Monday, November 27, 2017

EN -- Manlio Dinucci -- The art of war: At Ghedi Airbase 30 F-35 fighters with 60 nuclear bombs

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The art of war

At Ghedi Airbase 30 F-35 fighters with 60 nuclear bombs

Manlio Dinucci

The military airport of Ghedi (Brescia) is preparing to become one of the main operational bases of the F-35 fighters.

The Ministry of Defence has published in the Official Gazette a tender notice for design (€2.5 million) and construction (€60.7 million) of new infrastructure for F-35: the three-storey command building with operating rooms and flight simulators; the hangar for fighter maintenance, 3460 square metres with a 5-ton overhead crane, plus other 2800 m2 structures; a 1100 m2 warehouse; 15 shelters, 440 m2 each.

As each shelter can accommodate two fighters, the total capacity will be 30 F-35s.

All the buildings will be concentrated in a single fenced area, under video surveillance,  separated from the rest of the airport: a base inside the base, access to which will be prohibited to the airport's military personnel except for the one of F-35 fighters.

The reason is clear: alongside the F-35A with conventional takeoff and landing - of which Italy buys 60 units together with 30 F-35Bs with short takeoff and vertical landing - the new US nuclear bombs B61-12 will be located in Ghedi.

Like the current B-61, they can also be dropped by the Tornado PA-200 of the 6th Wing, but to drive them precisely on the target and exploit their anti-bunker capabilities, you need the F-35A fighter aircraft equipped with special digital systems.

Since each fighter can carry 2 nuclear bombs internally, can 60 B61-12 can be located in Ghedi, the triple of the current B-61s.

Like the previous ones, the B61-12 will be controlled by the special US unit (704th Munitions Support Squadron of the U. S. Air Force «accountable for the receipt, storage and maintenance of U.S. war reserve weapons committed to NATO’s 6th Stormo Italian Wing».

The same unit of the U. S. Air Force has the task of «directly supporting the strike mission» of the 6th Wing. Italian pilots are already trained in the airbases of Eglin in Florida and Luke in Arizona, to use the F-35s also for nuclear attack missions.

Fighters of the same type, armed or otherwise weaponable with the B61-12, will be deployed in the base of Amendola (Foggia), where a year ago the first F-35 arrived, and in other bases. In addition to these, there will be the F-35s of the U. S. Air Force deployed in Aviano with the B61-12 nuclear bombs.

Against this background, to request, as the 5 Stars Movement has done in the Chamber, that Italy declare its «unwillingness to acquire the necessary components to make the F-35 suitable for the transport of nuclear weapons», is equivalent to requiring that the army be equipped with tanks without cannons.

The new F-35 fighter and the new B61-12 nuclear bomb constitute an integrated weapon system.

Participation in the F-35 programme strengthens Italy's anchoring to the United States. The Italian war industry, headed by Leonardo who manages the F-35 assembly plant in Cameri (Novara), is even more integrated into the gigantic US military-industrial complex headed by Lockheed Martin, the world's largest war industry (with 16000 suppliers in the USA and 1500 in 65 other countries), the manufacturer of the F-35.

The deployment of F-35 armed with B61-12 nuclear bombs on our territory subordinates Italy even more to the Pentagon chain of command, depriving Parliament of any real decision-making power. 

Il Manifesto, November 27, 2017

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