Germany’s military is participating in an exercise that simulates how to correctly transport and handle US nukes, as part of a NATO drill designed to prepare the alliance for nuclear warfare.
The NATO exercise, codenamed “Steadfast Noon,” is being held at Norvenich Air Base in North Rhine-Westphalia, German media reported. As part of the drill, the German Air Force is practicing the transportation of nuclear weapons from underground storage facilities, as well as mounting the deadly warheads on aircraft. However, training flights held during the exercise are carried out without nukes on board. Dutch, Belgian and Italian forces are also involved in the current exercise.
It’s believed that the US military uses Norvenich Air Base as an alternative storage site for its B61 hydrogen bombs.
The training coincides with “Resilient Guard” exercises held at Buchel Air Base, in which the German Air Force practices defending the military installation from an attack using US-made “Patriot” anti-missile systems.
Aside from Germany, the United States also maintains nuclear weapons in several other European countries, most notably Turkey.
Although the exercises are held every year, they come amid mounting tensions between NATO and Russia. Washington unilaterally pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Moscow two years ago, and it’s unclear whether another important non-proliferation agreement, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, will be extended.
There has also been an uptick in military activity around Russia’s borders and in the Baltic. Last month, two US B-52s staged a mock attack run on Russia’s Kaliningrad.
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