The “Steadfast Noon” nuclear deterrence exercise begins on Monday in Belgium.
Air forces tasked with nuclear missions start from Kleine-Brogel Air Base (Limburg), a deterrence exercise involving about sixty aircraft of various types – including B-52 American Stratofortress bombers.
Although this is a routine exercise, it is taking place at a time when the war in Ukraine is ongoing and Russia has issued threats of nuclear use.
NATO confirmed on Friday, in a statement, the conduct of the exercise, which was referred to by the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, and the Minister of Defense of the host country, Ludivine Dedodeter of Belgium.
According to the Alliance, NATO air forces will conduct an exercise of their nuclear deterrent capabilities, involving dozens of planes over northwestern Europe between October 17 and 30.
The exercise is presented by NATO as “a routine and repetitive training activity” and is not linked “to any current world event”.
“Steadfast Noon” features 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets.
“As in previous years, American B-52 long-range bombers will participate.
“This year they will depart from Minot Air Force Base in the state of North Dakota.
»Training flights will take place over Belgium, the host of the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom. No real weapons will be used,” NATO added.
Finally, no aircraft will come within 1000 kilometers of Russian territory.