German armed forces training with NATO partners for defense with nuclear weapons: report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-18 20:54:37|Editor: Lu Hui
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BERLIN, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The German military (Bundeswehr) was currently conducting an exercise to train for the potential defense with nuclear weapons jointly with partner countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance, the German press agency (dpa) reported on Friday.

During the secret military exercise called "Steadfast Noon", which would have commenced this week, armed forces of member countries of the NATO practiced the "deployment of fighter-bombers, which could be equipped with nuclear weapons in case of war," dpa reported.

However, the fighter jets would not be equipped with nuclear bombs for flights during the military exercise, dpa added.

Several Tornado fighter jets of the German Bundeswehr stationed at the airbase in Buechel in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate would participate in the military exercise, according to dpa.

The regularly held Steadfast Noon maneuvers would include training in how to safely transport nuclear weapons from "underground storage magazines to the aircraft and mount them under the fighter jets," dpa reported.

The German press agency noted that there was "no information" about the exact scenario of the ongoing military exercise.

Although Germany does not own nuclear weapons, its fighter jets could be equipped with nuclear weapons in the scope of the "nuclear sharing" concept of the NATO.

In its latest Nuclear Notebook column published in May 2019, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), had estimated that 20 nuclear warheads from the United States were still stored at the Buechel airbase.

The German government did not provide an official confirmation about foreign nuclear weapons in the country so far.