By John LaForge
The U.S. Air Force has secured $50 million for a project that could pave the way for U.S. nuclear weapons to return to British soil at the UK airbase RAF Lakenheath for the first time in more than 16 years. The Federation of American Scientists previously reported that in the 2023 U.S. military budget, Britain was added to the list of countries where construction is under way on “special weapons” sites. The FAS estimates there are about 100 B61 gravity bombs stationed in five NATO countries. They were withdrawn from the UK in 2007 after 53 years. The B61s were once declared obsolete by the U.S. military, but instead of being retired, they have been remodeled to improve their “accuracy.” The new B61-model-12s could arrive in Europe this year. New Lockheed-Martin F-35 jet fighters have been given certification to carry the new U.S. hydrogen bombs, and the U.S. 495th Fighter Squadron, stationed at Lakenheath, became the first unit in Europe to receive the nuclear weapons-capable jets, according to The Guardian.
— The Guardian, Aug 29, 2023; Dutch Aviation Society online, Dec. 16, 2021