Chinese thermonuclear bomb accident

Discussion in 'Military History' started by SinoSoldier, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. taxiya
    Offline

    taxiya Major
    Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Messages:
    3,095
    Likes Received:
    6,728
    He did not take risk, regardless right or wrong. In the post you quoted
    , it is Zhou Enlai, the Prime Minister who made the order (to return). Zhou is the commander of the program's commander. Once again, it demonstrates that it is not the pilot's position to decide, but only his offer of the best alternative for the program because he is very confident to land it safely, it is up to the highest leader to decide.

    Why it was a best alternative? It is best for the program (to save time) to figure out what went wrong (it turned out to be problem of the release mechanism) in short time. The next try happened only months later and was successful. If he ditched it, it would probably be years away without examine the aircraft and bomb. You know that around that time 1960s, both US and Soviet Union had threaten to nuke China. China has no time to wait, not even a day.

    Regardless alternatives, the fact is that it was the top leader's decision, not his. He only did what a soldier was supposed to do, follow the order. If the order is "save the bomb", then he save the bomb, his life or other's lives (the other two on the tower) were not his concern.

    In a sense, like in a battle field (same as this program being military), a general's objective is to win the battle, NOT to save anybody's live including his own. Of course he would want to keep the casualty as low as possible (because he is not to murder his men), but he should be willing to pay the cost of lives for the battle, it is his duty. Now apply that to the pilot, the program commander, the controller and the prime minister, you should see that they did what they deem to be right. It is a different mind-set from commoners. That is why one should be careful with war, military etc., no jokes there.
     
    #11 taxiya, Apr 8, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
    JayFalsum and Bltizo like this.
  2. Inst
    Offline

    Inst Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    519
    No, specifically he states he made the decision to return and informed ground control of the decision. That is to say, the order was approved by higher-ups, all the way to Zhou Enlai, but not initiated by higher-ups. He made a suggestion that the chain of command authorized.

    I suppose they could have dispatched a fighter to shoot him down if he refused to crash the plane, but as I've mentioned before, it looks like there was minimal risk from the bomb detonating on landing due to the construction of the triggering device.
     
  3. LiBoHanse
    Offline

    LiBoHanse Just Hatched
    Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    They made a movie about this: 飞行交响乐/Pilot's Symphony
     
  4. Biscuits
    Offline

    Biscuits New Member
    Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2018
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    65
    They evacuated most the of base before letting him land.

    We don't know exactly how the bomb malfunctioned and probably never will know. Obviously it was not considered malfunctioning enough to require the pilot to sacrifice himself along with it.

    Taking it back to base for repair was the better decision. Bombs are cheap but lives are not. If the pilot can be saved, no need to detonate the bomb at that very moment.
     
  5. solarz
    Offline

    solarz Colonel

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    4,804
    Likes Received:
    4,503
    I don't believe it is right for us to judge whether the pilot made the right decision. I think it is sufficient that Zhou Enlai approved the decision. Someone mentioned that maybe they agreed because they didn't want to argue with a "dead man". I think that statement severely underestimates the discipline and dedication of a PLAAF pilot. I have no doubt that had the command been to sacrifice himself, the pilot would not have hesitated.
     
  6. Anlsvrthng
    Offline

    Anlsvrthng Junior Member
    Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    123
    That bomb was insanely expensive.

    If they know that there is a 70% chance of detonation they still request the pilot to bring it back, and risk to loose an airbase, than to sacrifice that bomb in a crashlanding.

    There was several occasion in the USA (And I presume Soviet) nuclear programs when a device armed an failed to explode.
    Each time a lead scientists and/or bomb designers had to defuse the bomb, and they took the job .

    All case was more risky than the Chinese ,and they had less to loose than the Chinese test-program.
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/disarming-an-atomic-bomb-is-the-worst-job-in-the-world-cb1d1c22b4b0
     
Loading...

Share This Page