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Oddly comforting, isn’t it? World peace was guaranteed by a hex wrench and a bike lock key. Until recently, these were the tools needed by the custodians of the British nuclear bomb deterrent, reports BBC’s Newsnight.
Until the early days of the Blair government the RAF’s nuclear bombs were armed by turning a bicycle lock key.
There was no other security on the Bomb itself.
While American and Russian weapons were protected by tamper-proof combination locks which could only be released if the correct code was transmitted, Britain relied on a simpler technology.
To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.
Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.
The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.