UK Royal Navy will run nuclear bomb-carrying warships on Windows 2000

“Almost three years ago the naval systems arm of major UK defence contractor BAE Systems took the decision to standardise future development on Microsoft Windows. an immediate effect was to commit BAE’s joint venture CMS subsidiary, AMS, who specialise in naval Combat Management Systems, to implementing a Windows 2000-based CMS system for the new Type 45 Destroyer. But this prompted strong internal opposition from some of AMS’ engineers, who had a sound background in Unix and who had, despite resource starvation and a companywide policy to standardise on Windows, been investigating open source alternatives as a foundation for future combat systems,” John Lettice reports for The Register.

“They lost. Acting as spokesman for the concerned engineers Gerald Wilson compiled a 50 page dossier detailing the unsuitability of Windows as a foundation for a naval command system, and arguing that BAE’s Unix history and expertise made open source UN*X a logical and viable way forward. The company then made him redundant. In May of this year Wilson reiterated his concerns to the board of BAE Systems at the company’s AGM, pointing out that Windows is “proprietary technology owned by a foreign corporation”, has ‘many and continuing security flaws,’ and is not even warranted by Microsoft itself for safety-related use. Why then, he asked, is AMS ‘shunning established engineering practice’ by developing the Type 45’s CMS on Windows… And in case you’re wondering, the Vanguard class boats carry the UK’s Trident thermo-nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. So some people think that’s a heap of responsibility for Windows to carry,” Lettice reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The MDN reader who forwarded us this link remarked, “Be very afraid…” Are you?

151 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t trust Windows to make me breakfast (if it could). How could anyone rely on Windows to do anything this important. Especially when MS themselves says: “s not even warranted by Microsoft itself for safety-related use”.

    Time to start building bomb shelters again.

  2. The surface warships don’t carry the Royal Navy’s nukes. The submarines do.

    Saying that, I wouldn’t want to be serving on a boat where the weapons systems depend on a “It looks like you’re trying to fire a missle” wizard. And considering the MOD has also recently purchased helicopters that can’t fly through cloud or fog, making them useless in the British climate, this decision doesn’t surprise me.

  3. Didn’t our navy already do this…I seem to remember a story about a multimillion dollar ship that was stuck in harbor too many times to count.
    At least their nukes aren’t pointed toward the US ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Don’t they remember the US Navy ship that got stranded about 5 years ago because it had Windows NT. Someone accidentally divided a number by “0” (zero) on the ships system. The whole ship shut down and it had to be towed back to the Navy base.

    Nope, this is not an urban legend!

  5. Freebee: I wouldn’t be so sure those missles are pointed away from us if Windoze is running them….. Perhaps they’ll all spontaneously point at 1 Infinite Loop or something ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. This week end I joined a health club – it took almost 45 minutes and three computers using Winblows for my contract to finally be completed(they all kept crashing and freezing). This simple process involved typing about 20 words. Sure the computers were also running two other apps, a credit card program, and a membership log-in app with bar code scanner. But that’s it. Hardly severe hardship on the OS…but it kept failing.

    And the UK expects Winblows to handle the ultimate in multi-tasking and critical functioning – in battle. They’re insane.

  7. This is most excellent news for the free world. Already the United Terrorist States has demonstrated the effectiveness of using its operating system for guiding it’s army.

    It is called the aim for Bin Ladden hit Saddam missile. A powerful blast but way off the mark.

    Now we can see the perfect compliment to Britain and it’s empire upon which the sun never rises.

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