NATO to be on defence readiness condition for two weeks as it simulates nuclear war scenario
Bombers, strategic missile crews, fighters and submarines of the western alliance will be on DEFCON 2 for two weeks as it simulates a nuclear war scenario. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) said in a statement on Friday. DEFCON 2 known in exercise terms as Fast Pace means the armed forces is ready to deploy and engage in less than six hours and it is the next step to nuclear war.
The nuclear war exercise dubbed a deterrence codenamed ‘Steadfast Noon’ will begin 0000hrs on October 17 and end midnight October 30, the alliance’s press service said in a statement on Friday.
“Air forces from across NATO will exercise nuclear deterrence capabilities involving dozens of aircraft over north-western Europe starting on Monday [October 17, 2022],” the statement reads.
“The exercise, which runs until 30 October, is a routine, recurring training activity and it is not linked to any current world events,” according to the statement from NATO. Stressing the fact that the exercise is in no way related to events in Ukraine.
“Exercise ‘Steadfast Noon’ involves 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft,” according to NATO.
The statement also quoted NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu as saying that: “This exercise helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on October 11 that the military alliance intended to hold a long-planned nuclear deterrence exercise and that he did not believe that the drills should be cancelled over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The NATO chief said that the annual exercise Steadfast Noon would be held next week.
Russia is expected to soon carry out large-scale drills of its nuclear forces. The United States and its allies will be challenged to ensure they can spot the difference between exercises and the real thing.
At the White House, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Russia’s so-called “Grom”(Thunder) drills would involve large scale manoeuvres of its strategic nuclear forces, including live missile launches. He described them as “routine.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists earlier in the day that Moscow was keeping a close eye on all of NATO’s regular military exercises near Russia’s state borders.