Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nuclear Flight

This is interesting, not so much for the reason that Nuclear weapons were flown in a bomber as for the reaction by the politicos.
The Air Force continued handing out disciplinary actions in response to the six nuclear warheads mistakenly flown on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30. The squadron commander in charge of Minot’s munitions crews was relieved of all duties pending the investigation.

It was originally reported that five nuclear warheads were transported, but officers who tipped Military Times to the incident who have asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to discuss the incident, have since updated that number to six.

Air Force and defense officials would not confirm the missiles were armed with nuclear warheads Wednesday, citing longstanding policy, but they did confirm the Air Force was “investigating an error made last Thursday during the transfer of munitions” from Minot to Barksdale.

The original plan was to transport non-nuclear Advanced Cruise Missiles, mounted on the wings of a B-52, to Barksdale as part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. It was not discovered that the six missiles had nuclear warheads until the plane landed at Barksdale, leaving the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.

As expected, Ed Markey of the People Socialist Republic of Massachusetts pissed himself on hearing the new.
“Nothing like this has ever been reported before and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, co-chair of the House Bi-partisan Task Force.
What an idiot. Does he really believe that this was "impossible?"

Ike Skelton didn't quite piss himself, but he was obviously very nervous.
“These reports are deeply disturbing,” said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “The American people, our friends, and our potential adversaries must be confident that the highest standards are in place when it comes to our nuclear arsenal.”
I want to know what standard he's drawing on. This is obviously a screw up, but the weapons were never in an active state or even prepared for use. The article even mentions that nukes are carried in aircraft, just not bombers. No doubt the fact that they violated procedure will earn someone a deserved kick in the ass.

And I'm especially wondering why should make potential adversaries confident in our handling of nuclear weapons. I'd rather they be a bit nervous on that point.

I love this assurance to the public:
Non-proliferation treaty experts said the Air Force didn’t violate any international nuclear treaties by transporting the nuclear warheads on the B-52, but it was the first time since 1968 that it’s been known publicly that nuclear warheads were transported on a U.S. bomber.
Right, because god knows that flying nukes on a plane is so much more of an issue than having thousands of them mounted on ICBMs. No worries there.

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