Cold War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked Cold War related news and articles.

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Cold War Weapons and Vehicles

Bob Ballard: Titanic search was cover for secret Cold War submarines mission
The man who located the wreck of the Titanic has revealed that the discovery was a cover story to camouflage the real task of examining the wrecks of 2 Cold War nuclear submarines. When Bob Ballard pinpointed the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985 he had already finished his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion. Both sank during the 1960s, killing over 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them had been sunk by the USSR. Ballard has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic.

Test flights for restored Cold War Vulcan bomber
A restored Cold War bomber is doing further test flights over the East Midlands. The Vulcan aircraft needs a permission from the Civil Aviation Authority if it is to be allowed to appear at a series of air shows. A previous test flight was spoilt by a false alarm fire alert that forced the plane to land early. Organisers hope the bomber will fly in 18 air shows over the summer, but say a major sponsor still needs to be discovered. 20,000 people worldwide have chipped in to the restoration project.

Vulcan bomber returns to the sky after years of restoration
A Vulcan bomber has flown again after years of restoration work in Leicestershire. It last flew 14 years ago after a 33-year career in the RAF, including service in the Falklands War. 20,000 people helped raise the Б6.5m needed to restore the Cold War bomber. Engineers had failed to restore the Vulcan in time for a flypast over London to commemorate the Falklands War. Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said he felt a "huge sense of achievement" at finally getting the plane off the ground.

US Army investigated 'assassination' poisons
Declassified papers show that the US Army was investigating the use of the type of radioactive poisons that killed Alexander Litvinenko as long ago as 1948. A classic Cold War programme to research using the lethal by-products of atomic bomb production to assassinate "important individuals" and contaminate enemy territory or personnel was set up by the US Army. The records do not reveal whether the project, dubbed a "new concept of warfare," was ever developed nor whether anyone was ever targeted for assassination. One memo from 1948 outlined the project and another memo indicated it was under way.

Book claims Soviets sank U.S. sub during Cold War
An American defence journalist Ed Offley believes he has solved the mysterious destruction of a U.S. nuclear submarine USS Scorpion during the Cold War, with the help of a Canadian military veteran who was involved in the search for the boat. In his book, Scorpion Down, he details his theory that the May 1968 sinking of the USS Scorpion was an act of war covered up by his country's navy. The Scorpion was involved in an underwater battle with a Russian sub that ended with the destruction of the American boat. 99 men perished when the Scorpion sank on what was supposed to be a routine mission.

Museum Juliett 484 submarine partially sinks in river
Salvage crews are determining how to raise a Russian submarine and museum that partially sank during a storm. It was used to film the Harrison Ford movie "K-19: The Widowmaker," a Cold War thriller. But salvage experts discovered that water had flooded the back quarter of the Juliett 484 submarine, including the aft torpedo and control rooms. Museum engineers suspect water leaked through several of the ship`s hatches, which dipped beneath the waterline when the submarine wedged on the shoal. The Soviet Navy built the Juliett 484 during the 1960s to target cities along the U.S. coast. It was later equipped to hunt other warships.

A Cold War-era Soviet sub sinks while being towed off Denmark
A Cold War-era Soviet submarine that was being towed to Thailand sank off northwestern Denmark. There were no people or weapons on board the Whiskey-class submarine when it sank in an area known as Jysk Reef, the Danish navy said. There was no risk of pollution because the submarine was not carrying any fuel, weapons or other hazardous material. The Soviet Union built more than 200 Whiskey-class submarines during the Cold War, many of which are now being offered for sale.

Air Force details secret Cold War MiG program
A once-secret program that enabled U.S. military pilots to practice dogfighting against Soviet MiG fighter jets was detailed by the Air Force as part of the first public acknowledgment of it's existence. The classified air combat training program ran 1977-1988 at the Tonopah Test Range in remote desert scrubland near Nellis Air Force Base. "I guess the mouse is out of the pocket," said Gail Peck, who was its first commander. "After 20-some odd years, you have a little bit of a tingling feeling talking about things that were so closely held for so long."

U.S. navy retires Cold War "top-gun" F-14 Tomcat jet
The U.S. navy will retire the F-14 Tomcat jet Friday, which is the "top gun" in its Cold War arsenal and one of the most recognizable warplanes in history. The U.S. navy will hold a ceremony for the retirement and then mothball some F-14s in the Arizona desert and ship others to aviation museums. The reason of its retirement is the raising maintenance costs, and the replacement, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, is more versatile. However, the Super Hornet is unlikely to surpass the F-14's capability. Furiously fast, deafeningly loud and lethal to enemy aircraft, the Tomcat had attained legendary status by the 1980s.

Leopard tanks to be offered for sale
"For sale. Used tanks. One careful owner. Never fired a shot in anger. Make an offer." That's set to be the fate of the Australian army's Leopard tanks. If a buyer cannot be found, the tanks and their teutonic steel face an even worse fate - the scrap yard. The Leopard tanks first arrived from Germany in 1976, when the army decided it needed a replacement for the British Centurions which entered service in 1952. They are now set to be retired with the arrival of the first of 59 rebuilt US Abrams tanks. Unfortunately for the Australian Defence Force, the global used-tank market is awash with vehicles due to military downsizing following the Cold War.