The US is getting ready to put nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert because of increased tensions with North Korea and Russia, it has been reported.
The ageing fleet of B-52 bombers could be put on standby for the first time since 1991 at the end of the Cold War, Defense One reported.
US Air Force chief of staff, General David Goldfein, told the website: ‘This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared.
‘I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.’
Earlier this month, US president Donald Trump tweeted that ‘only one thing will work’ when dealing with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
According to the report, General Goldfein and other defence officials insisted the order for the 24-hour alert had not yet been given, but that they are preparing for that possibility.
The plan is said to have been put in place because of increasing tensions with North Korea over its nuclear intentions, as well as moves by Russian to pursue new submarine technology.
General Goldfein said: ‘The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons.
‘It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union.
‘We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.’
He made his comments during a six-day tour of US Air Force bases, including Barksdale in Louisiana, where B-52s used to be parked in Christmas tree formation during the Cold War.
Asked about a return for the fighter planes, he said: ‘Really it depends on who, what kind of behaviour are we talking about, and whether they’re paying attention to our readiness status.’
Earlier this month, Mr Trump said: ‘Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid.’
He tweeted that it ‘hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!’
(Main picture: Getty)