Saturday, October 20, 2007

US Nuke Flyover...Step Aside Osama Let the USAF Have a Go...

I wonder if something had gone wrong with those errant fully armed nuclear missiles carried over 1,000 miles over the people of the USA's heads, what would have been the default position to explain away the incident? I think the temptation to blame it on 'terrorism' would have proved irresistable. That aside it is simply the mind-numbing stupidity displayed in this case which stands out. The widespread disregard for nuclear weapons safety standards by airmen at Minot and Barksdale Air Force bases led to what has been called the unprecedented “Bent Spear” incident in which six nuclear warheads were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52 and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana on Aug. 29-30, US Air Force officials said on Friday after an intensive six-week investigation. The US Air Force relieved the 5th Munitions Squadron commander at Minot immediately after the incident. On Friday, it announced that three more commanders have been sacked.An “erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards” at the two bases led to five major procedural errors at Minot, which resulted in a weapons loading crew accidentally loading a pylon of nuclear armed air-launched cruise missiles on the wing of a B-52 bomber. The mistake wasn’t discovered for 36 hours, long after the plane had touched down at Barksdale, said Maj. Gen. Richard “Dick” Newton, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, and a former 5th Bomb Wing commander, who was tasked to brief the findings.
THE FIVE COCK UPS..... ( well 6 if you count Dubya)
1)The first mistake occurred at the beginning of an operation to transport 12 Advanced Cruise Missiles on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber from Minot to Barksdale, part of a Defense Department program to decommission 400 of these missiles in the U.S. stockpile.
On the morning of Aug. 29, airmen assigned to the Minot weapons storage area were supposed to pick up and transport two pylons to a B-52 assigned to Barksdale. Each pylon is a self-contained package of six cruise missiles that can be quickly mounted to the wing of a Stratofortress. But the pylon had not been properly prepared, and the airmen failed to examine all the warheads on the missiles mounted to the pylons.
Newton confirmed after the briefing that cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads are not stored with cruise missiles armed with conventional warheads. Simply, certain pylons of cruise missiles have nuclear warheads, while others have dummy warheads that are essentially dead weight.
2)The second error occurred when “crews operating the trailer that was tasked with moving the pylons to the B-52 began hooking up while the required pylon inspection was still underway,” Newton said.
3)This played a part in mistake No. 3, when the airmen failed to verify the payload of the missiles mounted on the pylon that they hooked up to be transported to the B-52, Newton said.
Then, before the cruise missiles should have been transported to the aircraft, the munitions control “failed to assess a database, as required, that would have alerted them that one of the pylons was not properly prepared for transfer,” Newton said.
4) Due to the first four mistakes, the nuclear warheads were unknowingly towed out to the flight line at 9:44 a.m. on Aug. 29 without any of the increased security initiatives used when nuclear warheads leave a storage facility.The warheads were loaded onto the B-52 and sat on the flight line, which officials said was secure.
5)Airmen did have one last chance to catch their mistake before the B-52 took off, but “the Barksdale-assigned B-52 instructor radar navigator neglected to check all missiles loaded for transport as required,” Newton said. “The instructor radar navigator performed only a spot check and only on the right pylon, the one that had been properly prepared for transport.” This marked the fifth and final error, according to the Air Force investigation.
At 8:40 a.m. on Aug. 30, the B-52 took off on its 1,100-mile flight to Louisiana, landing there at 11:23 a.m. It sat on the flight line with the nuclear warheads still on its left wing for more than eight hours before munitions personnel, who followed correct procedures, unloaded the weapons and discovered the enormous mistake.
If this is the adherence to safety procedures surrounding deadly ordinance flying over their own citizens of the land of the free, one can only begin to imagine why it is that the USAF's has such a disastrous track record causing civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention some of the many 'friendly fire incidents' where their allies paid the price for their incompetence . The casualness with which the USAF pilots attacked a British army convoy in Iraq killing a British soldier is shown in stark detail in this leaked cockpit footage, shown below.This astonishing catalogue of errors tends to confirm what many have suspected for a long time, that the US military machine has more than its fair share of morons amongst its ranks, whose stupidity and incompetence has resulted in many needless deaths throughout the world, in addition to the multiple deaths they quite intended to occur. The ultimate stupidity is that Nuclear warheads are permitted to exist at all, and this, the longest standing farce of modern times, arises from the fact that mankind has sadly not yet evolved sufficiently politically and economically to render these obscene weapons of mass destruction as obsolete as the cavalry sabre.


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