B-52 bombers rigged with nuclear weapons are being prepared for 24-hour alert for the first time since the Cold War, a senior U.S. Air Force official has reportedly said. In a report by security news website Defense One General David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said U.S. military leaders are reacting to new threat levels.
"The world is a dangerous place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons," he said, according to the report. Goldfein said no official order had been given to put nuclear bombers on alert, but said preparations are underway. The U.S. Department of Defense was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
"This is yet one more step in ensuring that we're prepared," he said during a tour of Air Force bases home to nuclear bombers. "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."
Refurbishments are reportedly being made to Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana which acts as home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees U.S. nuclear forces.
Beds are being installed for more than 100 crew members that would operate as many as nine bombers positioned on the runway nearby. Defense One also reported that Barksdale and other bases with nuclear bombers are preparing storage facilities to house a new model of nuclear cruise missile.
David Reid writes for The Cutting Edge News.