Steadfast Noon: NATO to Start Nuclear Weapon Drills With B-52 Bombers; 14 Countries Line Up Against Putin

NATO is all set to begin nuclear exercise from Monday. The Steadfast Noon, which will involve dozens of aircraft over north-western Europe, will end on October 30. The exercise will involve 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft.

US B-52 long-range bombers will take part this year and these planes will fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom. No live weapons will be used in the exercise, according to NATO.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 carries the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle out to the range for a launch test
Representative image Reuters

B-52 Long-Range Bombers Will Take Part In The Exercise

NATO has underlined that its new Strategic Concept, adopted by Allied leaders at the Madrid Summit in June makes clear that "the fundamental purpose of NATO's nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression."

Purpose of NATO's Nuclear Capability is To Preserve Peace

The alliance pointed out that "as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. NATO's goal is a safer world for all; we seek to create the security environment for a world without nuclear weapons."

Steadfast Noon is hosted by a different NATO Ally each year. Oana Lungescu, a spokesperson for NATO, highlighted that the exercise helps ensure that the Alliance's nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective.

The announcement by NATO came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that direct clashes with Moscow can lead to global catastrophe.

"I hope that those who speak of this have enough sense not to take such steps. There is no need now for massive strikes. There are other tasks. For now. And then it will be clear. We do not set ourselves the task of destroying Ukraine. No, of course not," Putin told reporters in Astana following a meeting of The Commonwealth of Independent States Summit (CIS), according to Daily Star.

This article was first published on October 16, 2022