According to Sky News, NATO has started its yearly drill to test its nuclear deterrence capabilities in Europe with the assistance of 14 of the 30 member nations. 60 aircraft, including fighter planes, observation, and tanker aircraft, will participate in the routine drill, this year dubbed “Steadfast Noon,” which will last until October 30.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement that the exercise “helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective.”
Steadfast Noon was prepared before the invasion and “is not linked to any current world events,” according to NATO, even though it comes as European tensions are rising in response to President Vladimir Putin’s threats that his military forces would use any means necessary to defend Russia in the war against Ukraine.
Despite the fact that Steadfast Noon will include actual aviation, no live weapons will be used.
The alliance said that US B-52 long-range bombers would participate as in past years, however this time they would take off from Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Training flights will fly over the exercise’s host country, Belgium, the North Sea, and the United Kingdom.
Later in October, Russia’s own Grom nuclear deterrence exercises are anticipated to take place.