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A crucial part of the automated nuclear missile silo network in Appalachia, nuclear keycards are required to unlock access to the launch console so that the launch code could be input. The receptacle in the missile control rooms would destroy the keycard regardless of whether the correct code was entered or not. This limitation was intended to limit the amount of nuclear weapons any single officer had at their disposal and the supply of keycards in case of escalation would be delivered by automated couriers of the Strategic Air Command.
Convoys were set by the SAC to occur should the automated system monitoring Appalachia deem it necessary, based on the aggregate DEFCON rating. The Enclave under President Thomas Eckhart deliberately released various horrors upon Appalachia to trick the system into raising the DEFCON rating, starting with Chinese Liberators and ending with scorchbeasts.
- May be found on containers in destroyed SAC cargobots. Locations for these cargobots can be found through the repeatable Hide and Seek and Destroy quest obtained at The Whitespring bunker. However, the cargobot will be protected by up to three SAC vertibots, so they will have to be destroyed to ensure safe destruction of the cargobot to attain the nuclear keycard.
- Carried by former military officers that have become feral ghouls or Scorched, easily identifiable by their radio backpacks.
- Though picking the lock on the cargo box containing the keycard is considered stealing, players who loot from this container will not receive a bounty, unlike when picking a lock owned by a player.