NATO unveils new European nuclear plans

NATO unveils new European nuclear plans

US nuclear bombs “shared” with European allies will be dropped on Lockheed Martin jets, NATO declares

NATO planners are updating the United States “nuclear power sharing” programs to take into account most European allies planning to buy F-35 fighter jets, the military bloc’s head of nuclear power policy said this week. Lockheed Martin’s fifth generation fighter jet has been embraced by several US allies, including most recently Germany, despite the Pentagon’s own concerns about the program.

“We are moving fast and furiously towards F-35 modernization and incorporating these into our planning and into our training and stuff when those opportunities come online,” Jessica Cox, head of NATO’s nuclear policy directorate in Brussels, said on Wednesday, adding that “By the end of the decade, most, if not all, of our allies will have passed.” to F-35.

Cox spoke during an online discussion organized by the Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC), a U.S. think tank, according to Defense news.

Her comments come a month after Berlin said Germany would replace its aging Tornado jet with the F-35, committing to buy up to three dozen and specifically citing the nuclear-sharing mission as a factor in the decision.

Cox said other NATO allies currently using the F-35, such as Poland, Denmark and Norway, may be asked to support nuclear weapons sharing missions in the future, adding that NATO “will also have some operational benefits with the F-35 as there will be opportunities for improved networking and integration across the force.”

In addition to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey currently host an estimated 150 US nuclear weapons – mainly B-61 gravity bombs, designed to be carried by smaller fighter jets such as the Tornado or F-16 – according to estimates by the British think tank Chatham House.

Finland and Sweden have recently expressed a desire to join NATO, and Helsinki has already announced that it will buy around 60 F-35s in early February. Russia has responded by saying it would be forced to do so move about some of its troops and nuclear deterrence accordingly.

The United States first deployed some of its nuclear bombs in Europe in the 1960s. Completing this program was high on the list of safety requirements Moscow presented to the United States and NATO in December 2021, which were rejected in January – a month before the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine.

Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the 2014 German and French – mediated Minsk Protocol, designed to give the Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state. Moscow has now recognized the Donbass republics as independent states, and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.

The F-35 was originally proposed as a cost-effective modular design that could replace several older models in service with the US Air Force, Navy and Marines. In reality, it became three distinct constructions with a lifetime project cost of over $ 1.7 trillion, the most expensive weapons program in US history.

In addition to the price tag, the fifth-generation stealth fighter has also been plagued by performance issues, to the point that USAF’s new chief of staff requested an investigation of another aircraft in February 2021.

General Charles Q. Brown Jr. compared the F-35 with a “high end” sports car, a Ferrari only drives on Sundays, and sought suggestions for one “clean sheet design” of a “5th generation minus” the workhorse instead. Several American stores characterized his proposal as a “silent recognition” that the F-35 program had failed.


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