The U.S. may be preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers on 24-hour alert, something which has not been done since the end of the Cold War in 1991, amid escalating tensions with North Korea.
According to U.S. media reports, the decision that would see several B-52s ready for take-off has not been made yet, and would be a general response rather than a reaction to a specific event, the U.S. Defence One website reported Sunday, citing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.
According to Fox News broadcaster, Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana is being renovated in order to enable the Boeing B-52 strategic bombers to take off whenever necessary.
However, some defence officials have reportedly denied such rumours.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has grown progressively tenser as Pyongyang has continued to launch missile and nuclear tests, inspite of warnings of the international community and, in particular, the United States.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has escalated over the past few months due to Pyongyang’s repeated missile launches and a nuclear test, all conducted in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
In September, the UN Security Council adopted its toughest resolution against Pyongyang, restricting oil exports as well as the country’s access to gas liquids, and banning import of textile products from the Asian nation.
The tensions in particular led to an exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump threatening to take a “devastating” military option and “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend the United States.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Washington of the highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history.