road and rail routes having been destroyed. Injured survivors would be left to fend for themselves - the entire capacity of the health service would be overwhelmed with the casualties of just one of the bombs. The electricity grid would be destroyed, even to the undamaged areas, it would be years before power was restored.

      The survivors themselves, many of them would be suffering PTSD in the years afterwards, and virtually everyone will have lost friends and family and probably most of what they own in the attacks. What survived wouldn't be Britain, it would be a grotesque almost zombie like Britain with at best third world conditions for decades following.

      Just because there are survivors and some land left untouched doesn't mean the country is effectively destroyed.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:22AM (#53152835)

    I think my girlfriend has one of these in her drawer.

  • by Cytotoxic ( 245301 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:36AM (#53152895)

    The Telegraph article got the details wrong. Check out the RT version instead.

    It is a 100+ ton missile that can carry about 10 tons of payload. They are also designing a new warhead that is maneuverable in order to avoid anti-missile defenses. They are claiming that it can hold 10 heavy warheads or 16 light warheads and/or a combination of warheads and decoys/countermeasures.

    The whole "destroy an area the size of France or Texas isn't clear, but this is a missile announcement, not a warhead announcement, so they are probably talking about the area which could be covered in a single launch. I.E. one spread of warheads from a single launch could theoretically hit Paris, Barcelona and Milan. That would be pretty hard for anti-missile defenses to deal with.

  • by UberVegeta ( 3450067 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @06:52AM (#53152961)

    Russian media report that the missile will weigh up to 10 tons with the capacity to carry up to 10 tons of nuclear cargo.

    The story here is that Russia has escaped the tyranny of the rocket equation, and designed a missile that is 100% payload and apparently 0% fuel.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:06AM (#53153027)

    The warhead is designed to be impossible to intercept because it does not move on a set trajectory.

    Cremlin: Oh Shit ... it is coming back to us

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:13AM (#53153055)

    Why would humans create a weapon like that? :(

    Nobody in their right state of mind wants it to be used.
    If it is ever used, it could mean the end of the world is nigh.
    Why would anyone invest the resources in developing such a weapon?

    Fuck the Russians, and the Americans, and the defense departments, and the technicians and engineers willing to take on such a job, and the generals and presidents commissioning such a thing. You are all assholes.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:22AM (#53153091) Homepage

      Why? Because once a genie is out the bottle it can't be put back in because it only takes one person to use it. Plus an arms race seems to be a fact of life on this planet between humans and other animals too.

      But hey, don't worry, we have the hippies at CND to save us. I'm sure one day they'll stop protesting at everything the west does and head off to russia to do the same thing there, right? I'm mean they're not a bunch of moronic congenital cowards who only protest against governments who they know won't hurt them are they.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:54AM (#53153547) Homepage Journal

        Here's the fundamental problem: we need a hippie solution. Nothing but making the world more peaceful is going to reduce the risk of nuclear annihilation. Why's that? Because even if one nation conquered the planet, it would only wind up splitting from within and becoming multiple competing nations again. And it's a problem because warmongers tend to react violently against... well, everything. And violence is something that hippies aren't prepared to deal with.

        I guess what's needed is a sort of warrior hippie.

        We could call them Social Justice Warriors ;)

        Seriously, though. There's no military solution to the threat of endless war. It really is true that only cooperation can solve this problem. It's not enough to hold hands and wish real hard, though. The lovers of peace have to become as creative and determined as the makers of war.

        • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @02:34PM (#53156271)
          The hippie solution doesn't work because even if you can convince 99.99% of people to be peaceful, that remaining 0.01% can still send the world into nuclear winter.

          You need some sort of hybrid approach, where you convince easiest 99% of people to be peaceful, but retain enough military capability to dissuade the remaining stubborn 1% from doing anything nuts. Which is more or less what we're doing today. Except some of those pursuing the hippie part of this hybrid approach have deluded themselves into thinking their approach will work on the entirety of the remaining 1% just because it worked on the first 99% [xkcd.com].

          That's what hippies don't seem to understand. Even if you temporarily achieved 100% indoctrination into a peaceful, cooperative society and completely disarmed. It just takes one person to be born who thinks differently and builds his own devices and following in secret, and spreads chaos and ruin upon that idyllic and disarmed utopia. You must have some sort of defense against this in reserve. Always. I don't particularly blame hippies for making this mistake - people tend to think that others will act as they themselves do. So if it's beyond their conception as to why someone would want to kill and destroy in order to have power over (parts of) the world, then it will literally be inconceivable to them that someone would ever want to do this. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a bad assumption.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @07:32AM (#53153137)

    A cynic might suspect Putin is trying to reverse the smoke and mirrors strategy epitomized by the Strategic Defense Initiative to trick the US into spending itself broke countering a non-existent threat.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:00AM (#53153219) Journal

    The insanity of Trump's admiration/support/connections for a leader who murders his opponents/journalists, commits war crimes deliberately attacking humanitarian convoys and hospitals (yes, I know the U.S. hit one but at the very least they admitted their wartime error and presumably is making reparations), breaks arms control agreements and violates fundamental agreements on not seizing land by force (Crimea was taken despite the Russian pledge to respect Ukraine's border in exchange for them giving up their nukes), drives his nation into an economic dead-end by focusing on one commodity (oil) instead of diversifying (which, of course would have required him to respect rule of law and cut down on the kleptocracy), etc. well this is amongst many many reasons why Trump is completely unqualified (should be disqualified) for being the president of the U.S.

    So of course supporting a guy who basically says "I have a gun that can clean blow your head off", I guess that's nothing new for Trump. (and don't tell me that the announcement of this weapon wasn't authorized by Putin). Let me be clear, I do mean Trump supports Putin; by refusing the unanimous consensus of (all?) 17 intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic Party (gee I wonder why no Republicans were hacked?) saying, he can't say who hacked the Democrats, he is supporting Putin.

    Likewise Assange, by selling himself out to Putin because of his problems with Sweden (and presumably the U.S.) indicates that he is willing to sell us all (and especially for his fellow journalists* who have been dying in Russia) out for his own skin. It has really debased the once sterling reputation of Wikileaks, hasn't it? So sad.

    *but I don't think very many journalists would still be willing to say he is one of them now

  • Grandstanding (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:28AM (#53153349)

    Ballistic setups are old tech. Even if you outfit them with maneuverable warheads, some of todays systems we're using to knock them down are maneuverable as well post launch. We have multiple to choose from. Patriot, THAAD, and pretty much any naval ship ( or shore installation ) outfitted with Aegis and SM-3 interceptors. It will not be long before directed energy weapons or rail-gun tech is fielded rendering pretty much anything incoming with a radar signature obsolete.

    So we basically have a giant missile. The US MX-Peacekeeper had similar specs from 1986 - 2005. We decommissioned them in favor of smaller units that we can hide on submarines and super sneaky cruise missiles instead. Note, it's difficult to move giant ass heavy missiles. They tend to live out their lives in silos. Besides, MAD is very much alive and well in the 21st century. The major powers understand that using nukes on anyone else all but guarantees the target will return the favor before the first missiles even reach their apex.

    In short, Russia now has a shiny new ballistic missile that has similar characteristics of a missile we first fielded thirty years ago. The only new component being the currently-theoretical maneuverable re-entry vehicles.

    I don't see where this really changes anything other than the fact that all the old treaties prohibiting these things are pretty much off the table now. Though I doubt they were ever worth the paper they were printed on to begin with.

  • by burni2 ( 1643061 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:34AM (#53153397)

    The Trump 1 is many times more dangerous than the Satan 2.

    While the Satan 2 can wipe out only Texas, the Trump 1 in contrast can wipe out the USA including Hawai and Alaska not harming Canada but harming Mexico.

    And its paid for by russian tax payers.

    • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:56AM (#53153555) Homepage

      This is the most massive case of projection I've ever seen. Who's Trump going to start the war with? Russia shouldn't be an enemy. China? They're run by engineers, you couldn't start a nuclear war with them if you tried.

      On the other hand, Hillary took the initiative in starting wars, the Libyan civil war comes to mind. She also represents the interests of the banks, the arms manufacturers, and the Washington DC establishment. You know, the ones who continually demand that wars start.

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:38AM (#53153439)

    Russia has a nuclear weapon capable of destroying Texas, the question is: why would they do us such a favour?

  • by CharlieG ( 34950 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:03AM (#53153601) Homepage

    AGAIN
    And this time openly admitting it. Time to bring back either the MX to replace the MinutemanIII, and re-MIRV the MMIII while we are waiting

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