US B-52 'in nuclear cargo error'

Discussion in 'Modern' started by comiso90, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    A B-52 bomber flew across the US last week mistakenly loaded with up to six nuclear-armed missiles, unnamed air force officials are quoted as saying.

    The missiles were unaccounted for during a three-hour flight from a North Dakota air base to one in Louisiana.

    Air Force spokesman Lt-Col Ed Thomas told Army Times the weapons were "always in our custody".

    Army Times said the missiles were to be decommissioned but were mistakenly mounted on the bomber's wings.

    The W80-1 warhead has a yield of five to 150 kilotons, the paper said.

    A military official told AFP news agency that President George W Bush had been informed of the mix-up.

    "There are procedures in place and they kicked in and worked," the official said.

    The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says experts have made it clear that if the plane had crashed there would not have been a nuclear explosion but there could have been a threat from plutonium leakage.

    'Decertified'

    The flight was reportedly on 30 August from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

    Col Thomas told Army Times: "Air Force standards are very exacting when it comes to munitions handling.

    "The weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public."

    Col Thomas said the loading crew involved had been temporarily "decertified" pending retraining and an investigation had been launched.

    A full US military statement is expected soon.


    BBC NEWS | Americas | US B-52 'in nuclear cargo error'
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    "Whoops! Whatdayamean "Whoops"?!"
     
  3. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Just suppose some dummy had pushed the wrong button. Five to 150
    megatons ??? Let's see.... the plane's heading for Louisiana. That could
    have solved Ray Nagin's problems.

    BIG oops !!

    Charles
     
  4. Konigstiger205

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    How can someone make this kind of "mistake" with nuclear bombs...damn idiots...
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Wow someone is going to take the fall for this.
     
  6. ace7861

    ace7861 New Member

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    damn the hiroshima was what 15 kilotons this is 150 megatons!! dude thats huge someones in deep sh!t
     
  7. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    No chance of an explosion. Inherently the design prevents that. And in addition the security and safety procedures associated with activating a nuclear weapon makes that virtually impossible too. However, a crash is another story. A crash and burn could feasibly put nuclear material into the local vicinity or particulates into the air.

    At least they didn't inadvertently drop them in northern Canada... again.

    List of military nuclear accidents - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Ace, that 150 KILOtons. While nothing to trifle about, you can put your eyeballs back in their sockets.
     
  9. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    In a warped kind of way, the fact that it this is such big news is a good thing.

    If this happened in China, India, Russia, ect what are the chances it would even make the news? I'd like to know if it was a leak and they were forced to acknowledge the incident or if they decided that full disclosure was the best policy.

    .
     
  10. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Anybody know if they were B63's, B83's or SRAMs?
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yeap if these had accidently been dropped it would not have been the first time.

    As you said though there was no chance of them going off.
     
  12. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Just answered my own question . . . they were AGM-86B AALCM's (Advanced Air-Launched Cruise Missles) carrying a W-80-1 warhead with a nominal yield of 170 to 200 kilotons.
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Big oops. As Chris said someone will take the fall for it. If it was in Russia, China etc there is no doubt that it wouldn't of even made the news, certainly no where near as big a news as this has been.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    How much you want to bet someone will actually get promoted?
     
  15. rogthedodge

    rogthedodge Member

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    Ironic at a time when the US (and others) are saying Iran isn't to be trusted with nukes (unlike Israel).

    TBH I'm less worried about the crash / leak aspect (nukes are transported all over the place, often) and more about the inventory issues - these things are just piled up around the place and a loading crew can just fit them?? I always thought there were rigorous storage / release procedures in place.

    Also I wonder what the plane crew thought they had on board, training rounds? Bet they were impressed!
     
  16. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Well regarding the inventory issues, it appears a Commander took the fall.
     
  17. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    This is stunning! I am familar with the way the AF handles nuclear weapons and it is very strict. Someone is going to bite the dust and rightly so.
     
  18. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Looks like at least two now. Political overreaction. What a way to ruin a career of a dedicated patriot who may have only had a peripheral involvement.
     
  19. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Something is fishy about this. ...up to six nuclear weapons... HUH?! Up to? Was it six, was it five, has anyone really answered the question? Gut check says something isn't right here.
     
  20. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I was thinking the same thing too. I was trying to think of the load out for the inner wing pylons. They typically would carry six a side in full loadout.

    And when is the last time you saw a -52 with the wing pylons loaded out??? Most all are certainly capable, but all non-war status photos that I have seen in the past 30 years have been internal carriage in rotary weapon bays.

    Am I off base here??
     
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