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B52 loaded with nuclear weapons by mistake


A US Air Force B52 flew 1,500 miles across the United States armed with nuclear weapons without authorisation.

The aircraft was loaded with nuclear armed Advanced Cruise Missiles by mistake.  The incident happened on 30 August and has been criticised in Congress.

On 30 August the US Air Force loaded six nuclear armed missiles onto a B52 bomber by mistake.

The aircraft was meant to be carrying unarmed missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.  But ground crew put fully armed nuclear missiles on the aircraft instead.  The mistake was only discovered when the aircraft landed at its destination.

The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, Ike Skelton, said the incident was "deeply disturbing .. There is no more serious issue than the security of nuclear weapons".

The US Airforce has detailed procedures for handling nuclear missiles.  However this incident shows that these procedures are not adequate.  The squadron commander responsible has been relieved and the ground crew have been banned from handling munitions