War Is Boring
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War Is Boring

The SLAM Missile Would Have Been a Flying Chernobyl

The nuclear ramjet was crazy awesome, actually worked and—thankfully—never deployed

The locomotive-sized cruise missile would loiter at high altitudes above the Soviet Union, before dropping down to treetop level and roaring across enemy territory at Mach 3. Then it would lob nuclear bombs at everything in its path.


‘Like zany science fiction’

“It was the most interesting project of my career,” Behne says. “Rover and Pluto were a lot of fun to work on, but frankly, I thought they were really dumb programs, like zany science fiction.”

The Tory II-C’s nuclear ramjet engine in 1963. Nevada National Security Site photo

Way too crazy

Project Pluto was a great success—experiment-wise. An all-ceramic Tory III engine shaped up on the drawing boards. But the project never led to a real weapon. It was simply way too crazy.



From drones to AKs, high technology to low politics, exploring how and why we fight above, on and below an angry world

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Steve Weintz

Writer, filmmaker, artist, animator. Former firefighter, archaeologist, stuntman.