Showing posts with label nato. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nato. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2012

what austerity?

Nato's plans to upgrade the US's estimated 180 tactical nuclear weapons in western Europe. The alliance is preparing to replace "dumb" free-fall nuclear bombs and ageing delivery aircraft with precision-guided weapons that would be carried by US F35 strike aircraft. The plans to upgrade significantly the US's stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons would increase its ability to reach targets in Russia.

The cost to upgrade the bombs with precision-guided B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs will be at a cost of $4bn (£2.5bn). Replacing their existing aircraft with the US F35 Joint Strike Fighter, whose cost has risen to more than $100m (£62m) each.

Ted Seay, who until last year was arms control adviser to the US mission at Nato headquarters in Brussels  adds that modernisation would be a form of expensive nuclear escalation by default that could be expected to draw a hostile reaction from Moscow.

 Ian Kearns, chief executive of the European Leadership Network , a thinktank supported by former UK defence ministers including Lord Des Browne and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said "The planned upgrade of Nato's tactical nuclear forces in Europe will be expensive and is unnecessary. Nato states are fully secure without this additional capability and should be focused on removing all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, not on modernising them".