The US military is blaming a hardware glitch for temporarily disabling 50 nuclear inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
The disturbing incident was confirmed by an anonymous Defense Department official, who told Reuters the ICBMs (based in F.E. Warren Air Force Base) were offline for approximately 45 minutes.
The missiles were abruptly removed from the grid after a single launch control center somehow "tripped up" communication signals between the ICMBs and the C&C facility.
"We think it has happened before. How often or whether this is the biggest ever, I don't know. That's why we're looking into it," said the official.
"[Still], we have no indication that this was intentional. There's [really] no indication of anything like that."
The official also emphasized that the missiles could have been launched - if necessary - by simply activating a myriad of back-up systems.
"[But] it was [clearly] a hardware anomaly in the communications system that caused these signals to step on each other," he added.