Originally posted by SarK0Y
reply to post by nenothtu
oh, my friend, i didn't argue landed objects can be protected versus all kinds of radiation (protective earthing, thick walls with radiation shielding ), but that doesn't work so well for missiles and aircrafts
True enough, but we have to make the distinction between the ionizing radiation that Earth walls, thick concrete, lead, etc shields from and the EMP radiation that is guarded against by entirely different means. An aircraft or missile, as you mention, can be shielded from the effects of EMP while still being wide open to the effects of gamma rays. In that case, the electronics are protected, but any people aboard are in serious trouble.
I can recall a time when all of the US C+C aircraft electronics had vacuum tubes in them rather than transistors or ICs, and I believe the Russians were doing the same at that time, even though transistors had taken over the non-military market, and mass use of ICs wasn't far in the future. It was good for the electronics, but not so much for the people manning the electronics had the balloon ever gone up.
I never quite understood what the purpose was of having operational electronics, if there was no one alive there to operate them. Ground crews were in better shape, because they could be shielded by 2 meter thick bunker walls against the ionizing radiation, as well as having their electronics shielded. The main problem regarding the electronics then was the external antennae, which could have led a killer charge straight in to the electronics, so a lot of vacuum tubes were used there as well.
The main problem with the vacuum tubes was that they were bulky, making the equipment less portable.
Missiles can be hardened against EMP, and since they are not manned by organisms, the ionizing radiation isn't such a problem. Aircraft, on the other hand, just as you say have a different set of problems to overcome in the event of a nuclear exchange. The best strategy is not to be within reach of the ionizing radiation. So, in the case of aircraft, their very mobility is the key to crew survival against gamma radiation. Ground crews were of course not that mobile, and were sitting ducks, hence the thick bunker walls as protection.
As you observe, it was two different worlds of troubles.