NATO nuclear exercise takes place above Europe

On Monday 16 October, according to official reports by the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO), the annual Steadfast Noon nuclear drill was carried out above Europe. The exercise aimed to simulate nuclear strikes against a fictitious adversary and was conducted from the Kleine Brogel base in Belgium and Büchel base in Germany, where US B61 thermonuclear bombs with the force of up to 340 kilotons of TNT are stored.

In addition to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, the exercise was attended by Czech and Polish supersonic aircraft under the SNOWCAT (Support for Nuclear Operations with Conventional Air Procedures) procedure. This procedure allows non-nuclear countries to support a nuclear attack without formally being a part of it. The Steadfast Noon exercise was part of the Formidable Shield 17 exercise to  to test the Smart Defence concept, as well as defence against unpredictable mid-range ballistic missiles, likely as a result of nuclear tests by the DPRK and growing concerns about Russia. Lieutenant General Sam Greaves of the Missile Defence Agency considers the exercise very successful. However, this defence is unusable for explosions of thermonuclear warheads at a height of over 100 km above ground which still confirms the importance of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence.

About author: Jan Merička

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