US Accelerates Upgraded Nuke Delivery To Jittery European Allies: Cable

On the same day that Russia hailed completion of its 'successful' annual nuclear drills, Politico published a bombshell report describing that the US has accelerated plans to maintain upgraded nuclear weapons in Europe

Specifically, US defense officials informed NATO allies earlier this month that Europe will host a B61-12 air-dropped gravity bomb, to be transferred by December. Politico reported Wednesday that a classified cable it has seen confirmed this.

USAF file image: an unarmed B61-12 bomb
USAF file image: an unarmed B61-12 bomb

The upgraded bomb was expected to arrive in Europe next spring, but the timeline was accelerated amid Russia's growing nuclear rhetoric surrounding the war in Ukraine. President Biden recently raised eyebrows in saying nuclear "armageddon" is a real possibility for the first time since the close of the Cold War. 

On an official level the Pentagon is disputing that its planned nuclear upgrade for NATO's Europe arsenal is in any way connected to events in Ukraine, however, Politico cites the following sources

Two people familiar with the issue of the upcoming shipment to Europe confirmed the accelerated timeframe reported in the diplomatic cable. They asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The cable, which has not previously been made public and was written to be distributed throughout the Pentagon and State Department to give policymakers a rundown of what was discussed among defense ministers at the NATO meeting, clearly indicates that allies are jittery.

The document says that during the meetings, 15 NATO allies raised concerns that the alliance “must not give in to Putin’s nuclear blackmail.”

2018 test drop: F-15E Strike Eagle jet dropping the first inert B61-3/4 tactical nuclear bomb
2018 test drop: F-15E Strike Eagle jet dropping the first inert B61-3/4 tactical nuclear bomb (Source: Sandia National Labs/YouTube)

The cable is further quoted by Politico as follows: "Given the rising volume and scale of Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, a subset of allies requested continued consultations at NATO to ensure continued readiness and consistent messaging."

Some analysts cited in the report say the White House is fundamentally sending a message of reassurance to NATO at a moment European countries are feeling "vulnerable", and that the intent is not to escalate nuclear tensions with Moscow

“My guess is it is aimed more towards NATO than Russia,” said Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, a disarmament group. “There are [older] B61s already there. The Russians know that. They work just fine. The new ones will be newer, but it’s not really that much of a difference. But it may be a way to assure the allies when they are feeling particularly threatened by Russia.”

The upgraded B61-12 is designed to allow the bomb to be carried by a fuller array of US and allied bombers and fighter jets, while older versions had more limited delivery options. The upgraded version is also said to be more accurate. 

US Accelerates Upgraded Nuke Delivery To Jittery European Allies: Cable

The B61 nuclear gravity bomb is deployed at a number of US Air Force and NATO military bases and has almost five decades of service, making it the oldest bomb in the US stockpile. Numerous programs have modified the B61 for safety, security, and reliability since it entered service in the late 1960s, including four B61 variants.

The upgraded B61-12 LEP - a project years in the making, will replace all of the bomb’s nuclear and non‐nuclear components for another two decades, and improve the bomb’s safety, effectiveness, and security. This life extension program will address all age-related issues of the weapon, and enhance its reliability, field maintenance, safety, and use control.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from

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