USAF Conducts B-52 Bomber Exercise With 'Unarmed' Nuclear Cruise Missiles

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024 - 08:55 PM

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, posted on X that the United States Air Force conducted a "nuclear exercise with B-52 bombers" at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota this past week. This exercise coincides with a week of soaring tensions in the Middle East

Airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB and the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB (located in Louisiana) participated in Exercise Prairie Vigilance at the air base in North Dakota between April 6 and 12. 

Prairie Vigilance is considered a "routine training mission that enhances the safety, security, and reliability of the bomber leg of the US nuclear triad," the service wrote in a press release published on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website. 

The service continued, "Exercises like Prairie Vigilance enable crews to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, while validating the always-ready, global strike capability," adding, "Team Minot Airmen focus on the safe and secure handling of assets comprising the nuclear triad in order to stay proficient in a variety of key operational skills." 

Kristensen said this is the third such exercise in six months. He posted images of unarmed nuclear AGM-86B cruise missiles being rolled out to the staging area to be loaded on at least one Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

The exercise with unarmed nuclear cruise missiles comes as the White House warned on Friday about the Iranians launching an imminent attack on Israel. 

Late Friday evening, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark told CNBC that a "direct strike on Israel" by the Iranians could force the Israeli Air Force to target "nuclear assets" in the country. 

Meanwhile, the F-35A Lightning II stealth jet became operationally certified to be equipped with B61-12 thermonuclear gravity bombs last month. Impeccable timing...