US rehearses dropping nuclear bombs in Europe
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Featured Image Credit: Niall Ferguson/Alamy Stock Photo/frans lemmens/Alamy Stock Photo
In case your nerves aren’t rattled enough with all the talk of nuclear war that’s going on, today (17 October) NATO rehearsed dropping atomic bombs over Europe.
The NATO military alliance has dubbed its training exercise Steadfast Noon, and it will see US B-52 bombers and F-16 fighters simulate deploying nuclear bombs across the continent.
In a blog post, Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists said the exercise practices 'a controversial arrangement known as nuclear sharing, under which the United States installs nuclear equipment on fighter jets of select non-nuclear NATO countries and train their pilots to carry out nuclear strike with U.S. nuclear bombs'.
The bomber planes will rehearse deploying B61 ‘tactical’ thermonuclear bombs; each device is up to 20 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima during WWII, which left as many as 126,000 civilians dead.
Nuclear training exercises are normally presented as ‘routine, nonthreatening, and not targeting any specific country’, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made it clear Russia was the main concern when announcing the exercise. When announcing the exercise, Stoltenberg mentioned Russia five times, WSWS notes.
He said: “Next week, NATO will hold its long-planned deterrence exercise, Steadfast Noon.
“Russia knows that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
Announcing Steadfast Noon, NATO confirmed the training flights include ‘14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft’.
NATO added: “US B-52 long-range bombers [will] fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota [to take part in the exercise].”
NATO also said ‘the flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom’.
It’s been confirmed that ‘no live weapons are used’ during the exercise.
Steadfast Noon is hosted by a different NATO Ally each year. “This exercise helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective,” NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said.
Ten days ago, on 7 October, Biden warned the risk of nuclear war hasn't been as high since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden said, adding that he didn’t think ‘there’s any such thing as the ability to easily [use] a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon’.
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