The United States Air Force will put its ageing fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War, according to its chief of staff. 

Amid rising tensions with North Korea and a resurgent Putin-led Russia, General David Goldfein told Defense One that the strategic bomber force will be ready at a day’s notice for the first time in 26 years.

Adapting to the ‘reality of the global situation’, Goldfein’s order would see B-52s readied at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and armed with nuclear weapons – something not seen since 1991.

Indeed, Barksdale – the home of the 2D Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command – is currently being refurbished in anticipation of the change in defense posture to allow the bombers to ‘take off at a moment’s notice’.

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