Steadfast Noon – NATO’s nuclear air exercise in times of tension

NATO has been conducting its annual nuclear deterrence exercise called Steadfast Noon involving up to 60 aircraft from 14 countries.

A German Air Force Tornado IDS conducts a low-level sortie over the UK as part of Exercise Steadfast Noon.
A German Air Force Tornado IDS conducts a low-level sortie over the UK as part of Exercise Steadfast Noon.

The long-planned exercise is taking place at a time of heightened tensions with Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine and pronouncements by President Vladimir Putin of his country’s own nuclear capabilities. While Steadfast Noon was taking place in north-western Europe, Russia was conducting its own annual exercise of its strategic nuclear forces entitled Grom.

US Air Force F-22A Raptors during the first week of Steadfast Noon undertook some sorties in the exercise while on an ACE deployment to Leeuwarden Air Base. USAF/Capt Claire Waldo
US Air Force F-22A Raptors during the first week of Steadfast Noon undertook some sorties in the exercise while on an ACE deployment to Leeuwarden Air Base. USAF/Capt Claire Waldo

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu commented on Steadfast Noon: “This exercise helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.” NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted by Allied leaders at the Madrid Summit in June this year states “the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression.”

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