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September 05, 2007

B-52 Loaded With Six Nuclear Cruise Missiles by Mistake

How do you do that? Aren't they like, painted a special color or something?

Munitions aircrews at Minot AFB loaded the B-52 wing pylons with six nuclear armed cruise missiles. The mistake was discovered after the plane landed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

Notice the wording "nuclear armed". Not "armed, nuclear". Because they aren't armed. You don't arm them until you're ready to use them.

Still, someone in North Dakota is having a, what's the expression, a bad day.

"At no time was there a threat to public safety," said Lieutenant Colonel Ed Thomas. "It is important to note that munitions were safe, secure and under military control at all times."

Well, yeah, that's true. They don't just fall off and detonate, nor would they detonate in an accident. About the worst that could have occurred would be cleaning up radioactive material at a crash site. Still, you'd think the procedures for handling nuclear ordnance would be a little tighter.

Hans Kristensen, an expert on US nuclear forces, said he knew of no other publicly acknowledged case of live nuclear weapons being flown on bombers since the late 1960s.

Publicly acknowledged, no. That's the only kind you're allowed to know. After all, we're not in the habit of handing off our nuclear secrets to scandis.


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posted by Dave In Texas at 02:46 PM

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