Special Weapons Emergency Separation System

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Special Weapons Emergency Separation System (SWESS), also known informally as the dead man's switch, was a nuclear bomb release system that the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command built into bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress. The system's purpose was to ensure that an aircraft's payload of nuclear weapons would detonate in the event of the crew becoming debilitated by enemy defences such as missiles.[1] Once armed, the system would ensure that the onboard nuclear weapons detonated if the aircraft dropped below a predetermined altitude.

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  1. ^ Sagan, Scott Douglas (1995). The Limits of Safety. Princeton University Press. pp. 187–188. ISBN 0-691-02101-5. Retrieved 2008-11-16.