chapter  10
52 Pages

The Press Gang at work and the birth of ‘Super Antelope’, January–June 1968

ByMatthew Jones

On 18 September 1967, in almost a coda marking his time as Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara delivered an important speech to a convention of editors from United Press International in San Francisco where he outlined his views on current US nuclear strategy and doctrine. With high performance radar and interceptors, the miss distance of a defensive ABM could be reduced to a few tens of kilometres, where the neutron effect could be used as a kill mechanism. Although the UK had insufficient missiles and warheads to adopt similar exhaustion tactics, the US preference for MIRV over the use of decoys had its effect on the defence scientists exploring Polaris improvement options. It had always been supposed that the initiation of work - even of such a preliminary nature - into the problems of Polaris improvement, would help to start a new dialogue with the Americans over ABM defences and how they could be overcome.