According to a report, the US will accelerate its plan to locate enhanced nuclear weapons at European NATO bases as Russia continues to threaten Ukraine.
Politico reports, citing various sources familiar with the matter, that US officials told NATO allies during a closed-door meeting that an enhanced B61-12 air-launched gravity bomb initially planned to be transported to Europe next year. spring, it will now come in December.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Patrick Ryder told the outlet that “the modernization of US B61 nuclear weapons has been underway for years and plans to safely and responsibly replace older weapons with updated B61-12 versions do. part of a long-planned and planned modernization effort. “
“It is in no way related to current events in Ukraine and has not been accelerated in any way,” he said of the process, but not of the accelerated timing.
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The B61 gravity nuclear bomb first entered service in 1968 and has undergone multiple modifications in recent years, including improvements to its safety, security, and reliability.
The latest life extension program has replaced old models to be more accurate and compatible with new aircraft, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which falls under the Department of Energy.
“The B61-12 LEP is refurbishing, reusing or replacing all nuclear and non-nuclear components of the bomb to extend its life by at least 20 years,” the NNSA said in December last year.
“The B61-12 LEP is critical to supporting the nation’s airborne nuclear deterrence capability. It will be airborne in both guided drop and ballistic gravity modes and has been certified for delivery on current strategic aircraft (B- 2A) and dual capable aircraft (F-15E, F-16C / D and MLU, PA-200) and future aeronautical platforms. “,
NATO PREPARES FOR MAJOR MILITARY EXERCISES AS RUSSIA CONTINUES INVASION OF UKRAINE
On Tuesday, Russian officials notified the United States that it intends to carry out nuclear exercises, including test missile launches.
In particular, the tests should include the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are capable of hosting nuclear warheads.
Russia is obliged to provide this notice under the New START Treaty, Reuters reported.
Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the launches happened earlier.
“The United States has been briefed and, as we noted earlier, this is a routine annual exercise by Russia,” he said at a news conference.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened to use “all means necessary” to defend Russian territories, including annexed Ukrainian properties, during his invasion of Ukraine.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said Russia’s compliance with notification requirements was a good sign.
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“As Russia engages in unprovoked aggression and reckless nuclear rhetoric, these notification measures ensure that we are not taken by surprise and reduce the risks of misperceptions,” Price said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has discouraged Russia from using nuclear weapons and called on NATO to take preventive measures to ensure they are not used.
Earlier this month, NATO launched regular nuclear deterrence exercises in Western Europe.