The tension between Kim Jong Un and the United States has taken a new dimension as nuclear-armed bombers have reportedly been put on alert to attack North Korea.
The U.S. Air Force is preparing B-52 strategic bombers to be put on constant alert amid increasing tensions with North Korea, according to a report out Sunday. (REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)
The tension in the Korean Peninsula is gradually taking a different dimension as the U.S. Air Force is preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991.
Report quoted a U.S. Military Chief Gen. David Goldfein, as saying that the escalating tensions with North Korea had made the deployment of the bombers inevitable.
However, Defense officials denied to Fox News that bombers were ordered to go on 24-hour alert.
“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared.
“I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward,” Goldfein said.
Goldfein noted that in a world where “we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” it’s important to remain alert and think of new ways to be prepared.
“It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability.
“It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right,” Goldfein added.
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, home of the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which manages the service’s nuclear services, is being renovated, Defense One reported, so that B-52s would be ready to “take off at a moment’s notice.”
The B-52, which can fly up to about 50,000 feet and at supersonic speeds, has the ability to release a variety of weapons, including cluster bombs, gravity bombs and precision guided missiles.
The long-range bomber can also unleash both nuclear and precision-guided conventional ordnance.
The 24-hour alert status for B-52s ended in 1991, in the waning days of the Cold War.