Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2020-2021
Opinion by Manlio Dinucci
A video was released on November 23 by Sandia National Laboratories that shows a US F-35A fighter flying at supersonic speed 3,000 meters above sea level, launching a B61-12 nuclear bomb. The bomb did not fall vertically but glided until its tail section rocket ignition gave a rotational motion and the B61-12 (satellite-guided) headed for a target and hit 42 seconds after launch. The test was carried out on August 25 at the Tonopah shooting range in the Nevada desert.
An official US air force statement confirmed its “full success.” It was a nuclear attack simulation, proof that the jet fighter works at supersonic speed and in stealth attitude (with mock B61 bombs in its internal bomb bay) with the capability to evade enemy defenses, the air force said.
The B61-12 has been engineered to penetrate and explode deep underground to destroy command bunkers and other buried structures. The Pentagon foresees construction of about 500 B61-12s, at an estimated cost of 10 to 13 billion dollars (each 825-pound bomb costing double the value of its weight in gold).
It has been officially announced that production of the new nuclear bomb will begin in fiscal year 2022, beginning Oct. 1, 2021. The exact number of B61-12 bombs that the US will station in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, and Holland to replace the current B61s is secret. Satellite photos show that renovations have been carried out at Italy’s Aviano and Ghedi air force bases in preparation for the arrival of the new nuclear bombs, and the US air force F-35A. The Italian F-35s under US command will be armed with these bombs. The kind of situation Italy will be involved in—once the F-35A aircrafts ready for a nuclear attack with B61-12 bombs are deployed on the Italian territory—is easily predictable.
Italy will aggravate its violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, joined in 1975, in which it pledged “not to receive nuclear weapons from anyone or control over these weapons, directly or indirectly.”
Italy’s “nuclear sharing” openly flaunts the new treaty ban, which states: “Any State Party that has nuclear weapons on its territory, owned or controlled by another State, must ensure the rapid removal of such weapons.” To throw a stone into the stagnant water of a Parliament that keeps silent on this subject, Independent Member of Parliament Sara Cunial presented a “question for written answer” to the Prime Minister and the Military and Foreign Affairs Ministries.
Th MP asks: “Does the government intend to respect the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons ratified by Italy in 1975? Does the government intend to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that enters into force in 2021? Does the government intend to ensure, on the basis of what these treaties establish, that the United States immediately remove any nuclear weapons from Italian territory and give up installing the new B61-12 bombs and other nuclear weapons?” While we wait to read the government’s response, the latest bomb tests are carried out in the US, and the bombs will arrive and be set under our feet.
—Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization and wrote this article for Italy’s Il Manifesto.