Air forces from across NATO will exercise nuclear deterrence capabilities involving dozens of aircraft over north-western Europe starting on Monday (17 October 2022). The exercise, which runs until 30 Oct, is a routine, recurring training activity and it is not linked to any current world events.
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. As in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part; this year, they will fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the Northern Sea and the United Kingdom. No live weapons are used.
Steadfast Noon is hosted by a different NATO Ally each year. “This exercise helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective, ” said NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu.
NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted by Allied leaders at the Madrid Summit in June makes clear that “the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression. ” It stresses that, “as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. NATO’s goal is a safer world for all; we seek to create the security environment for a world without nuclear weapons. “