Imagine a computer system based on the 1970’s-era IBM Series/1 and 8-inch floppy drives and most people would assume you’re describing a museum piece kept alive by enthusiasts.

And yet, such a computer system ranks as one of the most important in the world – so critical in fact that nobody has wanted to change or upgrade it since it was built nearly half a century ago.

It sits in bunkers across the US, part of the command centres that run the country’s nuclear missile deterrent on behalf of the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS).

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. But what matters is that SACCS finally spies a hardware upgrade as part of a $400 billion, 10-year programme to modernise the US’s military nuclear technology.

This programme has been public knowledge for a while but a detail that might have escaped public attention is the recently reported intention to ditch 8-inch floppies in favour of a contemporary, presumably encrypted, storage equivalent.