Deterrence on Display

Air Force Global Strike Command conducted several near-simultaneous training events this month to demonstrate the Air Force’s two legs of the nuclear triad, according to a Sept. 26 release. From Sept. 15 to Sept. 23, 8th Air Force airmen currently deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, from Barksdale AFB, La., participated in Exercise Valiant Shield, a US Pacific Command-sponsored combined forces exercise. From Guam, the B-52 crews and maintainers conducted drills with allied partners, including air defense training and anti-submarine warfare. Meanwhile, back stateside, two B-52 bomber crews on Sept. 22 flew from Barksdale to the Utah Test and Training Range where they launched a single unarmed AGM-86A Air Launched Cruise Missile as part of an operational nuclear weapons system evaluation, dubbed NucWSEP. On Sept. 23, 20th AF airmen conducted a pre-planned operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to gather information on the accuracy and reliability of the missile from launch all the way to hitting the target aimpoint at Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.