Tag Archives: Lockheed

Why the Pentagon Is Equipping the F-35 Jets With a Thermonuclear Bomb

Why the Pentagon Is Equipping the F-35 With a Thermonuclear Bomb
Kyle Mizokami
Fri, November 5, 2021

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is nearly certified to carry a new thermonuclear weapon, the B61-12.

Although the U.S. military has a variety of ways to deliver nuclear weapons, there are only a handful of ways to use them on the battlefield.

Using a crewed delivery system ensures there is a person in the loop for the entire flight who can execute last minute instructions.

The F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is nearly ready to take on a new mission, that of a nuclear-capable bomber.

The Air Force has completed the flight testing to ensure the F-35A can safely—and reliably—drop the B61-12 thermonuclear bomb. The combination of crewed aircraft and nuclear bomb will ensure the U.S. government would have options in the event of a crisis, including one where a nuclear bomb could be literally recalled at the last second.

Nuclear weapons are divided into two categories: strategic and tactical. The two main differences between the two types are explosive yield and range. Tactical nuclear weapons typically range from about .3 kilotons (300 tons of TNT) to about 50 kilotons (50,000 tons of TNT).

Strategic nuclear weapons are in an entirely different class altogether. The yield of strategic nukes can range from 100 kilotons to well into the megaton range, with the U.S. military’s largest weapon having a yield of 1.3 megatons (the equivalent of 1,200,000 tons of TNT). Tactical nuclear weapons are generally shorter range weapons with ranges of 500 miles or less, while strategic nuclear weapons are designed to cross entire oceans to strike targets on the other side of the planet.

Today, tactical nuclear weapons are delivered by aircraft and submarine-launched missiles. The most numerous U.S. tactical nuclear weapon is the B61 series of bombs, a series that has been in continuous use since the 1960s. In the 2010s, the U.S. military developed a new B61 bomb, the B61-12. The B61-12 is not only more accurate, it’s designed to penetrate earth and concrete to strike underground facilities—think North Korean underground leadership bunkers, Iranian nuclear facilities, or similar targets.

This penetrating capability allows it to be more effective at nuking underground threats with less explosive power. The B61-12, rebuilt from older B61 series bombs, has a smaller yield and in fact has a “dial-a-yield” mechanism that allows for the yield to vary from .3 kiltons, 1.5 kilotons, 10 kilotons, and 50 kilotons.

One of the most important principles behind nuclear weapons is the idea of maintaining positive control over them at all times, as much as possible, up until the moment of detonation. This is not only a safety feature, it allows decision-makers increased flexibility under incredibly stressful circumstances.

A crewed aircraft makes an ideal platform for maximum control. With a crewed delivery system, the President of the United States could order a F-35A armed with the B61-12 to strike a target, then change his or her mind if the circumstances change. If the enemy suddenly calls for peace, the strike can be called off. This “recallability” is replicated at the strategic level with bombers like the B-2 Spirit, and the F-35A/B61-12 combo offers war planners the same capability at the tactical nuclear level. The F-35A’s stealth gives it a greater chance, unlike legacy aircraft like the F-15E Strike Eagle, of successfully penetrating enemy defenses and reaching the target.

What kind of targets could a F-35A drop a nuclear bomb on? Thanks to America’s overwhelming conventional firepower, it’s difficult to see the U.S. use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear targets. One target could be the location of a Russian missile command post, nuking it to sever the chain of command between Moscow and its own tactical nuclear forces. The actual missiles could be another target. If tactical nuclear weapons are already in use, a F-35A could dial the yield down to 1.5 kilotons and strike conventional targets, such as headquarters units, supply depots, and marshalling points for conventional forces.

The F-35A/B61-12 combo will be a tactical nuclear system primarily used against military targets. Still, “a nuke is a nuke,” and the use of tactical nuclear weapons would shift any conflict into a terrifying new phase. The use of tactical nukes could very well kick off a chain of escalation that grows to include the use of strategic nuclear weapons—with civilians and human civilization itself in the crosshairs.”

 

Take Action 

Nuclear Capability by Tom Boswell

Working Group: Veterans for Peace Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Send your e-mail address to vfp.nonukes@gmail.com

 

WI State Journal, Hubbuch: Future noise concerns could scuttle housing along planned transit corridor

original link

 

useful links:

Alders for City of Madison

Dane County Board of Supervisors

Contact other elected officials – Safe Skies Website

“With its strip malls, auto repair shops and used car lots, the stretch of East Washington Avenue between Aberg Avenue and Stoughton Road shows no signs of the revitalization happening a couple of miles to the west, near Downtown.

That could soon change with the addition of a planned bus rapid transit system.

Bill Connors, who heads a coalition of real estate developers, envisions three- and four-story buildings with ground-floor retail stores below apartments, much like those that have sprung up on the Isthmus.

City plans call for high-density housing that would both provide equitable access regardless of income and support a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system that’s expected to begin shuttling commuters between the city’s East and West sides in 2024.

But with the Air National Guard expected to begin flying a fleet of new F-35 fighter jets from nearby Truax Field in 2023, this ¾-mile strip is expected to be subject to noise levels considered too loud for residential development without significant soundproofing.

The conflict has created a dilemma for leaders of a fast-growing city in desperate need of more housing: By allowing the type of high-density development that would support rapid transit, Madison could also subject thousands more people to unhealthy levels of noise.

Connors argues the market will solve the problem, as builders who don’t do enough to muffle the sound will struggle to keep their buildings full.

City Council president Syed Abbas has appointed a council workgroup to explore possible alternatives, including a development moratorium or zoning changes, in an effort to prevent a situation where poor and minority people bear a disproportionate share of the environmental impacts.

“I have to see the situation with the lens of environmental justice,” Abbas said. “If you go historically, the market decided to put all the people of color there — Black and brown folks.”

Military decision

The Air Force last year selected the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing as one of the first Guard units to fly the military’s new F-35 fighter jets.

There is disagreement on just how much louder the F-35s will be compared to the F-16s that currently fly out of Truax. But there would be more takeoffs and landings, at least initially, which would increase the overall noise exposure for those living near the airport.

 

Sign Sept 2021 Petition Against F-35 Harm

Sign here 

The people of Madison and Wisconsin say…
“That the F-35 is a first strike, offensive weapon designed to carry the most dangerous weapon in our nuclear arsenal, the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb. By virtue of housing the delivery vehicle for this nuclear bomb and training pilots to fly it, Madison becomes a target.

That the F-35 project will have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income people, people of color, and children. The Air Force has admitted this in its own Environmental Impact Statement.

That there will be an expected 135% increase in CO2 emissions. Long-term exposure to CO2 creates breathing complications and respiratory illness, decreased cognitive decision making and problem-solving, and heart disease.

That Truax Field will require more PFAS and chemicals to put out an F-35 fire, compromising the safety of Madison’s drinking water, which is already severely, and possibly irreversibly, contaminated.

That this project will cost taxpayers $1.7 trillion over its lifetime, and more than $30,000 per hour to fly one F-35.

Therefore, with all these concerns in mind, we call on you, our senator, to reverse your support of the deployment of the F-35 at Truax Field. We also ask that you pursue a new mission for the Air National Guard at Truax, one that aligns with our humane values of peace, equity, sustainability and overall concern for the health and security of our residents.

Over 500 Join in Parade Opposing War Profiteers & F-35 Weapons Threatening Madison

Wisconsin State Journal  |  Saturday, February 29, 2020  | 
*Headline – Brad Geyer of VFP-Madison

Picture by Paul McMahon

Veterans for Peace-Madison Statement in Support of Opposition of F-35’s

“A chant of “take your planes and go away” grew in intensity as several hundred protesters temporarily blocked Anderson Street near Madison Area Technical College early Saturday afternoon.

A passing driver honked along to the beat, adding to the festive atmosphere. Keeping pace with swinging big-band music from the Forward Marching Band, protesters of all ages, including whole families, held signs reading “Noisy polluting jets,” “Tell the truth,” “No nukes,” and simply, “No!” 

The march was organized by the Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition, a grassroots organization that opposes basing a squadron of $90 million F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison. The protesters peacefully marched from the intersection of Anderson and Wright streets to outside the base of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing.

Steve Lyrene, of Madison, said he joined the protest because he believes the planes would be “noisy and polluting” and a symbol of “America’s aggression and warlike presence.”

“That’s not what Madison is,” he said. “We’re not a warlike people, and we don’t want to push people out of established housing.”

 

 

 

It isn’t just the noise that concerns opponents of the F-35s. The Safe Skies coalition has decried the potential environmental impacts of construction in areas contaminated with hazardous PFAS chemicals; the cost of the F-35s relative to domestic needs such as education and employment; the capability of the planes to deliver nuclear payloads; and the potential displacement of low-income families and people of color who live close to Truax Field.

Picture by Paul McMahon

Madison remains the top choice among five Air Guard bases under consideration, despite impacts to local housing and the environment outlined in a final environmental impact statement released Feb. 19.

Those in favor of basing the F-35s in Madison, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, say the squadron would boost the local economy, create dozens of jobs, and keep the 115th Fighter Wing and its estimated $99 million annual economic impact at Truax Field.

Ald. Grant Foster, whose 15th District would be one of the most affected by increased noise at Truax Field, was watching the protest march from the opposite sidewalk. For the second time, he and Ald. Rebecca Kemble, 18th District, will introduce a resolution opposing the F-35s during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Foster said. The resolution will likely be up for discussion during the council’s March 17 meeting.

“I don’t see how anybody can stand by and say this is a good idea, based on the final (environmental impact statement),” Foster said.

Foster said he was somewhat disappointed by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s recent statement about the F-35s — specifically, that where they will be based is a federal decision, not a local one.

That’s why some protesters expressed feeling like wheels are turning somewhere out of reach.

 

“I get that impression,” Lyrene said. “There’s this sense of powerlessness, like we don’t have a voice. It’s sad that people aren’t being listened to. But that’s why we’re doing this — to make our voices heard.”

Vicki Berenson, a member of Clean Skies, doesn’t believe the F-35s are a done deal.

“It’s totally not a foregone conclusion,” she said. “We just don’t know what the answer will be.”

The final environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on Friday. After a 30-day review period ending in late March, a final decision will be issued by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.

Find the background data and facts on our concerns at Safe Skies Website


Photographs marked are from Paul McMahon

Heartland Images Photography,  4317 Tokay Blvd

Madison WI  53711 608-215-5031 (cell)

Photos:  www.flickr.com/photos/heartlandimages

Bio:  www.linkedin.com/in/heartlandimages

Hundreds march on Truax Field to protest basing F-35s in Madison


Veterans for Peace-Madison stands with Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin and the concerned citizens engaged in the struggle. We oppose F-35’s coming to Madison, we oppose F-35’s anywhere and we oppose the war machine and its crimes. 

We oppose the racism and systemic racism that forces brown, black, natives and the poor to sacrifice their health and quality of life so that corrupt politicians can enrich the billionaire owners of Lockheed Martin and the corporate rulers connected to the Chamber of Commerce: US Chamber and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  We oppose the effect that these jets and the military will have on children. 

We must not allow the pollution of our water and soil to continue while the US government avoids accountability for around 80 years of PFAS forever chemical pollution and burn pits. This has poisoned much of Monona and Madison’s groundwater.

The F-35A, is a combination stealth fighter and bomber and can carry several B61 nuclear bombs with a range of less than one kiloton of explosive mayhem to 50 kilotons. That seems to be a lot of environmental impact, when compared to the 12-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Is the hundreds of billions dollar cost of this latest child of the military-industrial complex worth it? As a low-flying stealth bomber capable of carrying nukes, it is an extremely risky and potentially destabilizing war machine in an already unstable world, whether you consider the Middle East, the near east, or the far east. One error in deciphering a tense situation could set off a nuclear tit-for-tat that would produce the worst environmental impact statement of all.

One only has to read nuclear war planner Dan Ellsberg’s recent “The Doomsday Machine” to learn of the horrors American cities could experience, and that we have been living on the brink.

The Pentagon has hyped the F-35 as a “computer that happens to fly,” and Lockheed Martin says there are 8 million lines of software code which control weapons deployment, communications, radar and flight controls. Given the extent of computer hacking continuously going on, what could anyone have to fear with a flying computer carrying nuclear weapons?

Veterans for Peace works to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, and to abolish war as an instrument of national policy. We do not want to see nuclear-enabled stealth fighter bombers stationed here in Madison — or anywhere, for that matter. 

The cost of F-35 fighter jets, Lockheed Martin calls it the “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” is phenomenal and will be paid by taxpayers. A recent book – Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals – tells that Lockheed Martin claims that parts of the F-35 are “built in forty-five states.” That makes it possible for politicians across the U.S. to claim that the F-35 and, therefore, the defense industry, will produce jobs everywhere. Compared to needed civilian jobs that could be funded for much less taxpayer money, the sum for F-35s is enormous and the jobs to be produced are few.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor for F-35s, and “…the world’s largest defense contractor,” according to the book, edited by William Wiist and Shelley White.

With a (current) price tag of $1.4 trillion per plane…[F-35] has become the most expensive weapon system in history…punctuated by reports of one malfunction after another, from flaws in the fuel tanks that made the planes vulnerable to lightning-caused fires, to criticism of its maneuverability….”

The F-35 program is projected to use most of the U.S. budget for aircraft through 2030, the authors write.

The size of the US military machine is massive and currently causes more violence than it prevents. The US has far more bases, jets, aircraft carriers than anyone. Our military spending is more than the next seven nations combined. We do not need F-35’s for defense. This is war profiteering and imperialism.

None of the effects on human beings were improved in the final Environmental Impact Statement, in fact, the US government made no effort to alleviate the impacts. The money is there to protect people, the choice is made to serve the war profiteers and harm the people.

For Peace & Justice,

Bradley J. Geyer