New nuclear bombs arrive for F-35s

American B61-12 nuclear bomb.

 ROME - New American air force B61-12 nuclear bombs arrive in Italy, and they will arm the F-35 warplanes stationed at the Ghedi base, military sources say. Ghedi, in the province of Brescia, will receive the shipment of the new tactical weapons at the military base, il Fatto Quotidano reported Wednesday. These are tactical nuclear weapons, meaning they are designed to strike in a limited area of terrain, but as Giorgio Beretta, an analyst at Opal Brescia, explains, “this does not make them any less lethal.”

 The Italian Peace and Disarmament Network explains that, “the new-generation B61-12 weapons come directly from the United States and, as part of the so-called 'nuclear sharing', i.e. the NATO doctrine that envisages the sharing of atomic devices even among allies that have not developed this type of weapon in order to increase deterrence, will replace the old B61-11 models deployed in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy and will be installed on the F-35s that are replacing the old Tornados."

 As the expert Beretta writes in La Voce del Popolo, “the adjustable power of the new B61-12s ranges from 0.3 to 50 kilotons, five times more than the Hiroshima bomb. But they can also explode below the earth's surface, increasing their destructive capacity to the equivalent of a surface burst weapon with a yield of 1,250 kilotons or about 83 bombs like the one dropped by the US on the Japanese city at the end of World War II. The presence of such weapons, as well as the previous ones,” according to Beretta, “makes Brescia an even more sensitive target in the event of a possible attack, especially considering the current international context and the Ukrainian conflict.”

 Last June at the Ghedi base was where the first F-35 fighters arrived, assigned to the Italian Red Devils group. The Red Devils is designed to keep the Italian air force's “unconventional capabilities” active and operational. The group plays a dual role, firstly operational, and also training for pilots who will switch from using Tornados to the F-35s.